Monday, 5 March 2012

The Plight of Kosovo Refugees

Picture author: Carol Guzy
Picture date: 1999

The photo is part of the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning entry (2000) showing gow a Kosovar refugee Agim Shala, 2, is passed through a barded wire fence into the hands of grandparents at a camp run by United Arab Emirates in Kukes, Albania. The member of the Shala family were united after fleeing the conflict in Kosovo.

The image taken by Carol Guzy depicts a boy being reunited with family members at refugee camp on the border of Albania-Kosovo. Ethnic violence of one group trying to fight for territory they believe is theirs always seems to result in mass refugee issues. Further history of the family remains unknown.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

US and Russian presidents earing burgers

Picture author: Kevin Lamarque
Picture date: June 24, 2010.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama have burgers for lunch at Ray's Hell Burger restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. Traveling by motorcade, the two presidents ventured to Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., a popular hamburger joint just outside the nation's capital. During their meal, Obama and Medvedev sat at a table with their interpreters, sharing a conversation through them.

The picture shows heads of two superpower countries as normal, relaxed men having a meal in a regular fast-food restaurant. Picture lacks the glitter of official meetings between two presidents. It also shows that sometimes you can make key decisions in a spontaneous way. After eating the meal, presidents returned to their route.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A man holding a stick under water

Picture author: Damir Sagolj
Picture date: February 17, 2011

The picture depicts a man holding a stick. He installs a pump to extract mud at a primitive gold mine in Panompa near Phichin. A group of Thais use primitive tools and methods to extract gold from self-run mines near the country's biggest and most modern Chatree gold mine. A family working at the mine can get around one gram of gold per day which they sell at the site for about 1000 Thai bahts.

The author said about the photo:
This is a classic example of how still images can work better than video. The boy was installing a water pump at this primitive gold mine and he had to dive into muddy water to do it. He held onto a stick in the pond to offer a chance at a perfect composition. Just like in many other cases, the light of the late afternoon played a big part and I chose again a wide open 24 mm lens (maximum shutter speed on minimum ISO) to have the focus only on his hand and the stick making the borders a bit blurred. A second later he came out and the moment of mystery of "what is going on in the scene" was gone.

Monday, 6 February 2012

An aid worker films the rotting carcass of a cow

Picture author: Barry Malone
Picture date: July 23, 2011

An aid worker using an iPad captures an image of a dead cow’s decomposing carcass in Wajir near the Kenya-Somalia border on July 23. The Horn of Africa was plagued by drought, and especially since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, the international aid industry came to many refugee camps and remote hamlets in branded planes and snaking lines of white 4x4s.  Analysts say that humanitarian and diplomatic actions are necessary every time people go hungry in Africa. African and foreign governments rarely respond on time to coming catastrophes. Overgeneralised explanations of the causes of famine, and a growing band of aid critics say parts of Africa are doomed to a never-ending cycle of ignored early warnings, media appeals and emergency U.N. feeding - rather than a transition to lasting self-sufficiency.

African governments know that drought is coming, because it’s a cycle, and still they do not prepare. Foreign charities working there talk about long-term plans to help people become self-sufficient but they have been failing to achieve them for 20 years. It is as much about politics and war and poor economic policies as it is about no rain. The author told this about his feeling regarding to taking the picture:

Part of me felt bad for publishing the photo of the man with the iPad. Because he was a good person doing his job. And because we are the same.
He comes with an iPad, I come with a notebook.
Both of us steal dignity and neither of us belong.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Young Lebanese drive through devastated neighborhood of South Beirut

Picture author: Spencer Platt
Picture date: 15 August 2006

The disturbing picture shows young Lebanese driving in red convertible, observing the devastated neighbourhood from the comfort of their car. The photo shows contradictions of a country where destruction and the love of fun are unbearably juxtaposed. The background is brown and grey, but the car is sparkling red, and the white T-shirt of the blonde woman in the car are whiter than the shirt of a passer-by behind the car. the driver of the car looks as a pop star or a famous actor.

Many people found this picture controversial, but it is in fact a stunning metaphor, a perfect example of war photography. It shows the act of taking photos in tragic situations: if there is a contradiction, it is in the encounter between art, beauty and tragedy.

The picture won the World Press Photo contest. World Press Photo jury chair Michele McNally describes the winning image:
It's a picture you can keep looking at. It has the complexity and contradiction of real life, amidst chaos. This photograph makes you look beyond the obvious.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Man Carring a Shark

Picture author: Feisar Omar
Picture date: 23 September 2010

A man is carrying a shark through the streets of Mogadishu in Somalia. Mogadishu is the capital of the country which had seen some heavy shelling in September. It resulted from the conflict between Islamist militants and pro-government troops. Sharks form a large portion of total Somali fish landings. The fish is not commonly eaten in Somalia, but shark meat is dried and salted for export.

Mr. Omar stated that he, like many other photographers, had many difficulties with shooting photos. Most common threats are harassment and denial. When gunmen saw that he shot the picture, they took him to interrogation. They stated he was not supposed to take a picture of someone walking around that area. He spent 20 minutes on explaining and convincing them he did nothing wrong, but they wanted to see the pictures. Fortunately, an officer intervened in his defence, and they let him go freely. But this ended peacefully, some journalists are being arrested or tortured in Somalia for taking a picture or an event.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Muhammad Ali versus Sonny Liston [1965]

Picture author: Neil Leifer,
Picture date: May 25, 1965

This picture is probably one of the most famous frames in sports. It depicts the moment when Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston, a former heavy weight champion, in the first minute of the first round, in a rematch. Ali won the previous match one year before, after Sonny resigned to defeat complaining of a shoulder injury).

Midway through the first round, Liston fell to the canvas; Ali refused to retreat to a neutral corner, standing over his fallen opponent, gesturing and yelling at him, “Get up and fight, sucker!” Mr. Leifer, a reporter who covered many boxing matches, struggled to capture this moment, which has since become one of the iconic images in sports history.

The blow that ended the match became known as “the phantom punch,” so named because most people at ringside did not see it. Speculations circulated about Liston’s fall, many spectators considered the bout fixed, even the FBI investigated the case. Some say while preparing for the fight, Liston was visited by Black Muslims who threatened to kill his daughter Eleanor if he should win the rematch, others say Liston lay down for money.