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Photographer Relives Taking Iconic Boston Marathon Bombing Photo

04/13/2014 12:35 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2014

Nearly one year after the Boston Marathon bombings, there are still certain images from April 15, 2013, that remain engraved in people's minds.

John Tlumacki's photograph is one of them. The Boston Globe photographer shot the now-famous picture of police officers running toward a fallen runner just seconds after the first bomb went off.

His photo was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated the week of the tragedy.

The photo features three police officers jumping into action on Boylston Street to help marathoner Bill Iffrig, who was knocked to the ground by one of the explosions. Tlumacki described the moment he took the photograph during "Meet the Press" on Sunday, and relived what he saw through his lens.

"It was very difficult," he told "Meet the Press" host David Gregory. "It was like the saddest day of my life"

"I instinctively just ran forward. I saw that runner, Bill Iffrig, fall to the ground. I had the camera to my face. I felt the jolt from the explosion and I just kept running, and the three police officers -- one of them with her gun drawn -- were running towards [the runner]."

Tlumacki was honored with the 2014 National Press Photographers Association's Photojournalist of the Year award in March for the photo and for his bravery in capturing the moment.

"While others ran away from the first blast, Tlumacki ran toward the scene," the National Press Photographers Association wrote.

"It really is a moving picture," former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "It has become iconic for police everywhere."

"That's the kind of image that stands the test of time," Gregory added.

Tlumacki said that he knows his photograph will forever be a "terrible" reminder of what happened, but that it also captured "the response that Boston had." He told Gregory that he will be standing at the finish line again this year, camera in hand, but with a new mission.

"I want to replace that image -- I don't want people to keep coming back and thinking that's the way it was," he said. "I want people to go online, look at the Boston Globe and say, 'What a beautiful picture.'"

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