Friday 23 November 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East and Africa November 23, 2018

This surreal picture from Mike Hutchings has caught my eye. No matter how hard you look at it you have no idea what is going on until you read the story. Why is the dog being thrown out of the hole? What is the man doing? And why is the hole in the middle of nowhere – you can see an empty landscape to the far horizon. If this isn’t a ‘click on picture to find out more’ I don’t know what is. 

Suidlander movement spokesman Simon Roche shows a cache of supplies near Van der Kloof, South Africa, October 29, 2018.    REUTERS/Mike Hutchings 

It’s all in the detail. Take a minute to look at the position and timing of all the feet and hands in Muhammad Hamad’s arrival picture. Heels just about to touch red carpet, toes pointing up, each stride a perfect inverted V shape. All this left-to-right movement is countered by the figure on the right reaching out left, with all this captured at the moment when Jordan’s King Abdullah looks up and across to his guest.  

Jordan’s king Abdullah welcomes Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan at Amman military airport, Jordan November 20, 2018.   REUTERS/Muhammed Hamed

A picture of a fishermen casting his net should conjure up thoughts of calm open spaces set in a beautiful seascape. Not so in Thierry Gouegnon’s picture. Even though the moment of casting is beautifully captured, the figures’ reflection is unbroken on the water and the boats are perfectly placed, the image is one of ugliness. A tide of plastic waste reaches up to engulf the fishermen, the grey skies appear heavy with pollution, squeezing the men into a sliver of grey water that seems to be covered with a film of filth and oil.     

Men fish in water just off from a shore line covered in plastic items and other debris in Abidjan, Ivory Coast November 21, 2018.   REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Ammar Awad’s picture is a slow burn, easily overlooked. It’s so busy, with harsh and unforgiving light, that your eye darts about looking for a resting place. But I think that is its strength as you slowly come to realise, through the sea of faces, that it’s a picture of a band playing. Through the visual whirl and heat you begin to hear the instruments: clash clash clash of the cymbals, ting, ting, ting of the percussion instruments on the right, and finally the blare of trumpets. I also have to mention the saluting face on the right, cropped in half – love it. 

Musicians play music during a ceremony to celebrate Prophet Mohammad’s birth anniversary on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem November 20, 2018.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

This is one of those weeks when many of the images from the region are complex in their shape and design and don’t jump easily into my page. As an antidote to that I include Amr Abdallah Dalsh’s picture for its simplicity and strength of graphic shape. 

The sun sets on the minarets and the Great Pyramids of Giza in old Cairo, Egypt November 19, 2018.   REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

For a moment captured it would be hard to beat Amr Abdallah Dalsh’s picture of a falcon catching a hare. True it was shot at an exhibition of falconry, so hardly a moment frozen in the wild. But by being lucky or good, Amr has for sure got the moment. Claws just about to start digging, the falcon’s eyes are focused on its running prey. The hare, its ears still pricked up, is not quite aware that it has been caught. All shot in front of a clean background. I’d like to think that this is all part of the show and the hare is returned to its cage to run another day. But I suspect not and it is just another meal.   

A hunting falcon catches a hare during a celebration by Egyptian clubs and austringers on World Falconry Day at Borg al-Arab desert in Alexandria, Egypt, November 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Amr Abdullah Dalsh 

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