Dirck and The Eisie
by Joan Gramatte

Congratulations to our dedicated, tenacious, ubiquitous, and fearless head Platypus, Dirck Halstead, for winning two 1999 "Eisies." 

The Alfred Eisenstaedt Award is named for the great photographer and pioneer of photojournalism. Administered by Columbia University School of Journalism under a grant from Life magazine, the award is given for excellence in magazine photography. 

Dirck won "Cover of the Year Award" and "Impact in Photojournalism." Both awards were for his photograph of President Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky, which appeared on the August 10 cover of Time magazine. 

See the RealVideo or hear the RealAudio from the Eisie's

Winning photojournalism awards is hardly new for Dirck, but this one is particularly sweet. It is named in honor of a man he knew and held in the highest regard. 

Dirck seemed destined to be involved in journalism. He and Life magazine were born the same year, 1936. Dirck's parents sent out a birth announcement that read: "Life starts for Dirck Halstead." 

In 1954, when he was just 17-years-old, Dirck got his first Life assignment to cover the Guatemalan revolution. His efforts resulted in a double-page photo layout. Life's publetter the following week reflected on two of the photojournalists working for the magazine: "Dirck getting older--Eisie getting younger." 

Since then, Dirck has covered the world, from presidents to kings, sports to cinema, earthquakes to wars. He has witnessed and documented some of the most important events of this century. It's what he does. 

The following is a portion of Dirck's remarks upon receiving the awards: 

"I spent a lot of time documenting Eisie in the last few years [of his life]. Eisie would say, 'Why are you running around with that little video camera?' I said, 'Eisie, it's important, we really need to get down on tape what you are doing.' 

"Eisie had such youth and such vision, that even the year before he died he still was young, mentally--he said, 'my body won't go on anymore, but my mind is like a 17-year-old.' 

"And he was fascinated by the new technology. Eisie always looked ahead. 

"Two weeks ago 30 outstanding photojournalists graduated from what we call the Platypus Workshop, in conjunction with the NPPA TV News Workshop at the University of Oklahoma. These people are going to go out in the world now, and start bridging the gap between traditional photojournalism and television journalism. And we're going to try moving the playing field ahead into the next generation. 

"We feel now, that photojournalism is standing on the threshold of perhaps the greatest time it's ever had. And I just know that Eisie's up there right now, and he's looking down at me and he's saying, way to go." 
So, here's to you Dirck, my very dear friend--Way To Go! 

Joan Gramatte