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''I was just a normal person before,'' said Ron Olshwanger, a furniture dealer, ''and all I did was take a picture.''

That picture in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch - of a firefighter trying to revive a child - won this year's Pulitzer Prize for spot-news photography. As a result, Mr. Olshwanger's life has been transformed and so has that of the child's family.

Since his prize was announced in March, crews from out-of-town television stations have visited him, radio talk shows all over the country have interviewed him and photographers from all over the world have sent congratulations.

But Mr. Olshwanger, 52 years old, still regards himself as a ''very amateur photographer.'' So he will be uneasy this afternoon, he said, when he and fellow prize winners receive their awards at Columbia University. Sudden Role as Media Star

''I'll be feeling kind of funny that I'm there with these professional people whom I admire tremendously,'' he said. ''I'll wonder what I'm doing there.'' Lending support besides his wife will be a special guest, Adam Long, the firefighter in the picture.

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In a recent telephone interview from St. Louis, Mr. Olshwanger sounded determinedly humble about his pict