Junior class struck by Pulitzer Prize-Winning photographs

On Thursday, December 12th, the junior class traveled to the constitution center to attend “Capture The Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs Exhibit.” The exhibit includes all 153 prized photos, dating back to 1942. What seemed like just another class field trip to us juniors, turned out to be much more eye opening than any of us could have fathomed.

Immediately upon entering the exhibit, a somber aura was cast upon our class and each person fell deathly quiet. These were the type of images that closed your mouth and opened your eyes. From lone soldiers walking through barren war zones, to crowds of people running chaotically through the streets of a city, the exhibit produced so many different emotions at once. One second you’d be looking at a child being lynched, the next second you’re looking at children playing. Once viewed, the horrid photographs of the exhibit planted themselves in my mind, and would not leave me alone.

Brigit Andersson 15’ was disturbed by the photots, “The trip allowed me to both see and feel pain that I had never experienced before,” Andersson uncomfortably reflects, “and I disliked that. The pain was a traumatizing experience that I would have been better without.”

Evan Zaret 15’ said, “The trip was a once in a lifetime experience that truly reshaped how I value my life. Seeing others in disastrous situations made me feel grateful for the life I have and sympathetic for those who are in need.”

My own feelings resonate most with Zoe Albano- Oritt’s 15’ thoughts of the trip, “The photos were disturbing but moving.” Personally, I took the time to connect my own feelings to the pictures. When the discomforting images planted themselves in my mind and wouldn’t leave, I accepted them. Inspired by an English assignment based off the trip, I wrote poems reflecting on four of the images. Writing poetry let me break down the barriers between myself and the images, allowing my mind to wander into the dreadful worlds that I found in the pictures.

Even more alarming than the pictures themselves were the age groups that I found attending the exhibit. I saw groups of kids that looked to be as young as 8-10 years old. If these pictures disturbed juniors so much, I cannot imagine the trauma they produced for elementary school students, possibly the same ages as the children suffering in the many different photographs.

Walking back to the bus and throughout the ride back, I did not mutter a single word. My brain was trying to wrap itself around the atrocities it had just encountered, both eye opening and heart wrenching.