Paul Melcher's selection
Not all photojournalism photography has to be a depiction of war, destruction, desolation and death. Some of the greatest photojournalists never see a drop of blood besides an occasional paper cut. The only conflict they might see is from their wives if they forget the milk on their way home. Yet, their work is seen worldwide and is as influential as any conflict correspondent. Their images tell us more about the world of power than any description of nuclear physics but more importantly, keeps these powers in check . Because there is nothing more revealing than a look, a glimpse or an expression taken while a president, congressman, or any elected official feels empowered.
The photographers of the White House News Photographer Association work in extremely difficult situations. They have especially limited time, space and opportunity to capture a defining moment. Even thought highly trained PR specialists take a long time to prepare and stage events so that nothing is out of control, these photographers are always capable of finding that one split half a second where un-scripted reality sneaks in. Imagine how hard it must be, every day, to shoot press conferences, ribbon cutting events, speeches, podiums and every day making them interesting if not revealing. White House photographers, those that travel in the pool, are seekers of truth. They go beyond their duty to document an event by defining it beyond the words spoken. They can make or break a political career with one shot. Politicians fear them most of the press corps, as there is no denying a photograph.
To be a White House news photographer is to be a theatre photographer where the stage is filled with the most powerful people in the world. The ones that manage our destiny.
Every year, they gather into a ceremonial award celebration dinner in Washington DC where the best of them receive prizes for their past work . It is a highly sought after dinner where the most important photo editors in the US mix with the best DC photographers and where even the President of the United States makes an appearance.
For the those who can make it, fortunately, there is still a website to savor the best images of the year and enjoy some of the greatest photojournalism today.
Here are the 2012 winners : www.whnpa.org/contest/eyes2012