Slain photojournalist Danish Siddiqui and three of his colleagues from Reuters — Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Amit Dave — were awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in the Feature Photography category for their work on documenting India’s battle against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Siddiqui, who also won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, was killed last year while covering the war between Afghan troops and the Taliban in Kandahar city. His work on capturing images of funeral pyres of Covid-19 victims at mass cremation sites in Delhi last year had garnered widespread applause. Apart from this, he had extensively covered conflicts around the world.
Taking to Twitter, the Pulitzer Prizes team congratulated the Siddiqui’s friends and family, the three other photographers and Reuters, an international news agency. Their work, which was moved from the breaking photography category by the judges, “balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place,” the Pulitzer Prize committee wrote.
Adnan Abidi, has also received the Pulitzer Prize before — first in 2018 for his reportage on the Rohingya exodus and then in 2020 for his coverage of the Hong Kong protests. Spanning a career of over 20 years, Abidi has worked with leading news agencies such as Pan-Asia News Agency, Indo Photo News and the Press Trust of India before joining Reuters.
Sanna Irshad Mattoo, the first Kashmiri woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, is pursuing her fellowship from the renowned photo company, Magnum Foundation. She won the Prize for her photograph of a health care worker administering a Covid-19 vaccine dose to a shepherd during the vaccination drive in Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Amit Dave, with over three decades of experience as a photojournalist, was conferred the prize for his photograph of a veiled woman who was getting her body temperature checked by a health worker during a vaccination drive for workers at a brick kiln in Kavitha village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Dave has covered riots, the aftermath of the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat, droughts and the Indian Ocean tsunami in Tamil Nadu.
Akhtar Siddiqui, Danish’s father, said that the family was happy to see Danish’s work was getting recognised. “Danish is no longer with us today, but he continues to make us proud and happy. The Pulitzer award is recognition for his hard work, dedication, and value-based journalism,” said Siddiqui.
Talking about Danish Siddiqui’s work that required him to be in life-threatening situations, Akhtar Siddiqui said he was bold and hardworking. “During the pandemic, he worked relentlessly to cover the impact of Covid across the country. Be it Delhi or Bhagalpur, he travelled extensively despite the pandemic-induced challenges and pressures. He has two small children and there was always the risk of the spread of the virus. Yet, nothing deterred him from covering the suffering of the people across the country,” said Danish’s father.
“This will be a great inspiration for the younger generation of professionals who will learn to work boldly and relentlessly,” he added. “We miss him a lot and hope that his work will continue to inspire youngsters to join the profession.”
Apart from them, the Washington Post and The New York Times won the prize for Public Service Journalism and International Reporting, respectively.