Friday 16 March 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa March 16, 2018

I have included two pictures from Omar Sanadiki as they have thrown up a conflict in my mind. Is the picture of the sleeping baby in the suitcase too ‘cute’ to portray what is going on in Syria? Or does it humanise a situation that many have become visually numb to, to the extent that you can just gloss over pictures like the one of people fleeing seen below. The latest pictures from Ghouta here.

A child sleeps in a bag in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria March 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki 

People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria March 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Khalil Ashawi’s picture of fighters walking up a road gives me the real sense of the growing advance of the army. I think this is achieved by the gradual growing in scale of the troops spaced along the road, from small figures in the distance to larger ones in the foreground. The curve of the road on the horizon leads the eye to trees that are planted in such a way that it also gives me a sense of more military reserves. See more from the battle for Afrin here

Turkish backed Free Syrian Army fighters walk together in the north east of Afrin, Syria March 16, 2018.   REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Mohamed Torokman’s picture is perfectly timed; the swing of the sling at full stretch, the swirl of tear gas surrounds the protestor leaving just enough of a clear view for us to see his profiled face, his eyes firmly fixed on the target. This all captured in a good example of classic thirds composition.

A Palestinian demonstrator returns a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes at a protest against Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 16, 2018.  REUTERS/Mohamed Torokman

The cold, quiet expression on the faces of the children in Bassam Khabieh’s picture really haunts me. Maybe it’s the mixture of the reflections in the dirty glass which slightly distort their features, the distant look in the eyes of the children, left and right, or my attention being held by the stare by the girl in the middle.

Children look through a bus window during evacuation from the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria march 13, 2018.   REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

A slightly surreal vision of a man driving sheep through destroyed streets,  photographed by Bassam Khabieh, caught my eye this week. It’s a quiet image, but a scene that I’d expect to see in the countryside and not in the rubble of a war-torn town.  

A man walks with a herd of sheep in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 11, 2018.   REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh 

Okay, another secret is out. I do like cricket and like good pictures of cricket even more. Mike Hutchings’ image of batsman AB de Villiers attacking the ball is full of tension. Everything is just about to happen, the whole image is moving from left to right. De Villiers’ foot is just an inch off the ground, his arms and legs are in classic action forming strong triangles, and all eyes on the ball as the bat is swung to drive it away. Mike has chosen his place to sit carefully as the background is clean, highlighting the action. 

South Africa’s AB de Villiers in action during the Second test again against Australia in St George’s park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa march 12, 2018.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Like an Aladdin’s cave of treasure I am drawn into Mohamed Abd El Ghany’s wonderfully busy, noisy, hot, glittering picture of a market in Cairo. You can smell the spices and feel the heat of the night and crush of people. Your eye darts about, looking for a place to settle, without finding a single focal point. Just like in busy markets anywhere is the world, you don’t know where to look next. 

People shop at Al Ataba, a popular market in central Cairo, Egypt, march 13, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

These boys are using tablets to learn, although perhaps not what Steve Jobs would have liked them to use. I hope that you enjoy Ayman al-Sahili’s warm and affectionate picture as much as I do. Not only is it a well-composed picture, I just love all those triangle shapes, it conveys a warm sense of boys having fun and learning.  

Boys use large wooden plants as they memorize Islam’s holy Koran in Misrata, Libya March 13, 2018.  REUTERS/Ayman al-Sahili

I think the pelican is a strange-looking bird. So take a pelican from its natural habitat at the water’s edge to a poor housing area. Add to the scene a boy playing with it and another playing a flute-like instrument only just encroaching into the left hand side of the frame. Throw in splashes of primary colour, red yellow and blue. And, as a final element add photographer Zohra Bensemra and her magical ability to capture moments and you end up with a beautiful and intriguing picture.

A boy plays with pelican in Yoff commune in Dakar, Senegal, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Sheer joy sums up what I feel about Olivia Acland’s picture. What creates this joy? To me it’s the man’s face is alight with expression and highlighted detail; perfect white teeth and catch light in his eyes, cheeks and chin line with a background of a sea of hands going up in celebration. 

People gesture as they show their support for the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) Party outside the party’s headquarters in Freetown, Sierra Leone, March 13, 2018.  REUTERS/Olivia Acland

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