Saturday 11 April 2020

Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, April 10, 2020

The technique of before and after images published as a combination picture has been used extensively to help illustrate the impact the lockdown has had on events and family life. Ammar Awad’s image is partially striking not only as normally the street would be so crowded as it’s from such an important date on the Christian calendar but also because he has taken such care to get the ‘after’ image in the exactly the same position as the ‘before’ image, not easy to do.  Read on here.

A combination picture shows worshippers carrying crosses during a Good Friday Procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s Old City April 6, 2018 (top) and the same spot on Good Friday April 10, 2020, as stringent steps are taken to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

In Ramzi Boudina’s picture the tranquility of the calm blue sea is broken by a single person splashing into it. It feels to me as though the silence of the lockdown is broken by the visual noise of this action. I also like the diamond shape of the boy’s body that is central in the compositional oval created by the curve of the beach in the distance and the rocks and vignette shadow in the foreground. 

A boy plays in the water at a beach during a lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Algiers, Algeria April 4, 2020.    REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina 

It’s the defiant gesture in the flick of the hand that is the strength of Luc Gnago’s image: you get the sense the protester is just not concerned what the security forces will do, he is passionate about his cause. In terms of the image itself the temptation might be to crop it much tighter to accentuate the hand, keeping the flames, smoke and shack in the background and bringing up the bottom.  But then you’d lose the detail of the demonstrator with his face painted white, whose almost casual stance seems to bring even more menace to the picture. Read on here

Residents protest after ransacking a half built makeshift hospital for the treatment of those suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the say its location is too close to a local community in Yopougon, Abidjan, Ivory Coast April 6, 2020.   REUTERS/Luc Gnago 

Abubaker Lubowa has shot a very busy picture. No matter where you look or how deep into the image you look, soldiers can be seen working hard at their task. What is especially terrific is the timing in Luc’s picture; nothing in the foreground cuts off the shapes and activity in the mid distance or background. A final nice touch is the giant hand in the ground seems to be reaching out to catch a tiny white sack of food that is being thrown off the truck. 

Members of Local Defence Unit (LDU) offload relief food during a distribution exercise to civilians affected by the lockdown, as part of the measures to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kampala, Uganda, April 4, 2020.  REUTERS Abubaker Lubowa

A wonderfully thoughtful picture built up of clever shapes, strong lines, and bright colours by Francis Kokoroko, which captures a girl who seems quiet in her own pensive thoughts. It takes a little time to work out the abstract shape occupies a third of the image in the foreground, but once you recognize it is a face in the mask it all makes sense. The yellow counters the red to balance the picture, that then allows your eye to settle on the girl’s face.   

A girl sits after receiving goods from volunteers during food and water distribution to the underprivileged and homeless as Ghana enforces partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Accra, Ghana April 4, 2020.   REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 

It was too hard not to include a second image from Francis Kokoroko from the same place. He uses a similar technique of filling his image with abstract out of focus shapes to drive the focus of his picture directly to the fearful eyes of the man covering his face with his shirt as he waits for aid. 

A man covers his face as he waits to receive goods from volunteers during food and water distribution to the underprivileged and homeless as Ghana enforces partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Accra, Ghana April 4, 2020.   REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

If it were not for the technology needed to capture and view Ammar Awad’s timeless picture there is nothing in it that could not have been seen 1,000 years ago. The covered figure in grey cloth blends into the muted colours of the age-worn pillars, doors and stone steps to give us what could be a glance into the past.     

A man stands in front of the closed doors of the church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jerusalem’s old city April 10, 2020.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

A dynamic bisection of her picture by Hanaa Habib makes us wonder what is going on in this yellow brown detail-less brutalist image. Any other composition and you might just move on uninterested. It’s only the door frames that give you a sense of scale and then finally, as you peer through the gloom of the sandstorm with gritted teeth, you see a figure on the balcony. Like the woman on her balcony you can now probably also almost taste the sand in the air.         

A woman watches a stand storm from her balcony in Cairo, Egypt April 5, 2020.   REUTERS/Hanaa Habib  

Who can resist the horizontal compositional classic thirds, a splash of red set against blues and greys, a pony tail caught perfectly so it cuts across the horizon and the eye to eye contact in Muhammed Hamed’s picture. Not me, for sure. Enjoy. Read on here.

Hadeel Alami, A Jordanian judo practitioner, trains with a wooden ladder at home during the curfew imposed by the government amid concerns of the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Amman Jordan, April 9, 2020.   REUTERS/ Muhammed Hamed

Everything about Anne Mimault’s picture says hard work and struggle to me. Framed in parched setting a woman struggles with cart, the position of her feet giving us the visual clue to the weight of the water in the drum. It’s only when we read the caption that we know that the taps in the picture are not working, leaving us to imagine the distance this woman has to struggle with her load. Read on here.

A woman pushes a barrel filled with water brought by her from a privately-owned water tower as she passes broken public water taps, amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Taabtenga district of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso April 3, 2020.    REUTERS/Anne Mimault 

The calm before the storm? Baz Ratner’s perfectly mirrored image of a field hospital certainly feels like it, and I get the sense I am holding my breath when I look at it. I think the reason this picture works so well and gives us this feeling is the lone figure sitting at her desk, her head tilted to the side, with her face mask the only detail we can really see. Without this person the image would not work with such strength. 

A medical staff member waits at the yet to be sued field hospital to treat the expected large number of patients due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Kenya, Nairobi, April 9, 2020.   REUTERS/Baz Ratner

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