Friday 19 October 2018

A week in Pictures Middle East & Africa October 19, 2018

The chaos of a bomb blast can best be appreciated alongside a scene of ordinary daily life, especially when it’s the same exact spot, a year earlier. Feisal Omar’s powerful before and after pictures take the viewer from the devastation of Somalia’s blasts to a street scene you can quite easily imagine walking or driving along. It makes you think, ‘that could have been me’. See the whole series here. 

A combination picture of a file photo (top) showing Somali Armed Forces evacuating an injured colleague from the scene of an explosion in KM4 street in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 14, 2018 and traffic flowing in the same place along KM4 street almost a year later, October 10, 2018.   REUTERS/Feisal Omar

I include two pictures from Suhaib Salem to demonstrate the importance of employing different styles to give the overall file pace and depth. The first image is ‘in your face’, fraught with passion and action. The whole visual focus sends you immediately to the woman’s screaming face. The eye line and the faces of the people in the background, hands reaching in. and the two inward looking faces of the women left and right keep you looking and looking, no escape from her distress. 

A relative of Palestinian gunman Naji al-Zaneen, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, reacts during his funeral in the northern Gaza strip October 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

The second image from Suhaib takes longer to ‘see’ but is no less powerful. It has a strong compositional flow, driven by the eye line of the weeping child on the bottom left and moving like a wave that reaches its crest with the woman in blue and then falls away to the crying child on the right. As you take the time to look from face to face, the sadness grows like a wave gathering its height. The immediate impact of the first picture and the slow build of the second are powerful storytelling combination.   

Relatives of Palestinian gunman Naji al-Zaneen, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, mourn during his funeral in the northern Gaza strip October 17, 2018.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

What is not clear from Newton Nambwaya’s picture is if this coffin is being carried by a villager who has lost a family member or a rescue worker. I suppose that doesn’t really matter as the task at hand is just as precarious. I feel real apprehension for this person carrying the awkward load of the empty coffin across a makeshift bridge. What I am also struggling to understand is why the others are just watching and not helping?

A man crosses the Sume river carrying an empty coffin on his head after a landslide rolled down the slopes of Mt. Elgon through their village of Wanjenwa in Bududa district, Uganda, October 13, 2018.  REUTERS/Newton Nambwaya

If you have read my post before you will know just how much pleasure I get when an editor’s crop changes a good picture into a great picture. A perfect example of this is Mohamed Torokman’s picture from the West Bank cropped by Suhaib Salem. Both pictures were moved to the wire, the wider version giving the action context, but the tight crop, wham! What emotion! This picture leads Reuters global ‘picture of the week’ that you can see here. 

A Palestinian man argues with an Israeli soldier during clashes over an Israeli order to shut down a Palestinian school near Nablus in the occupied west bank October 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

I am very attracted to Omar Sanadiki’s picture from the Syria-Jordan border, not only because of the symmetry of the converging lines of perspective that race to the vanishing point in the distance but also because of the splash of a filled-in shell crater in front of the car. The pothole is a reminder of the fighting that took place in this area only weeks ago. 

A civilian car from Jordan passes into Syria at the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria October 15, 21018.   REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Corinna Kern’s simple detail picture raises so many questions when you first see it. First, it’s beautifully lit, you can see details of the aging skin and veins on well-manicured hands, the nails perfectly painted a deep red. The jewelry, except for the bracelet on the right hand, looks a little out of place as it’s quite heavy and dark on the delicate hands. Maybe its worn for a memory attached to it?  The watch looks expensive (but I am no expert) and maybe not worn every day as it doesn’t look like a practical timepiece. Some of the questions are answered by the caption, but then the information sets off other trains of thought. Maybe some more answers here.

A Holocaust survivor waits for the beginning of the annual Holocaust survivor’s beauty pageant in Haifa, Israel October 14, 2018.   REUTERS/Corinna Kern

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