Friday 24 July 2020

A Week in Pictures, Middle East and Africa, July 24, 2020

Baz Ratner has given his picture enough space at the top of the image to make us feel calm enough to take the time to look carefully. Detail is hard to come by as it has been exposed for the highlights, the curves of the backdrop, which give it the calm feel. But Baz is shooting pictures inside a COVID-19 hospital and this is a race to stop the spread of the disease in Kenya. But calm and reassuring, the figures lean towards one another, the nurse, in protective gear carefully preparing medication for the figure who is in silhouette, waiting. See the rest of the pictures here 

A nurse treats a COVID-19 patient inside a field hospital built on a soccer stadium in Machakos, as the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in Kenya, July 23, 2020.REUTERS/Baz Ratner 

What attracts me most to Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah’s image is not only the obvious passion of the woman who is shoutingbut the more subtle element of the hands in the picture. Take some time and look at them all, the pointed finger in the foreground and to the right of that the ‘inward facing’ gestures of the woman in red. To the right of that, the two hands from people out of frame, one pointing in and the other out. And then to the left, the finger and thumb touching gesture of the woman in blue, the incidental hand of the woman in the mask and finally, in the background, the raised hand of the figure in black.     

A Sudanese woman chants slogans outside the court during the new trial against ousted President Omar al-Bashir and some of his former allies on charges of leading a military coup that brought the autocrat to power in 1989 in Khartoum, Sudan July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah  

 Zohra Bensemra’s gentle picture has a hint of the bizarre about it, which for me is always attractive as it makes me stop and look. Carefully shot in classic thirds, with compositional horizontal lines, and the man’s head just breaking through the horizon. I also like the echo of the colours of blue in the tyre and the sea. Read on here for the story.  

A man from Guediawaye je m'engage association waters a newly planted tree to reforest the coastline on the coast of Guediawaye on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra  

 Strong shapes and bold tones and dominate Thomas Mukoya’s picture that is almost a mirror image of a line drawn vertically through the centre of the masked figure. Even the hot glow of the furnace in the background is balanced, in part, by the cool light coming in from the window. I get a very strong sense of sadness, probably created by the downcast eyes and the heavy shadows of the interior.

A health worker closes the chamber during the cremation of the body of Prof. Charles Kariuki who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a crematorium in Nairobi, Kenya July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya 

 No pushing, no shoving, just a gentle and quiet moment captured by Khaled Abdullah as a young girls is given a food ration voucher. She and others in the picture look as if they have been waiting patiently for quite a while. A strong diagonal leads your eye down from the red decoration on the woman’s dress along the helping outstretched arms and hands holding the vouchers down to the face of the man looking up in the bottom right of the frame. Read on here.

A girl receives a food ration voucher at a charity kitchen in Sanaa, Yemen July 19, 2020.  REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah  

 So much for social distancing in Mohamed Abd El Ghany’swonderfully crowded and crushed picture, a narrow(ish) depth of field squashing you into the man at the focal point in the centre. What is terrific for me is the almost regular spacing of the men’s heads in a blur of activity and the fact that you have to take a minute to look carefully to see what the blurring is: cattle ready for slaughter.  

A general view of a cattle market in Al Manashi village, ahead of the Muslim festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany  

 I see a pattern forming in so much that sometimes I add more than one picture from the same photographer from different stories in my weekly review. This is true for Mohamed Abd El Ghany this week with his action blurred street racing picture in the heat of the Cairo night. Just sharp enough so that you can see what is going on, but not so sharp so that you are distracted by messy details of cars and vendors in the streets at night. Maybe Mohammed is having a spell of good luck and the photography Gods are smiling on him. Lets hope they don’t turn away the following week. On the Photography Gods of luck, I was once told by an older photographer when I started my career. “Son,” he said, “Seems the harder I work, the luckier I get. You might learn from that. That stuck with me.    

Egyptian merchants are seen in action during a horse cart race showing off their horses’ strengths, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany 


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