Tim Hetherington, a Vanity Fair photographer, won the "World Press Photo of the Year 2007" award with this picture of an American soldier resting at a bunker in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan taken September 16, 2007. The jury said "This image shows the exhaustion of a man and the exhaustion of a nation, we're all connected to this. It's a picture of a man at the end of a line".
Der Spiegel published the story behind this picture. An excerpt:
They barely slept that night. All of them crowded in the bunker, against the dirt wall "away from the other wall where they would come over. " says Hetherington, "they" being the enemy.
It was in that darkest hour that Hetherington took the picture that moved the world. A young soldier, leaning against the earth wall, his helmet off, arms smeared with dirt. He wipes the sweat off his brow, looking directly into the camera, his eyes foggy, his mouth ajar, part shocked, part weary, part desperate. He is wearing a large ring on his left hand.
The image is dark, blurry, lacking contrast. Some have criticized that now, arguing that a photo like that "was not appropriate to win," says Hetherington. But the shot captures the moment perfectly, and it works on two levels: It gives the viewer the sense of what happened then and there, and at the same time it has timeless, symbolic meaning.
Picture courtesy REUTERS/Tim Hetherington/Vanity Fair. - Source: The Road Daily