Meet The First Ever Malaysian-Born Journalist Who Won A Pulitzer Prize In Photography

Marcus Yam's coverage of the lives of the Afghan people affected by the Taliban takeover has gripped the world.

Cover image via Nabih Bulos/Los Angeles Times & Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times

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For the first time ever, a Malaysian-born journalist was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for 2022 in the breaking news photography category

38-year-old Marcus Yam, who was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, was named the 49th Pulitzer Prize winner along with four other journalists for his coverage of the departure of US forces after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

According to Los Angeles Times, for whom he is a foreign correspondent and photojournalist, this Pulitzer is the culmination of all the great work Yam has produced over the last seven years at the US daily.

His editors describe his work as "stellar" and have "deep respect and admiration for him, his work ethic, courage, and stoicism amid the dangers and restrictions he faced at the time". 

Yam's compelling coverage of the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has stunned the world

He arrived in the country on 14 August 2021, just a day before the capital Kabul had been taken over by Taliban forces.

For two months, Yam documented the stories of the Afghan people whose lives had been affected by the historic change in the country.

Los Angeles Times said Yam "courageously and relentlessly pursued a number of human interest stories even as other Western news organisations exited the country due to security issues".

He left the world of aerospace engineering to pursue a career in photography, with a goal to take viewers to the frontlines of conflict, struggle, and intimacy

Since joining the US newspaper in 2014, he has covered a wide range of topics, including humanitarian issues, social justice, terrorism, foreign conflicts, natural disasters, politics, and celebrity portraiture.

In 2019, Yam was awarded the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award for his documentation of the everyday plight of Gazans during deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip in Palestine.

He has also been part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning breaking news teams.

Yam's most recent work covers the conflict in Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

Here are some of the raw and remarkable moments captured by Yam during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that earned him the prestigious award:

Image via Marcus Yam
Image via Marcus Yam
Image via Marcus Yam
Image via Marcus Yam
Image via Marcus Yam

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