Iraqi image wins photo honor

— A picture of a hooded Iraqi war prisoner holding his 4-year-old son at a U.S. detention camp, by Associated Press photographer Jean-Marc Bouju, won the World Press Photo of the Year award Friday.

The winning photo, made March 31 in Najaf, was selected from a record of more than 63,000 images by 4,176 photographers from 124 countries.

In 2003, there also was a record 81 percent of entries taken with digital cameras, as was the winning photo.

Prizes were awarded in 10 categories during 12 days of judging in the Dutch capital. Bouju will receive the award and $12,700 at an April 25 ceremony in the Netherlands.

The 61 photographers who won World Press Photo prizes came from 23 countries. The categories ranged from general news to daily life and action sports. Their work will be displayed throughout the world and published in a book.

Frenchman Bouju, 42, spent nine weeks in Iraq in March and May of last year for the AP. He was embedded with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade. An AP photographer since 1993 now working out of AP's Los Angeles office, he shared Pulitzer prizes for work in Africa in 1995 and 1999.

"It's taking me a few hours to realize it's real. I wanted to win this prize. It's a big one," Bouju said.

He said the photo was made when a father who was taken prisoner by American troops was allowed to hold his 4-year-old son, who also was taken when the man was arrested.

The boy, Bouju said, was panicking and crying, so an American soldier cut the plastic handcuffs off.

"My little girl was 4 at the time and I couldn't help thinking what would she have thought in the same situation," he said.

Bouju was unable to get the prisoner's name and does not know where he or the child is now.

On that day, Bouju was only able to transmit one image to his editors because of problems setting up a satellite link. It was that photo that won the award.

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