Monday 3 December 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East and Africa November 30, 2018

Baz Ratner’s picture has a stark beauty and symmetrical feel that draws you in. You are immediately grabbed by the bright red against the pale tones and you are slightly troubled that you can’t see the eyes. But the figure is relaxed and you the get an overwhelming sense of peace as you explore the image further. It’s then that you notice the carefully manicured beard that has a hint of henna and you become aware of the pale skin tones of a relaxed contestant  preparing for the Mr & Miss Albinism Kenya Beauty Pageant. You can see the full story here

A participant receives beauty treatment before the Mr & Miss Albinism Kenya Beauty Pageant 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, November 30, 2018.   REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Images from the Middle East and Africa are often hard news, drained of colour and tough to look at, so a fun picture of people laughing that is stuffed full of colour caught my eye. Compositionally, Sumaya Hisham’s picture is nothing special. The event has been orchestrated and its news value is pretty low. But look at everyone’s face. They are just enjoying the moment and it’s that captured moment - smiles, eyes, teeth and hands - that makes me feel good. 

Youths pose for a photograph with Britain’s Prince Harry, during his visit to Circus Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia, November 27, 2018.    REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

On the theme of colour, I struggled to choose between two of Zohra Bensema’s pictures so I will share them both. The first is a corridor of clothing, like the wardrobe in C.S Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but much brighter, leading you to the biggest smile of the week, even though it quite small in the frame. The second is composed of blues, yellows, red and purples and the most eclectic set of portraits you can imagine. For the life of me I cannot find a link.  

A woman laughs while she feeds her baby at the corridor of her house in the Newtown neighbourhood of Accra, Ghana November 27, 2018.   REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

A street vendor sits beside her stall in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana November 28, 2018.   REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

In Feisal Omar’s picture your eye is troubled by the chaos of what is going on and cannot quite settle. It might be the colour, the two men larking about, the random criss-crossing of the building structure or even the raw meat hanging from the rack.  It takes a while to get to grips with what is actually going on. These men have set up their butcher’s shop a day after it was destroyed by a bomb blast, so no wonder we feel unsettled.  It’s hard to imagine what they are feeling. 

A butcher hangs meat in the ruins of his butchery, destroyed following an explosion in Wadajir district in Mogadishu, Somalia November 27, 2018.   REUTERS/Feisal Omar 

The more closely you look at Mohamed al-Sayaghi’s picture the better it gets. First you get the white sleeved arm sweeping in from the right to meet the bold black shape that stretches into fingers at the focal point of the child’s squished face. The mouth pushed open, highlights catching the boy’s eyes, and then at last you see the tiny droplet of vaccination caught perfectly between dropper and mouth.   

A Boy is administrated vitamin A drops during an anti-polio vaccination campaign in Sanaa, Yemen November 26, 2018.   REUTERS/ Mohamed al-Sayaghi

 There is no escaping the strong diagonal that leads from bottom right to top left in Amr Abdullah Dalsh’s picture. Visually it’s like a hill that is being climbed. I love the bold shapes and the blacks and reds that are not only in the clothing but echoed in the writing on the wall. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it feels like the child is reaching up to achieve something for the future, the mother is busy working hard to achieve something now and the abstract figure looks like some free and futuristic symbol sprinting away. Is the writing on the wall? Enjoy the full story here

A woman, with her daughter, writes messages of support during the first Egyptian Woman’s race to raise awareness about violence against women in Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2018.   REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

An interesting swirling composition in Ronen Zvulun’s picture is enhanced by the yellow neon of the night lights. It gives us an almost abstract bird’s eye view of a demonstration in Jerusalem. It’s only after we have looked at this for a while that the surrounded vehicles give us a clue to scale and a figurative sense.  

Israeli ultra-Orthodox men protest against the detention of a member of their community who refuses to serve in the Israeli army, in Jerusalem November 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

It’s officially colour week and I am always a sucker for complimentary colours, reds and greens especially. Add a strong sense of scale, as Muhammad Hamed has done in his picture, and it’s almost a dead cert for my weekly selection. What saves the visual flow of this picture is that the child is looking directly out of the frame and not out to the right of the picture, as that would have destroyed the flow. 

A Syrian child runs next to a mural at Al-Zaatari refugee camp, which is located near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, close to the border with Syria November 28, 2018.   REUTERS/Mohammad Hamed

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