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Friday, 12 June 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, June 12, 2020

Although the figures are kneeling, masked, socially distanced and some with heads bowed, there is no escaping the power and anger in the clenched fist that punches into the blue sky in Zohra Bensemra’s picture. To me this combination of order and anger is also echoed in the hand-written sign that spells out BLACK LIVES MATTER, the letters in capitals and alternatively coloured black and red. You can see more pictures from the global protests over the death of George Floyd here

Senegalese kneel during a Black Lives Matter gathering following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, in Dakar, Senegal June 9, 2020. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra 

There is a brutality and starkness in Siphiwe Sibeko’s picture that is captured in full direct sunlight. We are left in no doubt what is going on. It’s tightly cropped and vertically composed, and we are more than a little horrified to see a rhino’s horn being lopped off with a power saw. The position of the hand and the horn make it look like a trophy being lifted by a winning team captain or maybe a victorious warrior lifting the severed head of his opponent. Although quite sad and another consequence of the coronavirus, it’s not as bad as it seems, so read on here. 

Workers dehorn a tranquillised rhino in an effort to deter poaching, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in North West Province, South Africa, May 12, 2020. Picture taken May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko  

I love pictures that make you take time to look and think what is going on here? as much as pictures that hit you in the face with immediate impact. Both make you stop and look closer to understand, which to me is the power of news photography. Amir Cohen’s picture certainly makes you askwhat is going on here?” Why the apparent adoration from people wearing glowing headphones for a man, who is wearing a face mask while walking his dog down a street? In the background another man is wearing a flared all-in-one, orange, blue and yellow jump suit. Again, why?

A man wears a mask and walks his dog past people taking part in a silent disco event as some businesses reopened at the end of last month under a host of new rules, following weeks of shutdown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 4, 2020. Picture taken June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen 

Muhammad Hamed’s picture is simple but very eye-catching, with rich, strong reds distorted by shimmering silver. We are given enough information through the distortion that this is a man wearing a mask cleaning, and because the water distortion fills the whole frame it feels like he is cleaning everything in the world.  

A worker cleans a window of a cafe before reopening it to the public for the first time since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Amman, Jordan June 6, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 

I feel I am being looked at and judged by the child painted on the wall in Baz Ratner’s picture. My eye is drawn straight to that face and that fixed stare, a look of expectation that seems to be saying: “What are you going to do?” It’s only after I am visually released that I can come back out of the picture to notice the banners that read ‘Life is Priceless’ and then finally the demonstrators matching past.   

Protesters hold placards during a demonstration against police killings and brutality, in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner 

The structure and composition of Khaled Abdullah’s tightly cropped picture echo the crammed full cheek of the man chewing qat. Neither the image nor his cheek can fit in another morsel. Khaled’s tight frame inspired me to look to see what would happen if this was cropped even tighter as I am so interested in the focal point of the crammed full cheek. I think at the end of the day I prefer the original shape. Read on here. 

People chew qat, a mild stimulant, at a fruit market amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanaa, Yemen June 1, 2020. Picture taken June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah 

People chew qat, a mild stimulant, at a fruit market amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanaa, Yemen June 1, 2020. Picture taken June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah 

The strength of Amir Cohen’s picture is that I get an immediate narrative in my head, maybe actual or maybe just imagined? What indignity in the eye of this captured bird in picture! I feel I am being told, “Okay I will stop struggling now as you have got me but I don’t like it.” I Imagine it was quite a struggle because if you look close enough you can see the blood on the fingers. Once that is noticed the beak looks much sharper and that look in the eye now says “You better watch out when you do let go. Read on here as this is quite a wonderful and affectionate story. 


A conservationist holds the head of a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured as part of a national project to protect and increase the population of the protected bird in Israel, at a makeshift data-collecting station near Sde Boker in southern Israel October 29, 2019. Picture taken October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Siphiwe Sibeko has captured the joining hands in prayer, but not quite, as the faithful follow the social distancing guidelines while they attend Church in an open field. Bending down to shoot his picture, Siphiwe has given his picture the symbol of a cross created by outstretched arms against the clear blue sky. I also love the dynamic space created between the woman’s right hand and the hand that comes in from the right, nearly touching but not quite.

Congregants of the Inhlanhla Yokuphila Apostolic Church In Zion practice social distancing as they attend a church service at an open field, as South Africa loosens a nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Soweto, South Africa, June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko 

  




   




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