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Dr. Erich Salomon was the first famous photo reporter working with fast lenses for small cameras like those for the Ermanox camera. He was present as journalist at political conferences where he made snapshots of many famous politicians and diplomats. French foreign Minister Aristide Briand called him "the King of the indiscrete". He also made snapshots of film stars and other famous people. People thought he would work with hidden camera. His images were printed by German news papers and magazines of other countries, like Fortune and Illustration. His book "Berühmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachten Augenblicken" (="famous contemporaries in unguarded moments") shows many of his best works. In 1933 he emigrated to the Netherlands. In times of German occupation (WWII) he could hide himself and his family for a while, until discovered by Nazis and deported by them to and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.
Since 1971 the German Society for Photography (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie e.V.) rewards every year an organisation for exemplary application of photography in journalism with the Dr. Erich Salomon Preis. Since 1983 the prize can be given to single persons instead. It is the highest prize beside the culture prize given by that society. Its board decides who will get it. The winner gets symbolically a historic camera.
- 1983 Dr. Lotte Jacobi, Deering, N.H., USA und Dr. Tim Gidal, Jerusalem
- 1985 Robert Frank, New York
- 1986 Peter Magubane, New York/Johannesburg
- 1987 Josef H. Darchinger, Bonn, D
- 1988 Sebastiao Salgado, Paris
- 1989 Barbara Klemm, Frankfurt/Main
- 1990 Cristina García Rodero, Madrid
- 1991 Robert Lebeck, Hamburg
- 1992/3 Don McCullin, Batcombe/Somerset, GB
- 1994 Mary Ellen Mark, New York
- 1995 Gilles Peress, New York
- 1996 Regina Schmeken, Munich
- 1997 Peter Hunter, Den Haag
- 1998 René Burri, Paris
- 1999 Eva Besnyö, Amsterdam
- 2000 Arno Fischer, Berlin
- 2001 Herlinde Koelbl, Neuried, D
- 2003 John G. Morris, Paris
- 2004 Will McBride, Berlin
- 2005 Horst Faas, London
- 2006 Martin Parr, Bristol, GB
- 2007 Letizia Battaglia, Palermo, I