Constitution Center Recalls History with Pulitzer-Prize Photos
By Marni Prichard Manko| October 9, 2013 |
Photo by Joe Rosenthal (1945).
Photo by Nat Fein for the New York Herald
Photo by William C. Beall for the Washington
Daily News (won in 1958).
Photo by Slava Veder (1974).
In our hyper-connected era, it’s hard to imagine a time when most people’s only glimpse at lives far removed from their own came through still photos, often published long after they were taken. And at the apex of photojournalism every year are two images that capture moments deemed so defining that their photographers are awarded the coveted Pulitzer Prize. “When you see a still moment in time, it’ll never be different than it was the very moment it was recorded by the Pulitzer photographer,” says Cyma Rubin, curator and producer of “Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs,” an exhibit at the National Constitution Center. “I made the photographs monster-sized and dramatic, giving them the opportunity to step into that moment.”
The exhibit, featuring every winning photo since 1942, is punctuated by such enduring images as the flag-raising on Iwo Jima, Babe Ruth’s frail farewell, a firefighter cradling an injured baby after the Oklahoma City bombing, and the World Trade Center in flames on 9/11. This is a 20-year labor of love for Rubin, a Tony Award–winning producer, director, and writer who in 1999 won Emmy and Telly awards for best documentary for Moment of Impact: Stories of the Pulitzer Prize Photographs. “I started doing research on this in 1994,” she says. “At that time, nothing existed but a bunch of pictures thrown on a dirty floor in a closet. I curated about 230 negatives, and it took four years to find all of them.” What’s more, Rubin interviewed all the photographers who were still living (some have since passed away), and every image includes a narrative description.
“By sharing the stories behind the lens alongside the photos, we feel visitors will come away with a new perspective on even the most iconic images of history,” says Stephanie Reyer, the National Constitution Center’s vice president of exhibitions. “‘Capture the Moment’ illuminates the enduring power of the still image, the importance of First Amendment freedoms, and the key role of the press in documenting the stories of our time.” “Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs” runs October 11–December 31 at the National Constitution Center. 525 Arch St., 215-409-6600