Friday, 23 October 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, October 23, 2020

During the daylight hours before darkness in which protesters were gunned down in the streets Temilade Adelaja was out photographing the demonstrations. Her picture conveys a sense of nervousness, that static you feel in the ions of the atmosphere before violence breaks out. Everyone is looking in different ways as if they are watching for something, holding hands in solidarity, giving one another strength. Read on here for this fast-developing story.  

Demonstrators hold hands as they gather near the Lagos State House, despite a round-the-clock curfew imposed by the authorities on the Nigerian state of Lagos in response to protests against alleged police brutality, Nigeria October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Ramzi Boudina has captured a wonderful moment of happiness and joy. Belly laughs all around for these women as they rock back and forth. Your eye is led through the image from the centrally placed woman with her arms up, through the rows of beautifully dressed spectators to the drums in the rear then back down to the bottom right corner. From here the woman’s eyeline takes us back up again into the crowd, like a Mexican wave. Read on here.

Women spectators cheer during a match in an annual local soccer tournament played by an all women teams, at the village of Sahel, in the mostly Berber Kabylie region in the mountains east of Algiers, Algeria October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina 

With what looks like something right out of a Wim Wenders playbook, Siphiwe Sibeko manages to create a powerful picture to illustrate a story that has not yet beguand that is taking place in a landscape full of emptiness. Photographing something that is not yet happening is not easy. Taking advantage of the clear skies and open horizon, Siphiwe waited for the police to walk onto the ‘stage’ he has created by getting low on the ground. 

Police officers stand guard as they set up a roadblock at the entrance of the small town of Senekal, ahead of Friday's appearance of two suspects for the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner, in Senekal, in the Free State province, South Africa, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

There is a starkness about Ammar Awad’s picture that, to me, is quite chilling although I am not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the coldness of the whites and blues of the full PPE, set against the reds of the ambulance door? Maybe it’s the empty space on the left? Or maybe the tiny glimpse of the bandaged foot on the stretcher?    

Medical staff move a patient from an ambulance at a hospital entrance, as Israel began easing the second nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Jerusalem October 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Time to relax and Amr Abdallah Dalsh provides us with the perfect setting. The ripples in the water lead up from the cool blues of the water to the mountain ridges and then up to the warmth of the evening skies. Drift away, relax and sleep, like the figure in water.   

An Egyptian man swims in a lake in front of Taghaghien Island Resort in Egypt's Western Desert, during the activation of domestic tourism after the government cancelled the celebration of the Siyaha peace festival, or the 'Peace festival', amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Siwa Oasis, west of the Egyptian capital, Egypt October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh 

Mixed messages in terms of social distancing in Mohamed Abd El Ghany’s picture of the start of school. As far as the eye can see boys are wearing masks and most are covering noses and mouths. It’s worth taking the time to look for uncovered faces andrewarding as they are, it’s the close proximity that may be worrying in a time of COVID-19  

Students wearing protective masks attend the first day at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

A clever tilt in the crop by the editor gives Khaled Abdullah’s picture a strong diagonal design that drags us from one side of the image to the other and back again. The men praying act as a counter to the right to left movement of the men walking and waving. I love the subtle little ‘bracket’ of the raised arm on the extreme left of the picture that curves us back into the image. 

Freed Houthi prisoners pray as they arrive after their release in a prisoner swap, in Sanaa airport, Yemen October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah 

It’s the locked-on eye contact in Baz Ratner’s picture that captures me. She is being brave but is a little scared that the COVID-19 test will be painful, her head is gently but firmly held by the gloved and masked health worker. I really like the contrast of the textures of the smooth and brilliant white PPE against the rough brickwork behind her. Read on here.

A health worker collects a swab sample from a young girl during free mass testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, October 17, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

As an addition a few extra pictures from last week that I didn’t want to miss out  

A demonstrator in underwear carries a hairdryer and a megaphone during a protest over alleged police brutality, in Lagos, Nigeria October 14, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Photographer Mohammed Asad documents a Palestinian spear-fisherman who holds a fish while diving underwater in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip, October 8, 2020. Picture taken October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

An employee works at the main control room of Saline Water Conversion Corporation's Ras al-Khair Power and Desalination Plant in Ras al-Khair, Saudi Arabia, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed 

A schoolgirl stands next to the Kenya-Uganda railway line during the partial reopening of schools, after the government scrapped plans to cancel the academic year due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Rickshaw taxis drive past the Salaam Somali Bank in Wadajir district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 14, 2020. REUTES/Feisal Omar

Saturday, 10 October 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, October 9, 2020

A striking picture of wild fires in Lebanon from Mohamed Azakir, the silhouetted trees giving a sense of scale against the raging fires and night skies. 

