- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2012

Washington Times photographer Andrew Harnik has won four first-place awards in the White House News Photographers Association’s annual “Eyes of History” competition and finished second overall, losing the Photographer of the Year award only on a tiebreaker.

Mr. Harnik led the “Insiders Washington” category for “Fist of Support” — his striking image of Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, the frame dominated by an American flag and punctuated by a lone, powerful fist. The image also has been named “Political Photo of the Year.”

“Ron Paul was speaking at the Iowa State Fair last December, with a row of very enthusiastic military vets behind him. Ron Paul was looking very ‘Ron Paul,’ and most everything he said was well received,” Mr, Harnik recalled.

“My photo editor, Joe Eddins, sent me to Iowa with a simple instruction. ‘Make something different,’ he told me. So I was in the back of the hall, gazing at this huge flag, watching the crowd go nuts. I waited to see what would happen,” Mr. Harnik continued. “Then after some particularly loud applause, when things died down, one vet’s forearm shot up. His fist was clenched, in the old ‘right on’ signal. It was just for a second. And that was the shot.”

Mr. Harnik, 30, also won five other honors in the competition, taking first place in both the sports feature picture and political photo-essay categories, third place for his overall portfolio of political photos, and a second award of excellence in the “Insiders” category.

Mr. Harnik came in second place as photographer of the year, a designation awarded this year to Associated Press photographer Charles Dharapak, with whom the Times photographer was tied in contest points. He lost the tiebreaker.

Both were lauded for their dedication to photojournalism, their patience and storytelling ability by Ron Sachs, president of the 90-year-old nonprofit organization.

“This is an incredible honor for me,” Mr. Harnik said. “I am a native Washingtonian, and the photos I saw in the morning newspaper when I was kid that really influenced and moved me, well, many of those photographers are still out there shooting. To be recognized by them is really an honor.”

In addition, The Washington Times’ staff multimedia journalist Andrew Geraci won an honorable mention in the New Media-Innovation category for his stop-motion, time-lapse image titled “District Nights.”

Both Times staffers will be recognized at a black-tie event expected to be attended by President Obama and about 1,000 guests on May 5.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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