Pulitzer Winning Photo Series in Feature Photography by Emilio Morenatti, AP Photographer

Updated: Aug 19, 2021


On June 11th, Columbia University revealed the Pulitzer Prizes for 2021, which were awarded based on the Pulitzer Prize Board’s suggestion. Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography are two of the many genres dedicated to photography. The Associated Press won both categories this year. In this blog, I’m going to talk about Photographer Emilio Morenatti’s photo series, which won him the feature photography category.

Photographer Emilio Morenatti, celebrates with his wife Marta Ramoneda and kids, Pau, left, and Gala after learning he won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography with a set of pictures documenting the toll of the coronavirus pandemic on elderly people, in Barcelona Friday June 11, 2021. Traveling by scooter around Barcelona, Morenatti captured images of an older couple hugging and kissing through a plastic sheet, mortuary workers in hazmat gear removing bodies and of people enduring the crisis in isolation (AP Photo/Kyle Mawer)

Emilio Morenatti, the chief photographer of Associated Press in Spain, has worked as a photojournalist and documentary photographer for more than 30 years, covering international events in more than 50 nations, including armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Pakistan. A bomb exploded in 2009 as he was working with a US military patrol in the south of Afghanistan, causing him to lose his left foot. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his “poignant series of photographs” depicting the life of the elderly, Agustina Cañamero (82) and Pascual Pérez (85) in Spain as they struggled through the Corona virus outbreak.





During the early months of the COVID-19 epidemic, at the end of February 2020, Emilio Morenatti began photographing the elderly in Spain. He gave an overview of what was going on in the world’s most vulnerable populations for the rest of the year. The most intriguing image has to be of Agustina Cañamero and her husband Pascual Pérez, who were seen hugging and kissing via a plastic film screen at a nursing home in Barcelona to prevent getting the coronavirus. On June 22, 2020, the photo was taken.


J. David Ake, AP assistant managing editor and director of photography, said in a public statement, “The outstanding work of the AP photography staff in covering racial justice protests and Emilio Morenatti’s compassionate, year-long look at the impact of COVID-19 on the elderly in Spain are two shining examples of what photojournalists strive to do everywhere: use light and shadow to bring knowledge and understanding to all corners of the globe.”


Morenatti said, “Covering the conflict in the backyard of my house has been something that I never thought I would have to do… All those photos were taken no more than five kilometers from my house, which makes a great difference with other conflicts I previously covered. This also happened in my own environment, my own neighborhood, my own city… It makes me even more empathic with the situation.”


Here are the winning images:

Josefa Ribas, 86, who is bedridden, looks at nurse Alba Rodriguez as Ribas’ husband, Jose Marcos, 89, stands by in their home in Barcelona, Spain, March 30, 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak. Ribas suffers from dementia, and Marcos fears for them both if the virus enters their home. “If I get the virus, who will take care of my wife? (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A woman sits on her balcony in downtown Barcelona, Spain, May 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Leopoldo Roman, 85, lies in bed wearing a face mask as he waits for doctors during a home medical visit in Barcelona, Spain, April 3, 2020. Roman, whose leg was amputated years ago, has to pay for daily care out of his pension since the public system only provides for a social worker to come for an hour a day, three days a week. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Nurse Marta Fernandez holds up a tablet computer over the chest of 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove so that she can speak to her sister, children and grandchildren from her hospital bed at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A patient infected with coronavirus rests in a chair inside an isolated room at the COVID-19 ward of a public hospital in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Wearing protective suits to prevent infection, mortuary workers move the body of an elderly person who died of COVID-19 from an elevator after removing it from a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Residents look at the street through a window at the Icaria nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Francisco España, 60, looks at the Mediterranean sea from a promenade next to the “Hospital del Mar” in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 4, 2020. Francisco spent 52 days in the ICU of the hospital due to an infection of Coronavirus and he has being allowed by his doctors on this day to spend almost ten minutes at the seaside as part of a therapy to recover from the ICU. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
The body of an elderly person is prepared inside a coffin for her funeral at a morgue in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A woman pushes a cart with her belongings as she walks along an empty street in downtown Barcelona, Spain, March 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
The body of an elderly person who died of COVID-19 is covered with a sheet on her bed in a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A mortuary worker collects the ashes of a COVID-19 victim from an oven after the remains where cremated at Memora mortuary in Girona, Spain, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Álvaro Puig Moreno watches television while eating a his Christmas Eve dinner at his home in Barcelona, Spain, Dec. 24, 2020. “The solitude gets to me these days, I often feel depressed,” Puig said. “These holidays, instead of making me happy, make me sad. I hate them. Most of family has died, I am one of the last ones left. I will spend Christmas at home alone because I don’t have anyone to spend them with.” (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Mortuary workers take off their protective clothing at the entrance of a building decorated with a Christmas tree, after removing the body of person who is suspected of dying from COVID-19 in Barcelona, Spain, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Agustina Cañamero, 81, hugs and kisses her husband Pascual Pérez, 84, through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, June 22, 2020. Even when it comes wrapped in plastic, a hug can convey tenderness and relief, love and devotion. The fear that gripped 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. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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