JIM URQUHART, United States
“I made this image on the morning of the last day of Burning Man. I had been out looking for feature pictures through the morning after the Man had burned. As I rode my bike, the dust was blowing hard and obscuring artwork that had dotted the Playa. Instead of riding my bike up close to the artwork pictured, I chose to stop a distance away and wait until a gust of wind blew the fine powder-like talc dust across the scene.
By sitting and waiting for just a moment, I was allowed to make an image that helped capture the scale of the art while allowing the harsh environment to play a role.”
LUCAS JACKSON, United States
“This is a single image from a collection of images I took during an evening surveying the damage caused by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma this year. I felt that during the daytime it was difficult to capture how eerie it can be in the areas that were almost completely destroyed. One night I realized that by using long exposures and the eerie lights that bathed the area at night, I was finally able to capture how it felt to be there. The images by themselves might be difficult to read but as a collection they were more successful.”
BRIAN BLANCO, United States
“I keep a constant ear to the ground for news, and during the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the vibrations coming from the militias were growing louder and louder. Upon the eventual re-election of President Barack Obama, those vibrations had turned into a sound too loud for me to ignore and I knew this was a story I needed to cover.
After weeks of contacting militia leaders though back channels and message boards, I landed a face-to-face meeting with Jim Foster, the leader of the North Florida Survival Group, who after feeling out my intentions, granted me access to photograph one of their upcoming training missions in a secluded and secret area of the North Florida wilderness.
I showed up on the day of the training mission expecting to find an adversarial group weary of a journalist with a camera. Instead what I found were families; friendly people who were open and inviting to me – a stranger there trying to tell their story. Yes, their anti-government positions were clear but they made no attempt to proselytize or to interrogate me for my beliefs or opinions. They allowed me complete access to photograph anything I could see, including their training of children, some of whom carried AK-47 rifles, as they practiced enemy contact drills in preparation for a fight with the government that they appeared to honestly believe was both real and imminent.”
OSMAN ORSAL, Turkey
“When I was on the way to cover a peaceful protest, I had no idea that my picture would become one of the iconic images of a month-long uprising in Turkey. As I arrived the story was no different from hundreds of demonstrations I have covered as a photojournalist over many years. A group of enviromental activists were occupying Taksim’s Gezi Park in order to thwart a reconstruction plan as part of which dozens of trees were being uprooted. Riot police equipped with pepper spray launchers and smoke grenades asked them to leave. They resisted. I photographed as a policeman sprayed a burst of pepper gas at a protester; a woman standing in front of him in a red dress, carrying a handbag and nothing else. As the peaceful park protests evolved into full-scale countrywide violent clashes in which seven people lost their lives, my picture, “the woman in red” became one of the iconic images of the conflict. From tabloids to magazines, banners to wall grafitti, t-shirt prints to even a body tattoo, the “woman in red” became a well-known figure all around the globe.”
KEVIN LAMARQUE, United States
“I was sent to Arlington National Cemetery to photograph the headstone of a soldier on who Reuters was doing a story. While there, I wandered over to Section 60, where those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. I saw a family kneeling before a grave, and walked over to photograph them and talk a bit. The parents rose as I approached, but their daughter just laid down in front of the grave in almost a fetal position. She stayed like that as I pointed my camera to capture this very compelling moment. My visit there inspired me to follow up days later with a picture story on the the mementos that loved ones leave atop the gravestones of the ones they have loved and now lost. This photo, combined with the mementos images, is a reminder of just how fresh the wounds of these conflicts are.”
ERIK DE CASTRO, Philippines
“It was past six in the morning on the second day after Typhoon Haiyan struck when I started to cover Tacloban city on foot. I was on a road and it started to rain. Among the heavy downpour I saw the ruins of houses knocked down by the typhoon and the storm surge. I immediately thought of getting a general view shot and to take shelter from the heavy downpour. I walked towards a building on the side of the road opposite the ruins. I saw corpses in front of the building as I entered. When I reached the third floor, I immediately saw the shot. I waited for a while until I saw some typhoon survivors standing and salvaging belongings in their former houses.”
DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI, Malta
“The gostra is a tradition stretching back several hundred years and involves locals dashing up a 65-foot-long wooden pole, covered in 15 liters of lard with four flags placed at the very end, jutting out over the sea at an angle. Every year, I try to make it a point to go to photograph the game during the religious feast in the town of St Julian’s, very close to my home. It always makes good pictures and is good fun to watch. I usually compose the image and wait for the contestants to run into the frame.
Daniel Caruana’s gravity-defying run up the pole must have caught the eye because of the unique combination of his heavy-set physique and the rather hazardous act of running up the greasy pole. The 32-year-old oil rig worker looks like he’s flying along the length of the pole, but in reality, it’s a very brief snippet in time as he’s slipping and losing his footing before plunging into the sea below.”
UMIT BEKTAS, Turkey
“Reyhanli is a Turkish border town in Hatay province. Syrians use the town to enter Turkey from the Turkish Cilvegozu border gate, located opposite the Syrian commercial crossing point Bab al-Hawa which is just a few miles from Reyhanli. I have been there several times since the start of Syria’s civil war to work on various stories about Syrian refugees. In the early afternoon of May 11, twin car bombs ripped into the crowded streets near Reyhanli’s shopping district, scattering concrete blocks and smashing cars. Some 51 people were killed and dozens injured. I was in Ankara when the bombings occurred and flew to Hatay immediately. This picture was taken two days after the bombings.
Search and rescue teams were still on scene and there were still bodies being found under collapsed buildings. I decided to take a picture which would capture the size of the damage. I found a building which was also heavily damaged and deserted on the opposite side of the street. I climbed the stairs and found a spot on the roof that would be a good vantage point for pictures. The building in this picture was nextdoor to another which totally collapsed when one of the cars exploded in front of it. When the neighboring building collapsed it took the side walls of this building with it.
Suddenly, a man appeared in one of the apartments of the damaged building. He stood there for a minute and disapeared just as quickly as he had come. I don’t know who he is. But this is why I like news photography. Even if you don’t know all the details you can still tell an impressive story. We don’t know his name or his age but we know that he is a victim; victim of war, victim of violence, victim of terrorism. The apartment may be his or maybe it is one of his friend’s. He may live in Reyhanli, or he may not. Who knows? He may have lost a loved one during the blast. Even though we cannot answer these questions we can read a message by reading the picture in the right way: every day we, the people of this world, create new victims in different parts of the world just because of not understanding each other, not being respectful to people different than us…”
GIANNI MANIA, Italy
“When I arrived on the scene, the sea was continuing to give back the migrants’ belongings – bags, shoes, documents, Korans – but it was done with returning the bodies. After the initial confusion and panic as people confronted this tragedy, piety took over. All the suburned bodies had been covered up by a friendly person, in exactly the same place where the sea had given them back to the shore. One instant was all it took. The scenario in front of me was heartbreaking but in one frame you could evoke all the drama and the desolation found in a one-way trip.”
LISI NIESNER, Germany
“I already knew that I wanted to cover this story before I moved to Germany last October. I had read about Werner Freund and his wolf sanctuary in a guidebook about Germany’s western province of Saarland. I desperately wanted snow for this story, so I waited for the right time. Finally, in January, I traveled to the little town of Merzig not far from the French border. In the beginning, I was not sure what to expect and if my hopes for a good story would be fulfilled. Initially, I was disappointed that it was not possible to shoot from inside the enclosure or to put a remote camera into it. When Werner entered the enclosure my doubts quickly faded. Surprisingly, he laid down and bit into the deer’s leg. He was the alphamale so he ate as the first ‘wolf’. To me, the moment shows not only a predator coming slowly closer to the prey but it is much more an expression of subordination and respect of a wolf towards the human Werner Freund.”
