Friday 10 July 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, July 10, 2020

A brutal and sad picture by Thalefang Charles. The elephant appears to reach out to the viewer with its trunk at the moment of its death in a barren landscape. There is no escaping the black hollow of the animal’s eye or the gaping hole where a tusk would have once been as we are led along the line of the trunk and the animal’s back to the tiny figure of a vet in the background.  Read on here 

Dr Wave Kashweeka, Principal Veterinary Officer stands over the carcass of an elephant found near Seronga, in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Thalefang Charles

At first glance we are not sure if the screen on the left is a TV or a mirror. Ari Jalal has used the mirror hanging in the temporary accommodation to enable us to both look in and out of this room at the same time.  We get a sense of people being busy, the hurried tension of a small space, change happening. I love the body language of the young man in the doorway, as though he is saying “come on, get a move on”, but can’t out of respect to the others he shouldn’t really rush.  Read on here.

Yazidi displaced family of Nayef al-Hamo is reflected in the mirror as they prepare to leave their home in Sharya town and head back to Sinjar following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and economic crisis, near Dohuk, Iraq July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

A wide and slightly compositionally chaotic picture from Philimon Bulawayo as the eye chases around looking for a focal point. It’s rather visually uncomfortable with figures running out of the frame left and right and the line of trees and sky cutting mercilessly across the frame into the head of the central figure, who seems to be coming up for air. But it’s what written on the sign that comes as bit of a shock and is uncomfortable reading.  
Health workers carry placards as they protest against economic hardship and poor working conditions during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo 

Two terrific pictures by two photographers working on one story about the convergence of the Nile. In the first by Zohra Bensemra we are immediately intrigued by the brown swirling mass “penned” in by trees left and right, a centrally placed figure making us wonder what is going on. I love the detail of his shoes on the right-hand side of the frame and the dappled light coming through the rough and ready roofing as we slowly begin to understand he is squashing mud with his feet. Read on here.

David Plantino, 35, a pottery maker from South Sudan, kneads mud with his feet, that will be used to make pottery at a workshop in an area known as the 'Potters Village' in Alqamayir, Omdurman, Sudan February 16, 2020. "I have been a pottery maker for 7 years, I relied on the Nile river like most people around me here for water and the mud", Plantino said. "Both are the foundation for people who rely on pottery to make a living." REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah entertains us with a beautiful abstract curve through his picture leaving us unsure of a sense of scale. We are initially confused by the flat grey shape that has a mirror-like quality and then the abandoned chairs snap into focus. We are looking at the waters edge of the Nile.       

Chairs are left facing the banks of the Blue Nile river in Khartoum, Sudan, February 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah 

Just how much do you want to swim in that pool? Ahmed Jadallah’s picture is pleasing on so many levels: the colours, the shapes, the teasing shadows of the trees and the tantalising ripples on the water and that small figure, arms stretched out luxuriating in the warm water.  Dive in and have some fun, I wish. 

People swim at a swimming pool in the Atlantis The Palm hotel, as the Emirates reopen to tourism amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Anees Mahyoub’s picture is striking as the graves are so deep, dark and so close together. What is to stop the walls of sand and mud falling in the diggers? But it’s the small details next to the sad and ugly gaping holes that gives this image its strength: like the pickaxe between the graves and the feet of the bystander. Read on here.

People dig graves at a cemetery where victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are buried in Taiz, Yemen June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub 

A very busy but at the same time simple half-length environmental portrait by Muhammad Hamed works so well that you just want to meet this doctor. The direct eye contact draws you straight into his gentle, concerned but reassuring face past all the visual noise, his clean white jacket helping you make that journey. Once you have looked him in the eye then you can enjoy the rest of the room. I love the echo of his fingers in the brochure dispenser on the left of the image 

Jordanian doctor Nizar al Halaby poses at his clinic in Amman, Jordan, July 5, 2020. Picture taken July 5, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

I think Yamam al-Shaar has captured a moment of work that seems like it will never end. A single figure, masked against coronavirus set against a wall of boxes.  Not an inch of respite for her amid the boxes that completely fill the frame and bear down on her. 
A worker wearing a face mask holds an ice cream box inside an ice cream factory in Damascus, Syria July 2, 2020. Picture taken July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Yamam Al Shaar 

Is this bride dancing in Amir Cohen’s picture dancing? Why is she letting her beautiful wedding dress get dirty? Why on earth would she want to be photographed in an area that looks like an industrial estate? All these questions raised by a beautifully composed and side lit picture enables the viewer to make up their own story for this strong and affectionate standalone image of happiness.  
A bride walks on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea as she is photographed before her wedding amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ashdod, Israel July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

I feel in Thomas Mukoya’s picture as if this train is bearing down on me. I am the proverbial rabbit in the headlights as others scatter left and right away from its path. An effect created by careful exposure to allow the highlight of the train’s light to burn out. A quick look at the track and you see the kink in the line so we know it’s not travelling all that fast, time enough for me to scuttle away too.  

A commuter train arrives at a makeshift station, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Kibera slums, in Nairobi, Kenya July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

In Mohamed Azakir’s wonderfully lit picture a yellow cushion seems to come to life with a facial expression that sums up the whole situation. It’s only then we notice the central figure in the gloom, and the candle light is neither kind or romantic but a necessity as powers cuts mean no electricity. Read on here.

Badiaa, 75, lights a candle and a portable light to light up the room due to a power cut in Beirut, Lebanon July 6, 2020. Picture taken July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir 

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