rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » PART II: Smashing PHOTOS of the YEAR

PART II: Smashing PHOTOS of the YEAR

Last updated on: December 12, 2011 09:19 IST

Futility or prescience?

     Next

Next

From the uprisings across the Arab world to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, there was no lack of news in 2011. In this special series, the photographers offer a behind the scenes account of the images that helped define the year.

PART I: Smashing PHOTOS of the YEAR

Photographer Allison Shelley's note:

"One of the best views of Port-au-Prince is from a hilltop neighbourhood called Fort National -- a steep five-minute ride from downtown. Eighty per cent of the buildings in this densely packed area were leveled in the 2010 earthquake, providing an unobstructed 360-degree visual city tour from the crushed cathedral to the rockslide-scarred hills across the harbour. But residents say that because there was no central tent camp set up here, they were largely bypassed by help from the government and aid groups. Around the time I was assigned to photograph the run-up to the quake's first anniversary, billboards were popping up with architectural renderings of the "new Fort National" to be built. Palm trees, pedestrian paths; Miami style. Locals were told to abandon their efforts to rebuild their homes-- they would get new, government subsidised ones. I immediately knew I would start the day shooting there.

I found Orich Florestal and Rosemond Altidon standing on a slab of concrete jutting from the second floor of a half-missing building, their home, watching the sun rise. They invited me up to their "balcony"-- a former bedroom in the same apartment block their families had been living in for years. Tall cracks exposed rebar in the walls of the first floor rooms, all inhabited by other families."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...




     Next

When from earth's depths came strong rumbling

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Carlos Gutierrez's note:

"That night was very cold and from the Earth's depths came strong rumbling, as if the ground was going to open and swallow us. As the sky was illuminated with a strong red light, lightning struck all around as if it were the end of the world.

There was a strong smell of sulfur and ash all around. The ash plume reached more than 12 miles into the air, high enough for it to be easily seen from space as it crossed the continent. The ash damaged places in Chile and Argentina, causing loss of cattle, contamination of lakes and rivers, respiratory illness, and cancelation of flights."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...

 


Image: Lightning flashes around the ash plume above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos June 5, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Executed, in public

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Omar Faruk's note:

"It was early in the morning when I went to Iskola Bulisiya square in Somalia's capital Mogadishu where many people were waiting for a public execution. Suddenly a convoy with two blindfolded men arrived. After a few minutes a group of soldiers started the preparations and opened fire on the two men.

Then a Somali government soldier with an AK47 shot at close range to execute two former soldiers Abdi Sankus Abdi (right) and Abdullahi Jinow Guure (left) as they cried loudly saying "forgive us, we never, ever kill humankind". After they died their relatives came and covered them with white clothes and they were buried near the square. The two men were found guilty of killing another soldier and a civilian on the basis of witness testimony, the Chairman of the Military Court Hassan Mohamed Hussein Mungab said."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: A Somali government soldier shoots at close range to execute two former soldiers Abdi Sankus Abdi (R) and Abdullahi Jinow Guure (L) at the Iskola Bulisiya square in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, August 22, 2011. The military court of the Transitional Federal Government executed Abdi, 31, and Guure, 29, after they were found guilty of killing another soldier and a civilian on the basis of witness testimony
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Cannoned

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Baz Ratner's note:

"My assignment in Afghanistan in June and July 2011 was to cover the last days of the Canadian army's combat role, as they prepare to depart after 10 years in Afghanistan as one of the contributing forces. The unit I was embedded with was the Canadian 22nd royal regiment, or Van Doos as it is known in Canada. They were based in Seprwan Ghar forward operating base (FOB) in the Panjwai district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan. I was going out on patrols with them for a while.

On June 12 the container I was staying in started shaking from shelling blasts. I went to see what was happening. US soldiers from 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery were firing their howitzers about 200 meters from where I was trying to sleep.

