Mis à jour le 28 avril 2014 par Michel Puech
“It is just incredible” said Craig F Walker when he understood that the bursts of joy from his colleagues at The Denver Post photo department meant he had won his second Pulitzer in less than three years in the ‘feature’ category.
In 2010, the staff photographer for this Colorado daily since 2001 had won his first Pulitzer for his story about a young boy enrolled in the American army. “Ian Fisher, American Soldier” revealed the story of this young boy, from school to Iraq. A very well organized story where the author’s compassionate vision of the young soldier was amazing.
I met him at Visa pour l’Image in 2010. He was in his forties, serious, attentive, with an incomprehensible American accent. We exchanged more smiles than words, but regardless of the language barriers, that is often the case with photojournalists.
In December 2011, my Google alert on his name led me to the Denver Post website with a new story, “Welcome Home”, the story of Scott Ostrum, an Iraq veteran. A frontrunner, the first in the patrol, Ostrum had just returned broken from two trips to Iraq.
I found his story spectacular – a bit too much? – and contacted the Starface Agency that represents Craig F Walker’s agency, Polaris Images. I wanted to feature his story, but “Jeff”, the owner of Starface, dissuaded me. “Wait a little, we are having a hard time selling it, and I don’t want you to spoil the story.” Ok.
Paris Match liked the story, but eventually abandoned it. VSD used it. In the United States, nobody ran his story. In Germany, a magazine would like to run it in May… and until the new Pulitzer, no other publications were lined up.
Even the Denver Post, who is today particularly proud, didn’t run the story in print, only on the web.
The most extraordinary thing about the second Pulitzer Prize for Craig F Walker is that he followed the soldier at his own expense and during his leisure time for one year, covering his post traumatic syndrome.
It takes more than a Pulitzer Prize to settle a photojournalists’ problems. Let’s hope this second award in three years will win over the confidence of his newspaper and allow him to win another prize.