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.

Friday, 13 January 2012

US Soldiers Defend

Picture author: David Guttenfelder
Picture date: May 11, 2009

Photographer David Guttenfelder captured three U.S. soldiers responding to Taliban fire outside a bunker in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan in May 2009. Soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion, 26th Infantry take defensive positions at firebase Restrepo after receiving fire from Taliban positions.

Spc. Zachary Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas, was wearing "I love NY" boxer shorts after rushing from his sleeping quarters to join his fellow platoon members. From far right is Spc. Cecil Montgomery of Many, La. and Jordan Custer of Spokan, Wash, center. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, said that American soldiers have more than their military might and training on their side in the war in Afghanistan.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Situation Room

Picture author: Pete Souza
Picture captured: 4:06 PM on May 1, 2011 in the White House Situation Room.

This photo was taken during Operation Neptune Spear which lead to the killing Al-Qaeda's leader - Osama bin Laden. Picture depicts 13 people who are following operations of the US Army by online transmission. Those are most powerful people in the White House with the US president Obama and vice-president Biden. This picture received an instant recognition, possibly because there were not any pictures of dead Osama.

Analysts of the picture also tend to emphasise the growing importance of women in the highest level of authorities. There are 2 women present on the photo. It also shows a change in Obama's presidential leadership style. President wears more casual clothes than usual, he is not in the centre of the room, and does not sit on the highest seat. He shows himself more as a collaborator than a ruler, which is different than previous presidents liked to be showed.

The presence of women on the photo was also striking to the Jewish newspaper Der Tzitung which removed them from the photo. They stated that ultra orthodox Jewish laws forbid them to show 'sexually suggestive images’. The newspaper apologised for their attempt to alter history later on. They said they removed women from the photo of modesty reasons, not to degrade them.