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Last night at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan, the Overseas Press Club handed out its awards for journalism from abroad. The OPC awards include four very coveted photojournalism prizes. (For a list of all the winners, go here.) Photographers from Getty Images won three of them, leading the ceremony’s host, Ann Curry of NBC News, to comment that she saw “a pattern” at work.
The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award (for reporting that requires exceptional courage and enterprise) went to John Moore of Getty Images for his images of the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Accepting the award, Moore told the black-tie audience that he’d been adopted as a child, then went on discuss the role that luck, or perhaps fate, plays in photojournalism and in life. He recalled that on the day of the assassination “something” told him to move away from Bhutto’s car. He avoided being killed himself and was able to photography the chaos that followed.
Paula Bronstein of Getty Images won the John Faber Award (for photographic reporting in newspapers or wire services) for her coverage of the Bhutto attack. The judges said her images “document human vulnerability in a world shattered by the now familiar deadly destruction of suicide bombing.” Bronstein is a well-traveled photojournalist who has often found herself in dangerous situations.
Getty photographer Brent Stirton won the Feature Photography Award for his pictures of gorillas that had been slaughtered in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The images, which appeared in Newsweek magazine, are absolute showstoppers (see above) and have been winning awards in a variety of photo competitions. Stirton was named as one of American Photo’s “Heroes of Photography” in 2007 for his coverage of environmental issues in Africa. (He is also the photographer asked by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to make the official photographs of their baby Shiloh in 2006.)
The non-Getty winner of the evening was Cedric Gerbehaye of Agence Vu in France. He won the Olivier Rebbot Award (for photographic reporting in magazines or books) for images made in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have died as a result of civil unrest. (See below.) Gerbehaye is a Belgian photographer who traveled to the DRC with the Doctors Without Borders organization.—David Schonauer