I took some pictures of them shooting it and as they repositioned the piece and fired, the cannon recoiled back and the gravel surrounding it was flung into the air. I managed to get a picture where the gravel seems suspended around the cannon and specialist Lucas Couvaras from Phoenix Arizona, who was there to reloaded the cannon, surprising both him and me."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: US Army soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire a howitzer artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan, June 12, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Swept by the tide

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Wang Xinke's note:

"Hundreds of people were washed away on this day. I was so lucky that I had climbed up an advertisement board.

I have been shooting Qiantang River tides for 17 years. The tide usually reaches its highest level every year on the 18th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. However, the forces of nature are constantly changing. This year, Typhoon Nanmadol approached eastern China nearly at the same time the tide level was reaching its peak. As you can see, not many people were aware that the tide would be much greater than before."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: Policemen and residents run as waves from a tidal bore surge past a barrier on the banks of Qiantang River in Haining, Zhejiang province August 31, 2011. As Typhoon Nanmadol approaches eastern China, the tides and waves in Qiantang River recorded its highest level in 10 years
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

On fire

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Nodas Stylianidis's note:

"I was doing some paperwork in my office which is located a few meters away from the bank. At some point I heard someone yelling, I looked out of my window and I saw the man protesting outside the bank while it was obvious that he was threatening to set himself on fire.

I picked a camera and ran out. When I arrived I saw him pouring gasoline on himself and after a few seconds he set himself ablaze. Police, who had already been watching him, rushed to extinguish the fire. The man survived but with serious injuries".

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: A man sets himself on fire outside a bank branch in Thessaloniki in northern Greece September 16, 2011. The 55-year old man had entered the bank and asked for a renegotiation of his overdue loan payments on his home and business, according to police, which he could not pay, but was refused by the bank
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

A world of 7 billion

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Edgard Garrido's note:

"It was three years ago that I photographed a childbirth room at Escuela hospital, the largest in Honduras. Time seems to have stood still. Now there are different doctors, mothers and children, but the poverty is the same. Rooms full of valiant women who bleed and wrap their children with old sheets adorn the poverty of this place where shame is not a valid issue. I walk freely between the birthing rooms, rest area, caesarean section and reception, but I have no permission to enter the pediatrics area until a new medical chief authorises me. There are healthy and sick babies.

One of them is this baby who got my attention because it moves non-stop. Next to him is a lamp that provides heat to stay alive. I expect that he will continue to play with his hands, making the image more aesthetic or photographic. After five minutes this happens and I shoot photos. I recognised that I have a "beautiful picture", but I do not see that the position of his fingers shows a number seven.

It is a picture of a baby like so many others who were born, many of the 7 billion that live on our planet today. It hits me as it begins to emerge as poetry of life in Honduras where thousands of human beings are born, but where thousands are killed without completing their natural cyc#8804 dramatically murdered every day."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: A baby gestures minutes after he was born inside the pediatric unit at hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa October 21, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

MJ, in the nick of time

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Entertainment editor Sam Mircovich's note:

"The opening minutes of Dr Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson provided the most startling image of the proceedings. Deputy District Attorney's David Walgren's opening statement featured before and after pictures of Jackson taken 24 hours a#8706 one onstage during rehearsals for his sold out shows at the O2 arena, and the other, lying dead on a hospital gurney.

The image sent shockwaves around the world, as no one had seen an image of Jackson after his untimely death. As photo editor for Reuters, I was responsible for filing the pool images to the Singapore Photo Desk. I had a sinking suspicion the prosecution would open the trial with a bang and I was right.

I knew that if a graphic image of Jackson was shown, it would be at least 90 minutes before the pool photographer would be able to send it to us. Since the video feed was also pool, I quickly chatted with Reuters TV producer Lindsay Claiborn that we might need to frame grab from the video if warranted.

I was watching a web feed on my computer, and once the image was broadcast I shouted to Lindsay that we need to act quickly. She dropped what she was doing and moved to video editing software to grab the incoming images. Within a couple of minutes we had the images and I moved back to my desk to size the image and caption it. Once filed, the Singapore photo desk turned them around quickly for the world to see. Total filing time; 10 minutes.

