UPI's Kevin Dietsch honored for White House photos

By Danielle Haynes  |  Updated Jan. 23, 2018 at 10:47 PM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- UPI photographer Kevin Dietsch won multiple honors from the White House News Photographers Association, including a first-place prize for his shot of a controversial off-camera press briefing by Sean Spicer.

Dietsch, who has covered UPI's Washington, D.C., bureau since 2005, won first place and received an award of excellence in the association's "Insider Washington" category. He also won an award of excellence in the "Presidential" category.

His first-place photo features former White House press secretary Spicer giving a news briefing on June 26. It was one of a few briefings in White House history to ban television cameras since they began to be used.

"This was a pretty contentious situation within the White House press pool and put a strain on an already rocky relationship that the Trump administration had with the media," Dietsch said of the day.

Tasked with illustrating that tension, Dietsch captured a photo of Spicer and reporters during the briefing in the top half of the frame. In the bottom half of the photo, a laptop displayed an older photo of former President Barack Obama with tears falling from his eyes.

"I photographed the unmanned TV cameras and tried some various framing, and as I was in the back of the room I saw a fellow photographer had left his work laptop open displaying a screen saver of images," Dietsch said. "After a few seconds, an image of former President Barack Obama crying displayed on the screen.

"To me, this image symbolizes the Trump administration's restriction of the First Amendment rights of journalists during the daily press briefing. At the same time this image shows the larger picture of the political shift and symbolize how President Obama's legacy was being reversed rapidly by the current administration."

The association recognized another of Dietsch's photos in the "Insider Washington" category -- one featuring Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaving a federal courthouse on Nov. 6. He had just pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Dietsch also received an Award of Excellence for his photo of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Dec. 15. Sessions is seen on a television screen reflected in a framed portrait of Trump.

Dietsch earmed a bachelor of fine arts degree in photojournalism from Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and two children.

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