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AP Rewards Qana Photographers

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An LGF reader has forwarded the following email (I suppose you could say our reader “leaked” it), sent to all Associated Press employees, congratulating themselves on the propaganda photos from Qana and awarding the photographers cash prizes:

Dear Staffers:

Last Sunday proved to be one of the most dramatic days in the war between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. AP’s extensive photo team produced a stunning series of images that day that beat the competition and scored huge play worldwide.

Rumors surfaced early Sunday morning that an Israeli airstrike had flattened a house in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The number of deaths wasn’t immediately known, but the seriousness of the incident was clear. Beirut-based photographer Hussein Malla immediately called AP photographers Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis and stringer Mohammed Zaatari and advised them to rush to the scene. Nasser arrived as the bodies of many civilians — including numerous children — were being pulled from the rubble. Lefteris later took over, enabling Nasser to get his pictures swiftly onto the wire. Kevin Frayer was dispatched from Beirut to boost AP’s presence. Throughout the morning, AP’s team filed a steady stream of powerful images.

Meanwhile, in Beirut, a small Hezbollah demonstration exploded into violence at word of the Qana attack. Hezbollah supporters stormed the nearby United Nations building, scaling walls and smashing their way past bulletproof glass barriers to enter the building itself. Photographers Hussein Malla, Kevork Djansezian and Ben Curtis were all there to capture the rioting. Beirut-based photo editor Dalia Khamissy coordinated with photographers in the field and handled a steady stream of stringer photos. All day long, AP photographers relayed what they were seeing to AP reporters for print stories.

Nasser’s most haunting image showed a man emerging from the rubble carrying the lifeless and dust-covered body of a child. Calm, morning light shone down on man and child, highlighting them against an almost monochrome background of pure rubble. … Nasser’s image ran on the front pages of at least 33 newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Post. It also won a double-page center spread in The Guardian of London. Lefteris’s image of a resident weeping next to a row of bodies made the front of The Washington Post, among many others. Hussein, Kevork and Ben’s images of the storming of the UN building easily beat those of the competition.

For a day of outstanding a memorable photos, taken in conditions of substantial danger, the Lebanon photo team of Nasser Nasser, Lefteris Pitarakis, Kevin Frayer, Mohammed Zaatari, Ben Curtis, Hussein Malla, Kevork Djansezian and Dalia Khamissy shares this week’s $500 Beat of the Week award.

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