Wildfires burn a forest in Chbaniyeh village, Lebanon October 9, 2020.  REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir 

Thomas Mukoya captures the moment Liban Abdullah Omar reacts to his acquittal of involvement in the Westgate attack. As the tear is wiped away he looks across the picture frame into the space left by the empty seat. This space creates a sense of momentary calm and quiet. I love the way his other hand is delicately holding another tissue. What I would like to make disappear is the white square to the left but crop it out and the image loses its shape. Read on here.  

Liban Abdullah Omar reacts after he was acquitted at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, Kenya October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

We are left in no doubt by Mike Hutching’s picture that this is about – anti-corruption. The black bold letters scream out against the reds of the banners, adding to the noise of the shouting likely coming from the open mouth. In fact this picture is so noisy we hardly notice the quite acute angle of the tilt as Mike composes his frame.    

Members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) carry placards as the take part in a nationwide strike over issues including corruption and job losses in Cape Town, South Africa, October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings 

Zohra builds her picture up by using the framing of the black gates, the centrally placed minaret and a low angle to let the figures play into the stage she has composed. This feeling of stage may also be enhanced by the bright reds, greens and yellows worn by the “actors” as they move into the setting.    

A faithful stands with hand sanitiser at the entrance of the Great Mosque as hundreds of thousands of Senegalese Mouride Brotherhood pilgrims gather for the annual Grand Magal festival, as the global spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in the holy city of Touba, Senegal October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

You have to work hard to look into the shadows of Essam al-Sudani’s picture through the glare of the flames to see what is going on. Once you do, you are a little too visually exhausted to be met with the sad vision of three boys playing in the fumed-filled air among the rubbish on the ground.  

Children play with flames rising from oil refinery pipes in the background in Basra, Iraq July 23, 2020.  REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani 

As far as the eye can see bricks and more bricks make up a smoky, desolate landscape captured by Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen. The sun beats down to bleach all colour from the picture as we are drawn to the single focal point of the figure labouring away, with that set between the two other secondary features in the picture, the chimneys spewing smoke.  

An Iraqi labourer works as a brick factory's chimney belches out smoke in Najaf, Iraq September 22, 2020. Picture taken September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen

Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen captures the momentarily upturned face of the boy whose mouth takes the shape of the Melpomene, the muse of tragedy mask, but the image is buried in the mass of swirling mass of arms, faces, reds and blacks. Once you spot him it’s hard to look away: even as the eye is distracted by the beauty of the lights in the background, you are drawn back to his face again.  

Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims take part in a mourning ceremony, ahead of the holy Shi'ite ritual of Arbaeen, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kerbala, Iraq, October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen

Two things strike me immediately about Muhammad Hamed’s wonderful picture; the stoic nature of what looks like lonely work and the greyness of the classroom devoid of students. But this initial impression of loneliness and grey quickly disappears when we look at her face, the energy of her teaching of what looks like trigonometry. You can then imagine the children all at home watching online. And on the subject of angles and shapes, we are drawn by the  arc of the projector cable from one side of the picture through her arm to the pen poised on the white board. 

A private-school teacher gives an online lesson to students receiving distance education, amid fears of a rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Amman, Jordan October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 

Who can resist an image that has bright orange and yellow flames reflected in a black pool of water with the additional focal point of a cloaked figure poised mid-step? Not me. A visual treat from Afolabi Sotunde that delights us with moment, colour and composition. The story behind this powerful image is not so delightful as we learn of energy waste and pollution. Read on here

A reflection of two gas flaring furnaces and a woman walking on sand barriers is seen in the pool of oil-smeared water at a flow station in Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Bolts and padlocks add a literal sense to coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in Mohammed Salem’s thoughtfully shot picture of food being delivered. Timing is all important to get the figure at the centre of the smallest of gaps and it’s not an easy one to expose for either.   

A worker is seen through an opening in a school door as he carries a sack of flour distributed by UNRWA to be delivered to a Palestinian family amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gaza City October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem