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United States: A crowd brandishing racist signs forms a barrier keeping African American students from entering Texarkana College in Texas in 1956. Despite pleas to Texas Rangers stationed nearby, the students were unable to enter the school that day.
Courtesy of Joe Scherschel/Life
Citizenship

These Award-Winning Photos Capture Every Facet of Humanity Over the Last 75 Years

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the Newseum’s latest photography exhibition in Washington, DC, speaks volumes about the world we live in and its history.

The exhibition, called “Pictures of the Year: 75 Years of the World’s Best Photography,” is a retrospective of one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious photojournalism competitions, the Picture of the Year International (POYI) Competition. The show, which opened this month and will be on display through January 2019, features photos showing “everything from iconic moments of activism and protest to conflict to scenes from everyday life,” Christy Wallover, the exhibit’s writer, told Global Citizen.

Wallover and a team of past POYI winners and photojournalists took on the gargantuan task for choosing just 108 photos from about 40,000 images to represent key moments in history from the past seven decades.

“We focused on a lot of protests and activism moments,” Wallover said. “From the civil rights marches to the anti-war protests in the '70s to photos of DAPL activists recently, we wanted to try to balance each decade but also to uphold the principle of the First Amendment.”

Though only about half the photos included in the exhibition were taken in the US (the other half were taken all over the world), the images highlight the importance of freedom of speech and the press to document history and spread information. While people’s struggle for fairness and equality may take different forms from decade to decade, Wallover said she believes that the role photography has in documenting the human fight for justice remains constant.

“Still photography will always have a space in news transmission and news telling,” Wallover said. “We’re so bombarded with videos and moving images everywhere, that I think the still image has an enduring power to capture one significant, one single moment in place and time.”

From a soldier on the frontlines of war to a conservationist caring for a panda, these are some of the most significant moments included in the exhibition.


Photographer: Joe Scherschel

1957-Scherschel-RETRO-dr-RT.jpgUnited States: A crowd brandishing racist signs forms a barrier keeping African American students from entering Texarkana College in Texas in 1956. Despite pleas to Texas Rangers stationed nearby, the students were unable to enter the school that day.
Image: Courtesy of Joe Scherschel/Life

United States, 1957 Winner: A crowd brandishing racist signs forms a barrier keeping African American students from entering Texarkana College in Texas in 1956. Despite pleas to Texas Rangers stationed nearby, the students were unable to enter the school that day.

Photographer: Carol Guzy

1993-np-guzy-20941-dr-RT-FINAL.jpgUnited States: Survivors of Hurricane Andrew share a moment in their battered neighborhood in Florida. Hurricane Andrew caused unprecedented destruction in 1992. Clocked as a Category 5 storm, Andrew caused $25 billion in damages.
Image: Courtesy of Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

United States, 1993 Winner: Survivors of Hurricane Andrew share a moment in their battered neighborhood in Florida. Hurricane Andrew caused unprecedented destruction in 1992. Clocked as a Category 5 storm, Andrew caused $25 billion in damages.

Photographer: Ami Vitale

2014-gp-71-1-vitaa-02-dr-FINAL.jpgA costumed caretaker cleans a panda pen at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China’s Sichuan Province. To prepare pandas for release into the wild, caretakers wear bear costumes soaked in panda urine to ensure the bears do not become accustomed to humans.
Image: Courtesy of Ami Vitale

China, 2014 Winner: A costumed caretaker cleans a panda pen at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China’s Sichuan Province. To prepare pandas for release into the wild, caretakers wear bear costumes soaked in panda urine to ensure the bears do not become accustomed to humans.

Photographer: Michele McDonald

1987-mcdonald-retro-RT-FINAL.jpgUnited States: 73 seconds after liftoff in January 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. All 7 crew members perished. An investigation determined that the O-rings between segments of the rocket booster did not seal properly in the cold temperatures
Image: Courtesy of Michele McDonald/Virginian-Pilot & Ledger-Star

United States, 1987 Winner: 73 seconds after liftoff in January 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. All 7 crew members perished. An investigation determined that the O-rings between segments of the rocket booster did not seal properly in the cold temperatures.

Photographer: David Douglas Duncan

1952-Duncan-RETRO-2-dr-RT.jpgNorth Korea: American soldiers endured bitter conditions as they pushed into North Korea in October 1950 during the Korean War.
Image: Courtesy of David Douglas Duncan/Life

North Korea, 1951 Winner: American soldiers endured bitter conditions as they pushed into North Korea in October 1950 during the Korean War.

Photographer: W. Eugene Smith

1975-GP-Smith--E-G6026-RETRO-299-1-dr-RT-FINAL.jpgJapan: Born blind, deaf and with deformed limbs, Kamimura Tomoko is bathed by her mother in 1974. Tomoko suffered from Minamata Disease, named after a Japanese town where chemical waste dumped into the ocean caused widespread mercury poisoning.
Image: Courtesy of W. Eugene Smith

Japan, 1975 Winner: Born blind, deaf and with deformed limbs, Kamimura Tomoko is bathed by her mother in 1974. Tomoko suffered from Minamata Disease, named after a Japanese town where chemical waste dumped into the ocean caused widespread mercury poisoning.