Our competition ended up moving their own frame grabs at the end of the day, along with images shot by the pool photographer. It was a nice beat on a top story that week."

Click on NEXT to  see more PHOTOS...


Image: This image taken from the prosecution courtroom evidence screen purports to show Michael Jackson lying on a hospital gurney in the screen grab from pool video during opening arguments in Dr Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles September 27, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Royal moment

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Toby Melville's note:

"Lighting conditions were perfect, as from test times outside the abbey, the exact minute the couple were due to appear. When I had checked out the position two days before in bright sunlight, a huge shadow would have been cast from a nearby building diagonally across them. A white dress would have been totally blown out and shadow detail gone black, rendering the image virtually unusable -- especially for magazine clients. The rain that was also forecast in London, which would have given a flat and soft looking frame, never materialised either...so bright even shade was perfect...as nearly every wedding photographer will tell you!

Having Best Man Prince Harry behind, and his interaction with Kate's sister, the Chief Bridesmaid, Pippa Middleton, was just a spot of luck really, but a wee bonus on the day. Apart from six months of logistical planning by the UK Pictures Desk team and IT support guys for picture transmission and editing in almost real time via under road cabled broadband lines from the media centre to my cameras and laptop, the only other hurdle to jump on the day was crossing my legs from 5.30 in the morning to 1pm in the afternoon as there was no toilet available in our 'secured, sterile' photo position opposite the Abbey!"

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: Britain's Prince William (L) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, look at one another after their wedding ceremony in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Swift exit

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Jorge Dan Lopez's note:

"Hundreds of people had gathered for a book signing of Ricky Martin's autobiography and were standing in a long line outside a shopping centre in the south of Mexico City. It was sunny when I arrived but many had been waiting since early morning when it was still cold. It was a mixed crowd; I was particularly impressed by a man who was holding Martin's book, he was holding it tightly and singing passionately to Martin's music sounding in the background.

When Ricky Martin arrived, he greeted the waiting fans and sat down to sign the books. A woman who was standing in the front row and who was visibly excited at being so close to the performer suddenly took a leap trying to get onto the stage but a bodyguard jumped in and swiftly picked her up and carried her away.

Ricky Martin laughed, he looked half amused, half nervous, but he continued to sign the books as if nothing had happened."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: Puerto Rican singer and Latin Grammy winner Ricky Martin (R) reacts as a female fan is restrained by security during a promotional event for his Music + Soul + Sex tour in Mexico City April 5, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

It's just kid stuff!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Jon Nazca's note:

"Hundreds of Easter processions take place round-the-clock during Holy Week in Spain. On this day, Thursday, the Spanish legionnaires carry a statue of the Christ of Mena along the streets of the Andalusian city of Malaga. Thousands of people flock around a square in front of a church to see the start of the procession. The square is restricted because it is a military act and the media are on a platform.

Some parents dress up their children as Spanish legionnaires. One of these children was the focus of attention as he walked alone through the square. I quickly get off the media platform and began to take some pictures of him when another child appeared in my frame holding a toy.

Why did he hide his toy from the young legionnaire? It's just kid stuff!"

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: A child dressed up as a Spanish legionnaire looks at another holding a toy during the Holy Week in Malaga, southern Spain
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Blown apart

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Shahid Shinwari's note:

"I captured this photo when an oil tanker, carrying fuel for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, was attacked along the Pak-Afghan highway in Landikotal Khyber Agency. A contact from the anti-narcotics force called to say a powerful bomb had exploded around an oil tanker on the highway near Landikotal Bazar. I rushed there by taxi and travelled some four miles to the spot.

