How to Get the Perfect Photo in the Middle of World War II
An American photographer with a flair for the dramatic has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his series of photos documenting the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The award, given in a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday, was presented by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
It will be presented to the photographer in 2019, according to a statement from the center.
In the series, known as The Last of the West, Beard is able to capture the sights and sounds of the war at a time when his countrymen were struggling to adjust to life post-atomic bombings.
He has been credited with capturing the devastation of the city of Hiroshima, where the bombs fell and millions of people were killed.
“I think of the American people as the ultimate storytellers, so I hope that this award gives me the chance to tell that story again,” Beard told CNN.
“The atomic bombs came, and it was very devastating.
And it took us years to get over it.
We had to figure out how to rebuild, to rebuild like a small town.
And we were in a lot of pain.”
The photographer, who grew up in rural Alabama and had lived in Japan for nearly three decades, said he is very grateful to have received the Pulitzer.
“When I got this award, I had never heard of this kind of honor, but I was thrilled,” he said.
“This is what I do every day.
It’s my passion.
And I’m very thankful to have been awarded this award.”
Beard’s photos were the first to show the devastation caused by the bombs.
In some, people were fleeing the city.
In others, they were gathered at a memorial to the victims.
Beard said he wanted to show “the sheer scale of what we were doing and what was going on at that time.”
“I felt that there was a responsibility to make sure that these people who were going through the devastation were protected, so that they had the protection of the government, of the military, of whatever people were there to protect them,” Beard said.
The Pulitzer Center’s statement said Beard’s series “is an important reminder that the loss of human life is always a tragedy, but it is also a necessary part of the process of reconciliation.”
It said Beard captured “a moment of great courage and sacrifice, a moment of joy and defiance, of hope and despair.”
Beard said in an interview with The Associated Press that he hopes his images can inspire people to keep the flame of remembrance alive.
“It’s not just for people to see these pictures.
It is for people and institutions to recognize this kind and heroic act of sacrifice and courage and then to see the devastation and the people affected, and hopefully to see a renewed commitment to peace, a renewed willingness to see this as a way of living, a way to honor this sacrifice,” Beard explained.
Beard will be honored on Jan. 9, 2019, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. “People of America, my deepest gratitude for this,” he told the AP.
“We can’t keep it going on.
We’ve lost a great war, and we have to start over.”