AP photographer Emilio Morenatti recognized for a week filled with compelling coverage.

Rarely does a Best of the Week award to go to a single AP journalist for work on a variety of stories. But the consistent excellence in the images of Barcelona-based Emilio Morenatti, chief photographer for the Iberian Peninsula, moved the judges to make an exception. Morenatti delivered exceptional coverage that distilled some of the biggest stories of 2020 in just a week’s worth of photos.

In sweeping narratives like the COVID-19 pandemic and the migrant crisis, sometimes the people caught up in the maelstrom can be lost. But as Morenatti’s coverage demonstrates, they can also show the very essence of the story.

At the start of the week, Morenatti worked with AP’s Enterprise team and Barcelona-based journalist Renata Brito to shine a light on the treacherous, little-known journey of migrants across a stretch of the Atlantic from the African continent to the Canary Islands. His poignant photos of empty boats, rows of dumped clothing and migrants living under bridges with virtually nothing were haunting and powerful. Editors at The Guardian agreed, giving this photo a spot in their “20 Photographs of the Week”:

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A police officer at Gran Canaria Island in Spain inspects a boat where 15 Malians were found dead adrift in the Atlantic, Aug. 20, 2020. The 15 lifeless men were spotted inside the boat by a Spanish plane the previous day. Police collected what was left behind as evidence: a wallet, a dozen cell phones, windbreakers and galoshes.

AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti

Not one to coast after a major assignment, he then delivered first rate, speedy spot coverage of soccer star Lionel Messi’s spat with Barcelona, daily life and more.

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At left, a poster of F.C. Barcelona soccer superstar Lionel Messi is reflected in the window of a team store in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 1, 2020. Messi and the team engaged in discussions to keep him on the team after he told the team he wanted to leave. At right, a man wearing face mask walks past advertising for a private clinic in Barcelona, Aug. 31, 2020.

AP Photos / Emilio Morenatti

And then, in a fitting conclusion to the week, his hard work and contact-building paid off in the best possible way with access to a COVID-19 patient as he was wheeled out of a hospital intensive care unit to enjoy the sun and fresh air of the Barcelona seaside. Morenatti’s moving and memorable series of photos was used the world over, and earned him a rare second spot in The Guardian’s gallery.

A remarkable week by any measure. Each of his assignments reflected the highest standards of visual journalism and a level of emotional investment that few can match, earning Morenatti AP’s Best of the Week accolade.

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