Friday 1 May 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, May 1, 2020

No social distancing here as people crowd in to get free soup in Suhaib Salem’s picture. I get a sense of ripples on a still pond that has been disturbed by a single stone being thrown into it. The ladle is in the centre where the people are closest and the ripples form tight circles. As you look to the edges of the frame, the people are more widely spaced and the ripples get wider. Make sense? 

Palestinians gather to get soup offered for free during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Gaza City, April 26, 2020.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem 

Just a gentle and thoughtful image from Khaled Abdullah. Even though it is shot quite wide, giving you the feel of what it would be like to worship inside this crowded mosque, you are transfixed by the size of the Quran the man is reading.  

People recite the Quran at the grand Mosque amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Sanaa, Yemen April 26, 2020.    REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah 
Is the anger in Mohamed Azakir’s picture dissipated by the mask or does it add to the menace? At first glance it looks quite confrontational, the raised the hand, the leaning in eye contact and much gym activity apparent from the tattooed arm. But look closely at the eyes, are they not raising a question and almost pleading to make a point? Look too at the contact between the man and the soldier, although they are touching, its just fingers from the protester and just enough pressure from the soldier to keep to him away. Remove the mask and we would see his mouth, and probably get a completely different feel about this confrontation. Read on here. 

A Lebanese demonstrator gestures to a Lebanese soldier during a protest against the collapsing Lebanese pound currency and price hikes, in Zouk, north of Beirut, Lebanon April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir  

If you let your imagination run away with you, Zohra Bensemra seems to have captured a wonderful, mystical and many-limbed two-headed creature thrashing around in the sands of Senegal. Just sit back to take a moment and enjoy the shape, light, composition and action of this delightful feature picture.  Read on here.

Street children play soccer at a camp, which the Village Pilot NGO has set up to house and confine children in need of help amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in lac Rose, suburbs of Dakar, Senegal April 20, 2020.    REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra   

Lit by neon lights, Raneen Sawafta’s picture is quite striking in its glow. There is of course always a temptation to colour adjust from what we see to what we know. That aside, what I like most about Raneen’s image are the dark shadows of the figure set against the highlight in the background, the subtle tilt to the whole frame and the catchlight on the drum, drumstick and face mask.  

A Palestinian Musharati wearing a mask beats a drum to wake Muslims to have the predawn meal before they start their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramadan amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nablus, in the Israeli occupied West Bank April 28, 2020.  REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta   

A small crop to Muhammad Hamed’s picture makes quite a shift in the focal point and the sense of the image. In the first image below the focus and importance of the image is about the moon alongside a mosque. In the second uncropped image the focal point is the King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque with a moon next to it. Which do you like best? 

A crescent moon is seen next to King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque during the holy fasting month of Ramadan as prayers by worshippers in the holy places are suspended due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Amman, Jordan April 26, 2020.   REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed  

A crescent moon is seen next to King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque during the holy fasting month of Ramadan as prayers by worshippers in the holy places are suspended due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Amman, Jordan April 26, 2020.   REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed  

The joy on a child’s face when they see an enormous birthday cake and sparklers is universal and that joy is captured by Alaa al-Marjani. What is also captured is the cake decoration of a Dettol bottle, a coronavirus model, an icing face mask and is that a hint of a practical joker’s smile on the woman’s face? A birthday never to be forgotten, for sure.   

An Iraqi family celebrates their daughters birthday with a cake decorated with Dettol bottles, a face mask and a model of the coronavirus, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a cake shop in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq April 24, 2020.   REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani   

The glow of blue and white neon lights, orange and yellow flames and silhouetted figures set against strong black vertical and horizontal lines all make for a very eye-catching image. What gives Ali Hashisho’s picture the edge for me is the skulking figure on the righthand side of the image. He looks to me to be the most dangerous person in this scene. Read on here.

A demonstrator is seen next to a burning fire in front of a bank during a protest against economic hardship in Sidon, Lebanon, April 29, 2020.   REUTERS/Ali Hashisho 

Muhammad Hamed’s is a well-seen portrait of a man who obviously takes great pride in his appearance and who is determined to take care of himself by wearing a mask against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It is also a well-timed image because Muhammed has waited for the man to be in full light and exposed for the highlights so the background falls into shadow. Any background distraction would take your eyes away from the details of every hair in his beard and the neatness of his headdress.      

A man wears a protective face mask as he walks through the main market downtown after the government eased the restrictions on the movement aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Amman, Jordan April 29, 2020.   REUTERS/Muhammed Hamed 

There’s a new hair fashion in town, the coronavirus. What is intended as a lighter and more upbeat picture by Thomas Mukoya has a slightly bitter-sweet feel to me. The intention is obvious, a hairdresser shapes women’s hair to represent the coronavirus for a little fun, and it works well – that is the sweet part. To show the hair from all sides the girl is photographed from behind; but her body language, as she looks out of the window, says to me that she longs to be able to go outside to run and play at any time like she used to. That’s the bitter part. I sense that Thomas spotted this thoughtful moment as the girl, who is experiencing daily lockdown and curfew, looked longingly out of the window, maybe thinking about the time when she could go out when she wanted. Maybe I am again letting my imagination get the better of me and she is just looking out of the window and Thomas decided to shoot her dark hair against the highlight of the window. But I doubt it as that would make no sense for this type of fun and controlled shoot. Either way it’s a great picture that got me thinking. Read on here.  

Stacy Ayuma, 8, is seen after plaiting with the "coronavirus" hairstyle, designed to emulate the prickly appearance of the virus under a microscope, as a fashion statement against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Mama Brayo Beauty Salon within Kambi-Muru village of Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya  


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