Denver Post photographer Craig F. Walker, center, listens as the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography is announced. His wife, Jamie Cotton, right, lifts her hands in celebration, while photo editors Tim Rasmussen, left, and John Sunderland, seated, celebrate. (Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

The Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography went to the man in the middle of this photograph, Craig F. Walker.  His 2011 photo essay “Welcome Home:  The Story of Scott Olstrom” follows an Iraqi war vet struggling to put his life together as he copes with PTSD.  The powerful yet intimate images are accompanied by Scott’s painfully honest words.  It’s easy to see why it won the Pulitzer.

Photo by Craig F. Walker

It’s the kind of documentary work that terrifies and inspires. Terrifying because of the pain and anxiety that infuse Scott Ostrom’s waking moments.  And inspiring because the images are so vivid and tell such a compelling story. Witnessing Scott’s efforts to respond to his PTSD and set himself towards a more stable and healthy life is incredibly moving.  He’s a brave man and you want him to succeed.  You can view the photos at the Denver Post Photo Blog .  

I’d also like to note that the photo series ran only as part of the photo blog, not in the paper itself.  And the photos tell a much more powerful story for having been taken over an 8 month period.  Another example of the Web as a catalyst for change.  Creating, in the words of the Pulitzer committee, “a compassionate chronicle… images that enable viewers to better grasp a national issue.”