Tragedy by the Sea
1955 Pulitzer Prize, Photography, John L. Gaunt, Los Angeles Times
April 2, J 954. Los Angeles Times photographer John Gaunt lounges in his front yard in Hermosa Beach, Calif., enjoying the sun. Suddenly, a neighbor calls out. "There was some excitement on the beach," says Gaunt. "I grabbed a RoIIeiflex camera and ran."
Down by the water, Gaunt finds a distraught young couple by the shoreline. Moments before, their 19-month-old son was playing happily in their yard. Somehow, he wandered down to the
beach. He was swept away by the fierce tide.
The little boy is gone. There is nothing anyone can do. Gaunt, who has a daughter about the same age, takes four quick photographs of the grieving couple. "As I made the last exposure,
they turned and walked away" he says. The little boys body is later recovered from the surf.