Story behind award winning photo revealed
Samuel Aranda's award winning photograph. AFP PhotoA mystery as to the identity of a man and woman from Yemen’s Arab Spring portrayed in last year’s winning World Press Award photograph has been solved after a Yemeni newspaper located the woman, Fatime Al-Qaws, in Sanaa.
Al-Qaws, 35, was shown fully veiled and in black with an exhausted young man in her arms, now identified as her son, Zayed. The now-famous photograph was taken by New York Times photographer Samuel Aranda.
Yemen Times published an interview with al-Qaws several days after the announcement of the award, in which she revealed the details behind the emotionally arresting photo.
She said she was looking for her son in a field hospital following a demonstration when she located him "lying on the ground suffocated with tear gas."
“So I embraced him and [Aranda] must have taken the photo at that moment," she told Yemen Times.
The family found out about their global fame only when the photo began circulating following the award win, a full four months after it appeared in the New York Times. Relatives of the mother and son soon noticed and informed the pair about the photo.
Aranda was taken to meet the family last week while he was on a separate assignment in Yemen.
New York Times described the meeting as "formal and emotional" as "elders kissed Mr. Aranda" and the grandmother of the family cried.
Al-Qaws said she did not notice that she was being photographed at the moment even though Aranda was quoted by the New York Times as saying, "I remember perfectly her looking at me.”
The meeting ended with the family thanking Aranda and exchanging numbers to keep in touch, the New York Times reported.
Compiled from New York Times and Yemen Times articles by the Daily News staff.