Presented last night at the Equitable Center Theater in Manhattan by Dateline correspondent John Hockenberry, the awards honored the year's best photos for news, portraits, science, sports, nature, fashion, architecture and travel, and covered a wide range of subjects from the humorous and ironic image of Jim Carrey to the shocking, moving pictures of Kosovo and Columbine.
The Cover of the Year Award, given to the outstanding photographic magazine cover of 1999, was awarded to Annie Leibovitz, whose image of actor Jim Carrey appeared on the November, 1999, issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Leibovitz also won for Best Fashion Essay and swept the Single Image Portrait Category. The LIFE Legend Award, recognizing an individual for lifetime achievement, has been awarded to Richard Avedon, and the New Talent Award, presented this year for the first time to a breakthrough talent in photography, to Martin Schoeller.
"Eisies" are named for photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, a pioneer of photojournalism, known to many as "Eisie," who died in 1995 at the age of 96. The winning photos were chosen from more than 1,000 entries that were reviewed by 13 screening panels. The final judging was conducted by a five-member panel, which included Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram; Vicki Goldberg, photography critic and art historian; Paul Lowe, photographer, Magnum Photos; Marcel Saba, director, Saba Press; and Fred Woodward, art director, Rolling Stone. The jury deliberated at Columbia in January, and its choices were then reviewed and ratified by Tom Goldstein, dean of the Journalism School.
Winners received $1,500 and a sculpture designed by Steuben. The winning photographs and runners-up will appear in a special issue of LIFE appearing on newsstands on April 10.
The Eisies are part of a relationship between Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and LIFE that also provides for $15,000 in scholarshiops for students interested in photography, and a comitment of a gift of $150,000 to establish a state-of-the-art darkroom, to be named for Alfred Eisenstaedt.
The awards, given annually, join others under Columbia's purview, including the Pulitzer Prizes, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in television and radio journalism, the National Magazine Awards and the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes in inter-American journalism. A full list of the winners (also available on the Eisie