Posted in Behind the News

A kiss for the ages

, by Patrick Maks

Nearly a year after taking the Pulitzer-winning picture, AP photographer Emilio Morenatti reconnected with the elderly couple whom he photographed kissing through a plastic sheet during the global pandemic, recounting what he felt at the time.

Morenatti met with the Spanish couple last week to give them a framed copy of the photo of the two embracing after 100 days without seeing each other.

“I saw that you gave each other a kiss and that kiss lasted a really long time,” Morenatti told them in Spanish. “The people who took care of you all those days, they were crying rivers. People shed tears from emotion. Not just people, also me.”

Agustina Cañamero, 82, and Pascual Pérez, 85, hug and kiss through a plastic film screen to avoid contracting the coronavirus at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, June 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Still wearing masks but without a sheet separating them, Agustina Cañamero described the photo to Pascual Pérez, who has since lost much of his sight.

“Well, here we are both of us kissing each other through plastic and masks and everything,” Cañamero told her husband, to whom she’s been married for almost six decades.

Morenatti signed the back of the picture and thanked the couple for letting him celebrate their love in the form of a photograph.

Watch the video, captured by AP video journalist Renata Brito:

Morenatti won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for a poignant series of photographs, including this one, showing the toll of COVID-19 on Spain’s elderly population. AP also won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for photos capturing the U.S. response to the murder of George Floyd.