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Sunday, 29 September 2019

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, September 27, 2019

It’s rare that a set piece, pool position picture makes an image that will catch my eye.  Normally these staged and heavily controlled events make for cold and functional images that are “for the record”. Not so Toby Melville’s image from South Africa. What attracts me most is the obvious warmth in this picture and as I try to figure out why I get this feeling, my conclusion is the eye contact. Both figures are leaning into each other, intent on listening. Baby Archie is focused on Tutu’s eyes too. The curve of the shoulder line, Meghan’s arms and Tutu’s pocket handkerchief complete a compositional oval that keeps our attention in the centre of the image, with that warm eye contact. You can see more from the tour here.  

Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding her son Archie, meets Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town, in South Africa, September 25, 2019.   REUTERS/Toby Melville

Mohamed Torokman’s picture is black, almost completely abstract and full of menace. Your eyes skip around looking to make sense of what is going on and, after being drawn into the far distance by the light, you are brought sharply back to the hard, curved line of the tyre. It’s then you see the masked face of the protester, your initial sense of tension confirmed. But as you begin to work out what the protester is doing, moving tyres to be burned, you also get a growing feeling of determined calm from him.  

A demonstrator carries tyres to be set on fire during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the Israeli occupied West bank September 23, 2019.   REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Tonally and visually, Mohammed Salem’s picture is very similar to the image above, but the main difference is that your eyes jump immediately to the focal point, the face. And the moment you look at the face, you can’t look elsewhere. The lines of the shadows are intriguing as they cross the man’s face, you focus into the tiny juncture of the corner of his eye as he looks out of the frame and the line of shadow. It looks all very mysterious until you read the caption: he’s doing his laundry!

A Palestinian man sits in his home as laundry hangs to dry in Dier al-balah refugee camp in central Gaza strip September 22, 2019.   RUTERS/Mohammed Salem

A news feature picture by Khaled Abdullah improved, I think, by the little crop to remove the figure on the right who is wearing a high visibility jacket. I hope you agree the crop improves this image by letting your eye be drawn to the dancers’ faces and away from the yellow jacket. Have a look at both the cropped and uncropped versions and see what you think. 

Houthi supporters perform the traditional Baraa dance during a ceremony held to collect supplies for Houthi fighters in Sanaa, Yemen, September 22, 2019.    REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Houthi supporters perform the traditional Baraa dance during a ceremony held to collect supplies for Houthi fighters in Sanaa, Yemen, September 22, 2019.    REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Philimon Bulawayo’s picture is powerful with its simple circular composition shot from above. The ring of the white bucket top echoes the circle of the black well. I like it too that the circle of the grass has been cropped off at the bottom of the picture, the rings giving feeling of ripples on a pond reaching the edge of the water. The woman looks exhausted as she struggles to collect water. 
  
A woman fetches water from a well in Warren Park suburb, Harare, Zimbabwe, September 24, 2019.   REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Mohamed Nureldin’s image is busy and deep, it’s full of action and colour and you are kept busy picking up all the details. The cool of the glass and metal buildings contrasts with the warmth of the colours of the crowd. The harsh light ensures you can never quite make out what is going on, who is holding what flag, which hand belongs to whom and what the people in the background are standing on, but you come away with an overall feeling of peaceful protest.

Protesters attend a rally calling for a stop to killing in Darfur and stability for peace, next to a building in front of the ministry of Justice in Khartoum, Sudan, September 23, 2019.   REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin  

Giant hands envelop a tiny creature, but this image really works for one reason only, the mouth of the turtle is open. If you didn’t get the visual clue of an animal’s head it would be hard to see what is going on, and it would not make any sense. Amir Cohen’s sophisticated use of a very small depth of field ensures that we don’t miss that all important detail. If the mouth was shut and everything was in focus it would look like a grey/black blob being held. You can read on here.

A child holds a newly-hatched baby sea turtle born at a protective nesting site set-up as part of the Israeli Seat Turtle Rescue Centre conservation programme, at a beach near Mikhmoret north of Tel Aviv, Israel September 9, 2019.   REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Eissa Alragehi’s picture is a pleasant, well composed and well-lit portrait of a fresh-faced boy sitting in temporary camp for the displaced. How long does it take you to notice that the boy is missing a leg? When you do notice it comes as shock, and what was a moment ago pleasant is now distressing. Read on here.

Ismail Abdullah, 12, who lost his leg in an air strike two years ago, poses for a picture in his hut in a camp for the internally displaced people in Khamis of Hodeidah province, Yemen August 31, 2019.   REUTERS/Eissa Alragehi


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