Documentary filmmaker Nancy Buirski won Emmy and Peabody Awards for “The Loving Story,” about a Virginia couple’s successful challenge to a ban on interracial marriage, has died at 78.
September 6, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
September 1, 2023
After founding the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 1998 at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and directing it for a decade, Ms. Buirski (pronounced BURR-skee) made her own first documentary, “The Loving Story,” in 2011.
The film explored the case of Mildred and Richard Loving, who faced imprisonment because their interracial marriage in 1958 was illegal in Virginia. (She was part-Black and part-Native American, and he was white.)
"Years earlier, as a picture editor on the international desk at The New York Times, Ms. Buirski was credited with choosing the image that won the newspaper its first Pulitzer Prize for photography, in 1994. After seeking a photograph to accompany an article on war and famine in southern Sudan, she choose one by Kevin Carter, a South African photojournalist, of an emaciated toddler collapsing on the way to a United Nations feeding center as a covetous vulture lurked in the background.
Ms. Buirski commended the photo to Nancy Lee, The Times’ picture editor at the time. She then proposed it, strongly, for the front page, because, she recalled telling another editor, “This is going to win the paper’s first-ever Pulitzer Prize for photography.”
The photograph ended up appearing on an inside page in the issue of March 26, 1993, but the reaction from readers, concerned about the child’s fate, was so strong that The Times published an unusual editors’ note afterward explaining that the child had continued to the feeding center after Mr. Carter chased away the vulture.
The picture won the Pulitzer in the feature photography category. (Mr. Carter died by suicide a few months later at 33.)"