SHANNON STAPLETON, United States
“I was in Williston, North Dakota, doing a story on the oil boom there. It was the heart of winter and probably around 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) in the morning when I made this photo. I was leaving early to chase the sunrise and noticed this sleeper semi-truck parked on the road outside my weekly rental. The ice was still defrosting on my window and the sun was rising. I liked the frame because in Williston the shortage of living quarters often makes the numerous men seeking a piece of the modern day gold rush live and rest anywhere possible.”
ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK, Russia
“After the adoption of a Russian law prohibiting homosexual “propaganda” to minors, I wanted to see how people live and work in gay clubs in St. Petersburg. As it turned out, nothing much had changed since the adoption of the law. People at gay clubs carried on with their night lives. In town, there were only a few clubs so I decided to visit one of them. After a phone call to the administration, I was kindly allowed to pay a visit to the club. I got there after midnight to find many visitors. The atmosphere at the club was nice, people were friendly, not shy or afraid of being photographed – that’s what I remember from my visit. Life goes on.”
WU FANG, China
“I was among a group of Chinese photojournalists who were participating in a riding tour around the lake, part of the annual Dali International Photography Festival. When I got to the streets of Shuanglang, I saw a local woman carrying a washing machine on her back. She was walking really quickly. Naturally, I raised my camera and captured the moment.”
BASSAM KHABIEH, Syria
“It was the morning of the chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta. When I arrived at the makeshift morgue, I saw people looking at the dead bodies. They could not believe what had happened during the night. They were looking for their relatives between scores of dead bodies that had arrived in Duma city, from Zamalka and Ein Tarma, in a desperate attempt to provide treatment to them before they died.
This man held an infant baby girl. She did not look dead. She looked as though she had fallen into a deep sleep. He raised her body and checked if she was really dead. He then returned her body to its place near her father and brother’s bodies who were also killed in the chemical attacks on Zamalka and Ain Tarma in the Damascus countryside.”
DAMIR SAGOLJ, Pakistan
“A man wearing traditional white Pakistani clothes disappeared from the window back into the burning building. A minute later, a different man wearing black emerged from inside but it looked like someone was holding his lifeless body. The body was slowly pushed over the edge of the window and then released. Twenty seconds later the man in white came out again. He sat calmly for a few seconds in the open window with his back turned outwards and then just fell.
And that was it; both men were dead in less than a minute. After several long hours of fighting a raging fire (or were they short hours? Time gets twisted in extreme situations like this), this part of the story ended in the way I had feared from the beginning – the worst possible way. I shot pictures of people falling from the building to their deaths, of others crying on the ground, of desperate and helpless rescue workers.”
JACKY NAEGELEN, Chile
“This photo was made from the top of a sand dune during the desert rides through a fine clay-limestone powder resulting from erosion of the land. The Paris-Dakar rally presents various and spectacular landscapes across three South American countries – Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. The combination of interesting light and rugged terrain, as riders and their vehicles pass through the frame, provide photographers with an original opportunity to make unusual images.”
FEISAL OMAR, Somalia
“I was making daily life pictures when I saw Somali children playing. I went into the Mogadishu guest house, bought a soda and sat in the hall where children were playing, swimming and cycling. I sat near them but started sipping my soda so as not to distract them from their games. They kept on playing as I glanced in all directions. I spotted children peddling in front of a beautiful background. I reached for my camera and took the image. This was the first time I had seen Somali children playing and enjoying themselves like this in more than two decades.”
DANISH SIDDIQUI, India
“This rape shook everyone in Mumbai, especially journalists because the victim was one of them. I received news of the crime early in the morning. I went to the scene and found a few policemen hanging out at the abandoned mill where the crime had been committed.
There was complete silence inside the mill and it looked like a haunted place. I made this picture because I wanted to show how scary the place looked, even during the day. For me the picture speaks for itself that this is not anyone’s regular hang out.”