After arriving at the scene, I saw oil tankers and private vehicles, all set ablaze. Local residents and some children were trying to strip vehicles of metal on the spot. I started capturing the scene from a nearby hill. After photographing the scene I went back to my office. Due to frequent power outages, electricity was not available and I used a generator to send the photos."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: Children try to salvage metal and other parts from damaged vehicles near burning oil tankers, used to carry fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, after they were hit by a bomb attack in the outskirts of Landikotal, northwest Pakistan on August 16, 2011. A bomb blast destroyed four trucks carrying fuel for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region of Khyber, local government officials said
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Trigger happy

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Goran Tomasevic's note:

"This was the day that most of the journalists left Benghazi. It was when coalition forces were bombing Gaddafi tanks. I heard a lot of noise from the house where I was staying. There were people shooting into the air as the rebels had come across a tank captured from Gaddafi forces. After each bombardment, the rebels got happier and happier."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS..


Image: A woman rebel fighter supporter shoots an AK-47 rifle as she reacts to the news of the withdrawal of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces from Benghazi March 19
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Doomed by drugs

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Damir Sagolj's note:

"Drugs are a big problem in Thailand and often we see pictures from press conferences where police display confiscated narcotics and detained suspects after a raid. So, the normal reaction after seeing those was to try to join the police on one of their raids and see them in action. The action I followed took us early in the morning to a slum in Bangkok's suburbs. It was not a spectacular operation with lots of drugs found and suspects trying to avoid the detention.

But, the real personal drama of the man detained was exposed when he hugged his son and cried as he was taken away. A small drug dealer crime -- although petty if compared with those from the press conferences with tons of narcotics seized -- can take a criminal to jail for a long time. When he comes out his son could be an adult man. Growing up in Bangkok's slums without a father is not the best way to avoid all the dangers and possible misery."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Hunting down Osama

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Pete Souza's note:

"This photo was taken in the Situation Room as the President and most of his national security team monitored in real time the mission against Osama bin Laden.

The Situation Room is actually comprised of several conference rooms. Most of the pictures that the public has seen inside the Situation Room are from the large conference room. This was in a smaller conference room, which is why everyone was kind of jammed into the room. I made about 100 exposures during the 40 or so minutes they were in this room."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R). Please note: A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured at source.
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Escaping the flames

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Albert Gonzalez Farran's note:

"Several UN agencies (OCHA, UNHCR, FAO and UNICEF) and UNAMID were participating in an aid operation in Kuma Garadayat, a remote village located in North Darfur (Sudan), when some straw huts were set on fire accidentally.

During the summer, the dryness and the heat frequently cause these kinds of accidents in Darfur. When the first signs of smoke alerted the population, each villager knew their role to play. Men and boys armed themselves with branches to extinguish the fire, while women and girls went to the houses to collect their belongings and tried to move everything out of the way of the fire.

This image shows how a frightened girl escaped from the flames. Fortunately, nothing very bad happened. Just part of the village was completely burnt."

Click on NEXT to see mroe PHOTOS...


Image: Women and children run away with their belongings from a fire in Kuma Garadayat, a village located in North Darfur controlled by members of SLA-Free Will faction, a signatory of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) May 19, 2011. Some shelters caught on fire accidentally while UN agencies, OCHA, UNHCR and FAO, were participating in an operation conducted by UNAMID to secure access to remote, conflict-affected areas
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Last respects

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Damir Sagolj's note:

"When the scene happening in front of me is a strong scene, and this one was very strong and emotional, I don't feel like I need to add any of the usual aggressiveness to the image -- no need for ambitious composition, for funky angles or for getting too close -- the frame will work if the calmness and respect that is in the scene is transferred to the picture. I even took a few steps back to let the ambience and devastation speak for itself. It was all possible because I was the only photographer at the scene.

