Friday 17 July 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, July 17, 2020

There is something childishly wonderful about watching people get soaked but not as wonderful as intentionally getting soaked yourself. I dare you not to smile at Mike Hutchings pictures. The sea foam looks almost like drifting snow but Mike has left a sliver of background at the top of the frame so we get a sense of the power and scale of the wave crashing in.  

People are drenched by sea spray thrown up by huge swells as a cold front moves in over Cape Town, South Africa, July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings 

I could not resist adding a second frame from the same scene as I love the way the wave is backlit so it looks like an alien reaching out to consume a hapless human. Move over Ridley Scott and James Cameron, there’s a new boy in town. 

People watch spray thrown up by huge swells as a cold front moves in over Cape Town, South Africa, July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings 

A captured moment by Mohamed Abd El Ghany as a young woman adjusts her veil in a mirror, or is she looking at herself? It’s a shy look with a catch light in her eye that draws us to that glance as her hands gently adjust the garment. Once you ease away from that look you are enveloped in the richness and depth of the gold, blue, red and green colours all warmed up under artificial lighting.    

Sudanese refugee, Hamida Abdallah, fixes her veil in front of a mirror at her apartment in Ain Shams district, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19, in Cairo, Egypt, July 7, 2020. Picture taken July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany 

Ammar Awad’s picture is crammed full of faces, hands and reds and is more than a little claustrophobic to look at. Pirates, clowns, gloves and masks all fill the space, vying for attention, and the longer you look the hotter the temperature seems to get in this busy, crowded picture.  

Israelis protest against the government's response to the financial fallout of the coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) crisis at Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel July 11, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

With an initial glance, Baz Ratner has produced a semi-formal environmental portrait of proud, traditionally dressed people looking directly at us through the lens, set against a clean background. But look again, peering around a corner is the smiling face of another, watching the scene unfold, breaking the formality of the moment with an almost cheeky glance. And look even deeper, a backward glance of a strikingly dressed passerby also catches our eye. Read on here.  

A family from the Turkana tribe pose for a picture in the village of Lorengippi near the town of Lodwar, Turkana county, Kenya July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner 

 A very nicely seen picture by Temilade Adelaja as we get an insight into the records department through the open doorway. Soft light and warm colours leave us with the feeling that this is a pleasant place to work. Maybe it’s not the light and colours that leave us with that impression but a sense of a bygone age, no computer on the desk, calm worker with pen on paper, neatly stacked files on the bookshelf at the rear and the sign above the door that states very clearly that this is the RECORD DEPARTMENT. Read on here. 

A woman wearing a protective mask works at the record department of the Primary Healthcare Centre, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lagos, Nigeria May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja 

 Hang on, something’s missing in Mike Hutchings’ picture. The shoulders look right and the hands are well placed to support the weight of the head. The pattern of the stonework replaces the eyes and the curve of the arch replaces the imaginary top line of the head as the mind’s eye struggles to recreate what is missing: the head of the statue. Read on here. 

A damaged bust of Cecil John Rhodes, a controversial figure in the history of South Africa, is seen after the statue had been vandalised and had the head removed in Cape Town, South Africa, July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings 

 Essam Al-Sudani has produced one of the most moving and sad set of images I have seen for quite some time: a child cancer ward impacted by coronavirus disease COVID-19. Many of the images appear without hope at all as parents sit with gravely ill children. This single image really jumped out at me as there is no escaping the faraway look in this mother’s eye as she looks out of the window. We can only imagine what she is thinking, her thoughts uninterrupted by her child, who is bound tightly in swaddling and silent. Read on here. 

An Iraqi woman wearing a protective mask carries her baby, who is suffering from cancer, at the Children's Hospital for Cancer Diseases, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Basra, Iraq July 9, 2020.  REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani  

Raneen Sawafta shoots wide and exposes for the highlights so all the shadows fall into darkness, leaving us with the masked face and hand of the dancer surrounded by solid black, with just the tiniest hint of torso. Even the mask doesn’t detract too much from the intensity seen in her face, a feeling created by the downcast eyes.  

A Palestinian girl wearing a mask rehearses for a performance at the Freedom Theatre amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis in Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta  


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