Friday 3 April 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, April 3, 2020

Maybe poignant or maybe just affectionate but hard to resist, Amr Abdullah Dalsh’s picture of a zookeeper trying to entertain a chimpanzee by touching her hand, especially when the zoo has been closed to help prevent social contact and the spread of the coronavirus. This picture would not work if the background wasn’t clean and out of focus. Read on here.

Zoo keeper Mohamed Aly touches the hand of a chimpanzee called ‘Jolia’ as she reaches through the cage bars after Giza Zoo was closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, April 2, 2020.   REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh 

As far as the eye can see there is organised chaos in Afolabi Sotunde’s rather disturbing image of people fleeing Abuja. At first, I thought the colour was slightly off, then it dawned on me, it’s probably the fumes from the miles of queuing vehicles. Read on here.

A traffic gridlock is seen as people attempt to rush out of Abuja, following efforts by the authorities trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria match 30, 2020.   REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde 

 Bleached of almost all colour and like a cutaway in a film noir, Mike Hutchings’s picture has captured a terrific moment that to me sums up South Africa’s pending lockdown. Heavy dark shadows appear to chase the man across the street, the triangle of black in the bottom left of the frame trying to make a flanking movement to trap him. The trees and the fence on the right of the image rush from top to bottom to cut him off. 

A man crosses the deserted Strand Street on the 4th day of a 21 day lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in central Cape Town, March 30, 2020.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings  

I am very drawn to Luc Gnago’s slightly surreal image of people standing in the road. Not only are the figures dotted about in different zones like a choreographed dance, their actions are almost mirrored on either side of the red truck. I like being zoomed into the tiny figures by the position of the feet of the police officer on the right and the white road markings.

Health workers take the temperature of truckers with infrared digital laser thermometers as they drive into Abidjan, after Ivorian authorities isolated the city from other cities due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Luc Gnago 

 Khaled Abdullah’s picture is quiet, subtle and pleasing to the eye. Then, if looked at carefully, it  offers a message. Your eye initially jumps to the seated figure in grey past the covered figure in the foreground. You then step back visually to look at the whole room, people all wearing black all keeping social distance. It’s only then, if you take the time to look, you spot the raised hands of the tutor. We can only guess what she is saying, but I would lay odds she is stressing the need to wash hands.  

An instructor addresses volunteers for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) awareness campaign in preparation for any possible spread of the disease in Sanaa, Yemen March 28, 2020.   REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah  

There is no way a big red triangle against a black background will not catch your eye. Add text to that red triangle and put silhouetted figures in the foreground, as Mohamed Abd El Ghany has done, and you will have a combination that is irresistible.  

People are seen in front of the pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the Giza pyramid complex, illuminated with text encouraging people to stay at home, as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow down the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, March 30, 2020.   REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany  

There is no escaping the rather indignant look on this man’s face as he is tested for the coronavirus in Ahmed Jadallah’s picture. The temptation might have been to crop it tighter but I like the fact that is has been shot wide so you can see the car. The car space is often private, where you can be alone with your thoughts and habits, but here you have a man in rubber gloves and a mask reaching into this space, poking a stick up the driver’s nose in a momentary but necessary intrusion.    

A member of the medical staff wearing protective gloves takes a swab from a man during drive through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing at a screening entre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates March 30, 2020.    REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah 

What makes Ronen Zvulun’s picture a little bit special is not so much the action - the man being frogmarched down the road - but the reaction. In terms of composition it nice that all three are in step and you can see both policemen, but its real strength is the hand to mouth gestures of those watching. Especially when you consider this is something we are all being told not to do in order not to catch the disease.     

Israeli police detain an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man during scuffles as police enforce a partial lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mea Shearim neighbourhood of Jerusalem March 30, 2020.   REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun   

Ammar Awad used the tough light to its best advantage to shoot an affectionate picture of people exercising while in self-isolation. The strong shadow zigzags around the small carpet following the line of its edges so it doesn’t bisect the picture, causing a horrid visual distraction. Would I like a hint of space above the fingers, yes I would but I wont let my personal pet hate of cropped off fingers and toes spoil my enjoyment. Read on here for the rest of this story.  

Palestinian father Victor Anton Sara. 41, exercises with his children Anton, 11, Elie, 6, Silva, 5 while observing a partial lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at their home in Jerusalem March 25, 2020.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad  

What a wonderful image by Thierry Gouegnon that looks like it’s from a TV cookery program from years gone by. The composition is wonderfully balanced, the woman’s head tilted to lean into the picture. the woman carefully placed in the ‘studio’ setting decorated to give it that homely feel, picture on the wall, a hanging drum, the fan and the wooden furniture. Whatever this woman is making, for sure you want some. 

Pipi Rose Edhit Loukou, 41, fills bottles of homemade liquid soap in the restaurant amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Palmeraie neighbourhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast April 1, 2020.  REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon  

The flash of momentary violence frozen in a picture captivates the attention as you have time to study the expressions on the faces of those nearby. This is especially true in Njeri Mwangi’s picture as the background is clean and flat, so no visual distractions. Is that anger, pain or fear in the woman’s face? And what of the body language and expressions of those in the background? Flight? Concern? Unaware?   

A government official uses a whip to attempt to disperse people who gathered to access relief food rations amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nairobi, Kenya, Aril 2, 2020.   REUTERS/Njeri Mwangi   

Reuters photographers globally worked on a conceptual project to show the empty streets at exactly midday on March 31, but it was important to show a timepiece in every image. It is hard to chose a single picture as the project threw up so many different ideas. But I think I have to select Alaa al-Marjani’s image, because I like the fact he has the clock face in sunlight set against shadows of the empty street, not easily done given it’s midday. Have a look at the whole project here  

A man holds a pocket watch at noon, as he shows the time while posing for a photo at an almost empty market near the Imam Ali shrine, during the coronavirus disease (CODID-19) outbreak in Najaf, Iraq, March 31, 2020.   REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani  

Mohamed Azakir has used a picture on a wall to create a new picture, often not my favourite way to make images but in this case, I think it works really well. Mohamed has timed his picture perfectly as the woman walks past so that her head is perfectly placed to appear like a mask over Arafat’s face. The woman’s face is masked too, for fears about the novel coronavirus in the Palestinian refugee camps. Read on here    

A woman covering her face walks past a poster depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Beirut suburbs, Lebanon March 30, 2020.    REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir  

 A thoughtful and powerful image by Siphiwe Sibeko. At first glance it is a normal everyday scene of a young boy excitedly pulling his mum along. The steps of their apartment and the joined hands forming a wonderful diagonal through the image. It’s only when you read the caption you discover the water is sewerage and they are in lockdown.     

A woman and children cross though sewage water at Madala Men’s hostel during a 21-day lockdown to try to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Alexandra, South Africa April 1, 2020.   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko 


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