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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Photojournalist alum honored in NYC for Pakistan flood photo

UH alum, Adrees Latif, will be honored as a photojournalism winner on May 10 in New York City at the International Center of Photography for the gala of the recipients of the 27th Annual Infinity Awards.

“Infinity Award recipients are dedicated to exploring photography’s cultural influence and how it opens new opportunities for communication and personal expression,” said ICP Ehrenkranz Director Willis E. Hartshorn in a press release. “This year’s recipients capture the importance of how photography shapes our sense of history in an ever more image-conscious world. We are pleased to recognize their achievements.”

Latif’s coverage of the massive flooding of Pakistan last year due to heavy monsoon rains earned him the recognition of the ICP.

Latif spent several days in the floodwaters getting photographs of the destruction. He went to Multan on August 6 to see if he could get a spot on a helicopter helping to distribute relief supplies. The next day he was given a seat on an Army helicopter sent to deliver food to marooned villagers. The crowd rushed the aircraft leaving it to hover above the masses, said Latif on his Reuters blog.

“As the doors to the helicopter opened to distribute food supplies, I saw my chance for a different angle and took a step back before leaping past the crewmen and meters below onto the ground. I knew I had as much time to document the reality of the moment as it would take the crewmen to distribute the relief supplies they had brought,” Latif said.

With that risky move, he began to quickly take photographs of villagers reaching out for the supplies. He continued on battling the churning dust and wind from the helicopter propellers to get a shot of the villagers hanging onto the skids hoping to be rescued. After taking these shots, he signaled to the pilot he wanted to leave.

“I raced towards the doorways and with the help of a villager, hurdled over the crowd before being pulled up single handedly by a crewman. As the helicopter started to take off, the elderly man in the photograph, with a white scarf around his neck, managed to hang on and was pulled to safety,” said Latif.

Latif was born in Pakistan and has a dual citizenship with the United States.

He graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in Journalism in 1999.

Latif won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his photograph of the fatal shooting of a fellow journalist in Myanmar.

Latif now works for Reuters as the Chief Photographer in Pakistan.

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