Posts tagged history
Tragedy By The Sea by John L. Gaunt. 1955 Pulitzer Prize
Los Angeles Times photographer John Gaunt is enjoying the sun on April 2, 1954 in his front yard in Hermosa Beach, California. Near the water, Gaunt finds a young couple by the shoreline. Just a few minutes before, their 19-month-old son was playing happily in their yard. Somehow, he wandered down to the beach and was swept away by the fierce tide.
The little boy is gone. There is nothing anyone can do. Gaunt, who has a daughter about the same age, takes four quick photographs of the grieving couple. “As I made the last exposure, they turned and walked away” he says. The little boys body is later recovered from the surf.
Death Leap From Blazing Hotel by Arnold Hardy. 1947 Pulitzer Prize.
No more than 119 people lose their lives in the December 7 Winecoff fire. 26 year old Georgia Tech student Arnold Hardy was having a great Friday night with his fellow college students. He arrives home in the early hours of the morning to hear fire trucks racing through the streets. ”I came upon it all at once. Fire was raging from the upper floors. From almost every window, men. women and children screamed tor help.”
The Winecoff Hotel has no fire escapes, no fire doors, no fire stairs. The hotel is 15 stories high; the ladders ot the Atlanta Fire Department do not reach above the ninth floor. The blaze spreads rapidly. Guests on the upper floors have no way out. “The trapped victims,” remembers Hardy, “were descending ropes of blankets and bed sheets in desperate attempts to reach the fully extended ladders.” The sheets tear; people plunge to the pavement. Other guests try jumping to the building next door; most fall to the street below.
As Hardy watches, he hears a woman shriek. “I looked up, raising my camera. A woman was plummeting downward. As she passed the third floor, I fired, using my last flashbulb.”
The woman is lucky: Her fall is broken by a pipe and a railing. She lives. Hardy was the first amateur photographer to win a Pulitzer prize.