MOHSIN RAZA, Pakistan
“I went to shoot pictures in the Christian neighborhood of Joseph Colony in Lahore three days after a Muslim mob had torched the area. It was heart-wrenching to see so many people crying as they sifted through the ashes of their homes, looking to see if there was anything they could salvage from the wreckage of their lives.
In one home, there was an elderly woman called Azra standing in the middle of her burnt-out kitchen. She found a small cage and cried out in grief. It was her pet parrot, who had been burned alive after the family fled their home just before the attack. Azra was very upset to imagine how the bird had suffered and was talking to the remains of her beloved pet, saying “I wish I could have saved you,” while I quietly photographed the scene.”
TYRONE SIU, Hong Kong
“The gigantic inflatable rubber duck designed by Dutch artish Florentijn Hofman docked at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, creating a splash in the city. For days, tens of thousands of Hong Kongers and tourists lined up and crowded the waterfront of this “Concrete Jungle” to get a picture of the surreal scene.
The 16.5-meter-high oversized kid’s toy turned the bustling waterfront into nothing more than a bathtub. Some said the art brought happiness as it reminded them of the innocence and pressure-free time before adulthood.
When a photo circulated on the internet which showed the yellow duck slightly limp (apparently due to an air leak) I thought it could be a special moment to look at the much-loved ducky. When I arrived on the scene with my camera, the duck was shrinking very slowly and had lowered its head into the water. The crowds were dispirited to see their childhood bath toy “dying”. Some joked that it had unfortunately caught bird flu during its short visit.
I waited until the duck was only half-floating in the water, and captured the moment before it reduced into a puddle of yellow plastic.
It was clear that there were a lot of cultural symbols that could be interpreted from this giant piece of art. A half-floating duck in the water had triggered deep feelings among the people of Hong Kong. It brought happy reminders of our care-free childhood, but it also brought a melancholy that such an innocent time was so fleeting – like the nature of all beautiful things in world.”
RICARDO MORAES, Brazil
“Arriving in Recife for a series of Confederations Cup matches, I spotted from my hotel window a group of youths playing soccer on the beach, a typical scene in Brazil. I had very little time before leaving for a Spanish team training session. I noticed the shadows of buildings along the beachfront and the effect they had on the improvised soccer field. I waited as long as I could to take advantage of the shapes created by the shadows projected on the beach. I sent the picture and raced to the training. That was my first photo of the Confederations Cup, which would last several weeks, with a lot of soccer and street riots.”
MOHAMMED SALEM, Gaza
“I got a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to photograph a wedding in Gaza. I told him I wasn’t interested but when he told me the groom was 15 years old and the bride was one year younger than him, I rushed to the location immediately.
After arriving I saw people celebrating in the street not far from the border between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. Among them was a young Palestinian boy being carried on the shoulders of relatives and friends. I couldn’t believe that the boy was the groom until I asked him and he replied with a smile, “yes I am”.
After he finished celebrating at a party held a day before the official wedding, he went to play with friends in the street where they enjoyed flavored frozen drinks.
The second day I went back and continued covering the story, the official wedding was to take place that day. I was surprised when I saw the groom’s mother helping him put on his wedding suit. I couldn’t avoid thinking that it looked as if she was dressing him for school. After that he started combing his hair using a broken piece of a mirror.
I realized how poor the family was when I noticed that he and his wife share the three-room house with the rest of the family – another nine people.
I asked the young groom if I could go with him into the house where the bride was getting prepared. When we entered the house, which was only nextdoor, I realized that the family had not yet repaired the damage that was caused from an Israeli strike in 2009. When young Soboh looked at his bride and saw she was veiled, his face became frank and serious. At that moment the bride spoke to her groom and said, “let’s smile and have our photo taken”. One thing she forgot to do before posing for the photograph was to remove her veil.”