The 2021 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography Have Been Revealed

Columbia University today announced the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. For the second — and the organization hopes last — year, the awards were announced remotely.

Among the multiple categories, two are dedicated to photography: Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography. This year, the Associated Press took both awards.

Photographer Emilio Morenatti, who is the AP’s chief photographer in Spain, won the feature photography Pulitzer Prize for his “poignant series of photographs” that depicts the lives of the elderly in Spain struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic. Morenatti has spent more than 30 years as a photojournalist and documentary photography and has covered international events in more than 50 countries.

The most compelling image is arguably of Agustina Cañamero, 81, and her husband Pascual Pérez, 84 who were captured hugging and kissing through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona. The photo was captured on June 22, 2020.

Even when it comes wrapped in plastic, a hug can convey tenderness and relief, love and devotion. The fear that gripped Agustina Cañamero during the 102 days she and her 84-year-old husband spent physically separated during Spain’s coronavirus outbreak dissolved the moment the couple embraced through a screen of plastic film.

The full set of images can be seen on the Pulitzer Prize’s gallery of Morenatti’s work.

The AP’s full photography staff took the award for Breaking News Photography, specifically for a collection of photographs from multiple United States cities that “cohesively capture the country’s response to the death of George Floyd.”

The most notable of the group of images depicts a protester carrying a U.S. flag upside down — which is a sign of distress — next to a burning building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The photo was captured on May 28, 2020.

The full gallery of photos from the winning series can be viewed on the Pulitzer Prize website here.