AWARD DATE: 2011
AWARD NAME: The Olivier Rebbot Award 2011
AWARD RECIPIENT: David Guttenfelder
AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: The Associated Press for National Geographic
AWARD HONORED WORK: The Zone
By entering Japan’s closed-off nuclear exclusion zone, Guttenfelder shows us ghost towns abandoned by people fleeing the invisible but very real hazards of radioactivity. Feral dogs roam the deserted streets and unmade beds lie as they were when people hastily evacuated their communities. On the flip side he takes us to intimate scenes in makeshift shelters, where despite their predicament, the evacuees cling to their dignity while attempting to normalize their lives.
David Guttenfelder, 40, was born in the US state of Iowa in 1969 and graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology in 1993. Guttenfelder has worked for the Associated Press since 1994 based in Kenya, Ivory Coast, India, and Japan. He is currently AP’s chief Asia photographer. Guttenfelder’s work has been recognized by the World Press Photo Association, The Overseas Press Club of America, and the National Headliners Awards. In 2006, he was named the US National Press Photographers Association, Photojournalist of the Year. He is a two-time runner-up for Newspaper Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International. He is a five-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
In this June 9, 2011 photo, 69-year-old and tattooed Toyoo Ide, left, bathes with fellow evacuees in a traditional Japanese-style bath set up in a tent by Japan's Self-Defense Forces at an evacuation center in Koriyama, Japan. "There's no water or electricity now, but if there were, I'd go back, radioactivity or not. I'd go back today. I can't live in a stranger's town," said Ide who was a lifelong employee of the nuclear power plant.
In this June 19, 2011 photo, children's desks, backpacks, and school supplies lie abandoned inside an earthquake-rattled primary school classroom in Namie, Japan. Months have gone by since the students fled following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and it is uncertain when, or if ever the children will be able to return or reclaim their possessions.
In this June 9, 2011 photo, an evacuee lies down in her makeshift temporary home on the floor of the Big Palette convention center in Koriyama, Japan. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes surrounding the damaged nuclear power plant.
In this June 9, 2011 photo, evacuee Nobuko Sanpei, 74, eats rice in her cardboard-box home on a hallway floor in a convention center in Koriyama, Japan. Sanpei, who has since moved to a small apartment, farmed rice with her husband in Tomioka, Japan less than 10 kilometers from the Dai-ichi power station.
Series inside exclusion zone setup around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which was damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
In this July 9, 2011 photo, futon bedding is left lying on the bedroom floor of an abandoned home in Okuma, Japan which is less than three miles from the damaged nuclear power plant. In Japan futons are traditionally stored in closets each morning but residents had no chance to put their homes in order before evacuation orders on televised news conferences exiled them on March 12, 2011.
In this July 24, 2011 photo, grass sprouts from a wrecked car on the coast where a residential neighborhood once stood in Namie, Japan. Months after the tsunami destroyed everything in the area, most of the debris has not been cleaned up because of the danger of high radiation levels, and nature appears to be reclaiming the towns.
In this June 5, 2011 photo, Leo Hoshi, a Japanese animal rights activist, walks along the Fukushima coast just half a kilometer (550 yards) away from the power plant over the hill ahead of him. Despite stiff penalties for illegally entering the zone, some animal rescuers defied restrictions as they sought to aid pets and farm animals that had been left behind.
Parts of the heavily-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, viewed through a bus window in Okuma, on November 12, 2011.
In this June 8, 2011 photo, residents wearing protective suits gather in a gym in Hirono, Japan for a briefing before being escorted to their homes inside the exclusion zone to retrieve a few small items. The government allowed strictly controlled visits by residents and each person had to be tightly screened for radioactive contamination upon return.
In this July 9, 2011 photo, the carcass of a cow decomposes next to a barn at a farm in Naraha, Japan. Farmers across the area had to hastily leave their homes and were unable to evacuate livestock, or return to the irradiated zone to care for them.
In this June 5, 2011 photo, two stray pet dogs fight in the deserted streets of Okuma, Japan. In the early days of the crisis, roaming farm animals and pets were everywhere inside the no-go zone. But by midsummer, some animals had been rescued and a number of others had perished of starvation and disease.