Friday 20 July 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East & Africa July 20, 2018

I can’t decide if Amir Cohen is lucky or unlucky to be close enough to an Iron Dome missile system to capture its launch during a mortar attack, but either way it’s a striking picture. What adds to the strength of this image is that the photographer was quick enough to not only capture the missile’s launch but keep in the frame an equally lucky/unlucky person to give it scale and drama.  

An Israeli man looks on as Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon July 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Amir Cohen

No less striking a moment is captured by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa’s picture of an airstrike in Gaza on the same day as the Iron Dome launch. The ball of fire and great plumes of smoke are see in the terrifying context of city buildings all around. Stepping away from the actual news story that this was the worse exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza since 2014, and looking at this in pure visual terms, like the dark shapes in the foreground, it gives it scale and places it in a city. I did have a look at a tighter crop of the ball of fire as a focal point of the picture but think at the end of the day the wider image tells the story better. What do you think?   

An explosion is seen following an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza City July 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

An editor’s crop has transformed Philimon Bulawayo’s picture from vertical to  horizontal but also removed wasted white space at the top, drawing your eye to Chamisa’s face and the outstretched hands. What you do lose is the sense of the enormous crowds and the people who have climbed the pylon in the background. For my money I like the tighter crop. You may differ. 

Zimbabwe’s opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa is greeted by supporters at a rally at Sakubva stadium in Mutare, Zimbabwe, July 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Sometimes you look and look at a picture and think something is a little out of place but can’t quite put your finger on what. Thomas Mukoya’s picture is one such image. The harsh light creates a complex set of shapes and colours, the hat, silhouetted figures, the pink shirt with writing on it you can’t make out and the tents, all make it hard for the eye to settle. Then slowly it dawns: the US flags have been attached to their poles back to front.  

Residents wave the U.S. national flag as the chant slogans as they walk along the road prior to the visit by former U.S. president Barack Obama to his ancestral home, Nyangoma Kogelo village, in Siaya county, western Kenya, July 16, 2018.   REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Siphiwe Sibeko’s picture breaks all the rules. You have a flat line that cuts the image in half, top to bottom; large empty black spaces; faces looking out of the frame so close to the edge of the picture you sense they are going to bump their heads. And yet it works wonderfully. 

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture, marking the centenary of the anti-apartheid leader’s birth in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

 We encourage photographers when they are shooting a story to make sure to include a detail picture. In my mind a detail picture is an image of something small that might easily go unseen but is quite revealing. It doesn’t have to be a closeup but often it is. Ari Jalal’s picture is quite abstract when you look at it in its entirety and turns the notion of detail on its head. You see a wide picture, horizonal line cutting the image in half with two slabs of toned colour, a ‘button’ casting a shadow in the top centre and small patches of colour. You have to look closely to see the patches of colour are hand prints and signatures of patients. Now you take the time to look at each of the hand prints and try to read the writing of each individual’s story.  

A mural of painted hands and messages from wounded people, who have recovered and have been discharged from the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Mosul, Iraq, July 10, 2018.   REUTERS/Ari Jalal

One can only imagine the feelings you must have as a father hugging your daughters after being separated for 18 years, but Tiksa Negeri captures this moment forever. A very quiet image that needs a caption to explain it but you immediately get a sense of the powerful and tight embrace, as his daughters are held close and tight, their faces pressed to his chest. When you look into the shadows of the image, its real beauty comes alive, the sisters looking into each other’s tear-stained eyes, one with her hand on her father’s chest, just inside his jacket, where she can feel his heart beat. The lines on his face speak to me of years of worry and separation. You can see more heart-warming pictures from Asmara here

Adisalem Abu, reacts as he embraces his daughters, after meeting them for the first time in eighteen years at the Asmara International Airport after Ethiopian Airlines flight ET314 arrived in Asmara, Eritrea July 18, 2018.   REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

The woman in the blue head scarf in Khalil Ashawi’s picture looks like she is frozen in time. Her mind and eyes are a thousand miles away, her sleeping baby is held close. Even though the picture is busy with the swirl of activity around her, your eye is drawn to the central point of her face. You are not distracted by the boy in the blue shirt, the white highlight to the left or the purple head scarf, you just keep coming back to that face.   

People are evacuated from the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, Syria, July 19, 2018.   REUTERS/Khail Ashawi

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