Friday 27 March 2020

A week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, March 27, 2020

A twisted swirl of neon-lit roads is devoid of traffic except a single motorcycle in Satish Kumar’s eerie picture from Dubai. The dark bridge that cuts across the image but apart from that, to me, the yellow roads take on an undersea organic appearance.

An aerial view of the Sheikh Zayad Road following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 26, 2020.    REUTERS/Satish Kumar

The bright reds and blues in Tiksa Negri’s picture of of humble worship are flattened in the soft light and the haze of incense. The way the woman is bowing gives such a gentle sense of reverence. The picture is held together by powerful compositional shapes and lines made up of classic vertical thirds of the figures in red and white and a diagonal emphasised by the bowing woman. 

An Ethiopian Orthodox Priest blesses the faithful with incense, which they believe will keep the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) away in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 26, 2020.   REUTERS/Tiksa Nigeri

As the coronavirus sweeps across the globe one thing that has struck me is how in some countries there is a full lockdown of movement and people are protecting themselves with masks, gloves and suits; while in others life goes on as normal. Baz Ratner’s images of two tourists in shorts strolling past a man sanitising an airport seems to sum this up.  

A health worker sprays disinfectant to help prevent the spread of an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, Kenya March 24, 2020.  REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Olivia Acland’s image of traders waiting at a crossing point is a wonderfully composed portrait of a group of people. It looks as if it was constructed by a Renaissance painter. The gentle lop-sided U-shaped curve that leads your eye left to right to the figure standing in the doorway. Each limb leading you back along the line of people in a zigzag journey through the cool blues and tones. Olivia was careful not to crop out fingers, toes and clothing and kept them all in frame ; and then you see it, the smiling cartoon cow with a pink nose and thumbs up – nothing high Renaissance about that. Read on here.

Traders sit near a deserted crossing point between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Petite Barriere in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Olivia Acland

A myriad of busy colour and chaos is the first impression of Zohra Bensemra’s wide-angle picture as your eye zooms in from all sides to the X-shape of the figure in a white suit. Once you visually step back to survey the mess you are left thinking about the size of this worker’s task. You are overwhelmed with a sense of pointlessness – what chances of controlling the virus in such a mess? Read on here.

A member of a local hygiene service wears a protective suit and face mask as he disinfects the street and market to try to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dakar, Senegal March 22, 2020.    REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

What wonderful colours in Afolabi Sotunde’s affectionate picture as cyan fights with yellows and ochre for your attention on a battle field of black and grey. And there to break up the fight is the “doorman”, standing tall, gloves and disinfectant at the ready. In reality, he’s a member of the church congregation making sure that people who enter to worship have their hands sanitized. The lines of door behind him and the mat on floor welcome you into the church. Read on here.

A man stands with a sanitiser in his hands at the entrance of a Living Faith Church following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria, March 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Siphiwe Sibeko’s picture is a beautifully seen image of people going to church and being protected by using hand sanitiser. Take your time to look around, the coordinated women’s dress which is the uniform of the church, right down to their white shoes, thankfully kept in frame. The perfect moment of the hands outstretched waiting for the spray, and the relaxed, easy seated, legs stretched out manner of the woman applying the spray. Look further, the blue notice board matching the uniform colour, the cold metal of the brass instruments waiting to be blown and the visual joke of the heater trying to pretend it’s an instrument too. And finally, the picture of Jesus on the wall. Read on here

A member of the faithful applies hand sanitiser to a woman as she arrives to attend church service at the Apostolic Christian Church in Kagiso, near Johannesburg, South Africa, March 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

No escape and trapped in a cage a bear gnaws at the bars while a lion watches, on the face of it an easy image to capture. But not so, take closer look at Alaa al-Marjani’s picture, a combination of good luck, good light and perfect timing. Good luck as the bear is close to the bars, its enormous claws reaching out, good luck too as the lion is resting on this side of the cage and not the other. Good light so we can see both the foreground and into the shadows of the cage; and good timing as the bear’s mouth is wide open, teeth on show and the line of the bar divides the centre of the lion’s head so we can see both eyes on both animals. Remove any one of these elements and the picture would be so much weaker.  

A bear and a lion are seen in a closed zoo, as the zoo staff were advised to not come to work due to a curfew to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, March 25, 2020.   REUTERS/Alaa Marjani 

A clever and thoughtful picture by Thomas Mukoya as people try to leave cities and escape to the countryside. The shapes and lines of the image drive us to the centre of the image so we are left in no doubt what we need to look at. It’s minimalist in its detail but we have just enough information from the shadows to let us know this is passenger carrying her child and baggage between two buses. Read on here.

A passenger carries he child before boarding a disinfected public transport bus as residents leave for the villages amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, March 25, 2020.   REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya 



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