Los Angeles Times journalist Marcus Yam has won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for his pictures documenting the Taliban takeover of Kabul last fall.
The Los Angeles Times announced Yam’s award Monday, calling him a journalist “with a warrior’s courage and a poet’s heart.”
The 38-year-old photographer was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Los Angeles Times reports. He attended the University of Buffalo to study aerospace engineering.
“Marcus was a great, unique student,” Kemper Lewis, dean of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, told At Buffalo. “I saw him in class one day with a camera around his neck and asked him about it. Photography was clearly a passion he made a lot of time for, which told me he was disciplined — most engineering students are overwhelmed by just their homework alone.”
Yam worked on UB’s student newspaper The Spectrum. While interning at The Buffalo News he realized photography was his true calling.
Yam has worked with The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Seattle Times before joining the LA Times. He has received national awards for his pictures capturing life on the Gaza strip.
Yam dedicated his award to the people in his photos.
“The bravery and the courage really belongs to everyday Afghans, whose lives were changed overnight,” Yam said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “As Westerners, we have the privilege of coming and going. And they are the ones that have to remain and to face the unknown. So this is for them.”
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