And that was good -- not only for "exclusiveness" of the picture but for the opportunity to work the way I think is appropriate. I'm afraid if more press were at the scene, we would all go too close (hello to Robert Capa and his famous quote) and the moment would be gone. The technical data for such a frame is not very important - it could have been shot with a mobile phone camera or on any settings -- the most important things will still be there."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: Rescue workers pay their final respects to a dead body retrieved from the rubble in Rikuzentakat, Iwate Prefecture, days after the area was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami March 17, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

The birth of a small parallel society

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Susana Vera's note:

"Mirroring the popular uprisings in the northern African countries, this past spring young Spaniards resorted to social networking to voice their worries over their bleak futures and express their demands for real democracy. First, they marched together on May 15 in Spain's main cities to protest against the government's handling of the economic crisis. That same night, and spontaneously, they started packing squares with tents across the country ahead of local and regional elections. Madrid's Puerta del Sol square became the symbol of what the media called "15M" or the "indignant" movement. It was there where hundreds of people camped out for a month to voice their anger over a democratic system that has failed them.

The strength of the movement took politicians, the general public and the media by surprise. No one is too sure how much of an impact it will have in the long run, but everyone has learned it is a force to be reckoned with. As a photojournalist, but also as a Spaniard fed up with political corruption and social injustice, it was exciting to cover the story as it unfolded. In May I was witness to the birth of a small parallel society in Madrid's Puerta del Sol where nothing was done without reaching a consensus. It was the closest I have been to a participatory democracy, where everyone is welcomed to take part in the decision making process.

The biggest challenge has been keeping a fresh eye day after day as well as dealing with demonstrators giving photographers a hard time for doing our job. No one complained at the beginning of our coverage. As a matter of fact, many were thankful we were helping them by spreading the word out of Spain. But after the first week the uncomfortable life on the square got the best of them and tension within the group made them grow wary of us, even hostile at times.

Overall, it was an incredibly interesting experience, not only photographically, but on a human level. It felt like documenting Spanish history, my history, in the making."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

In the Red Capital

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Photographer Jason Lee's note:

"It was the day before the 90th anniversary of the founding of Communist Party of China (CPC), I was shooting celebration events in China's "Red Capital" Chongqing.

Led by party secretary Bo Xilai, a famous princeling-politician with a revolutionary background, the city of Chongqing orchestrated a campaign of rousing revolutionary songs, or "red songs", and mass red culture that has spread nationwide.

The picture was taken at the end of a performance and a primary school girl, who was one of the performers dressed like a member of Chinese Red Army, was walking out of the venue. You can see exactly how Chongqing was pulling out every social resource to support their giant red song carnival."

Click on NEXT to see more PHOTOS...


Image: A schoolgirl participant, dressed as a Chinese Red Army soldier, walks through a red curtain during a revolutionary song singing competition to celebrate the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in Chongqing municipality June 30, 2011
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Much more than just a loaf of bread

Prev     More
Prev

More

Photographer Yannis Behrakis's note:

"Since early that morning I was covering the refugee influx at the Libyan-Tunisian border. The Tunisian authorities along with aid agencies were trying to cope with the increasing numbers of refugees fleeing the war in Libya.

Somebody had tipped me off about a large number of Bangladeshi refugees walking the 6 miles from the border to the refugee camp. I raced to the car and drove towards the border crossing of Ras Jdir. Half way along the desert road I noticed an endless line of Bangladeshi refugees carrying their belongings making their way towards the camp, I shot plenty of pictures of them with both wide angle and long lenses, they seemed very tired but relieved to be alive and safe.

Not too long after a dozen of photographers crowded the site. Aid agencies had set up a few supply points along the road giving water and bread to the exhausted refugees, I stayed with them for some time and at some point I noticed a loaf of bread left on the side of the road; the picture idea was obvious to me. Two other news photographers were lurking near me, so I did not shoot the picture until they moved away thinking that they would shoot the same frame. I shot several frames with a wide angle lens."

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTOS...


Image: Thousands of Bangladeshi evacuees carry their belongings as they walk away from the border area where they have been stranded for more than four days after crossing into Tunisia and fleeing the violence in Libya, at the border crossing of Ras Jdir March 4, 2011. The Bangladeshis walked for 10 km (6 miles) to reach a refugee camp set by UNHCR
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     More