HAVANA – The Cuban photographer who won the King of Spain International Journalism Award for Photography with a shot of Air Force One landing in Havana, as it brought US President Barack Obama on his historic visit to Cuba, told EFE on Tuesday that he wants to keep taking pictures just as good as or even better than the prizewinner.
“One photo does not a photographer make. What I want is to keep taking photos as good as or even better than that. I want to keep working,” he told EFE on the phone from his home soon after hearing the news.
Zamora, 35, who practices his profession with the state-run daily Granma, said he feels “happy” and “satisfied” with the recognition he won with that picture, which has been included in almost all the Best Photograph of the Year selections published in leading publications like Time magazine.
Contracted by international media during Obama’s visit to Cuba, he recalls that he had to take that picture because it was a “job nobody else wanted to do” – it meant waiting for Air Force One to fly over the Boyeros neighborhood near Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.
“I found a good place to catch the plane flying low over some houses before landing at the airport, but the police made me move on. Luckily I was being driven by a motorist who knew the area well so I was able to find another good place,” he said.
It was in fact the perfect place, with typical Havana working-class homes, people on balconies and three American classic cars of the kind so often seen on the island, and above which he snapped the photos of Air Force One coming in for a landing at the Havana airport.
“It was my good luck that before Air Force One showed up, several planes carrying US security personnel and official delegations flew over, and so I could see how to frame my photo,” he said.
The jury of the 34th King of Spain International Journalism Awards unanimously agreed that the photo caught the moment when the presidential aircraft Air Force One was about to land in Havana for the first time in history, “which meant a historic moment in US-Cuban relations.”
“The photo had precisely the value of showing the beginning of relations between the two countries that had been at odds for over a half-century,” said the decision of the jury, convened annually by the Agencia EFE and the Spanish foreign-aid agency AECID.
Competing for the photography prize were 19 shots from different Ibero-American nations.
The award in the photography category included a cash prize of 6,000 euros (some $6,400) and a bronze sculpture by Spanish artist Joaquin Turcios.
The King of Spain International Journalism Awards are sponsored by the OHL international concessions and construction group.