ATHAR HUSSAIN, Pakistan
“I had become severely ill in the days target killings in Karachi hit their peak. Covering breaking news is my passion. I figured the best way to get over my illness was to rejoin news coverage on August 23. The same day a source called to inform me that a dead body, found in a sack, was being shifted to a hospital. I rushed to the hospital where I found that the victim was Imran Ali. He was not dead, but in fact only injured.
Ali ,who was shot by gunmen three times during a months long wave of political and ethnic violence in Karachi, was lying on a stretcher while medics tended to his wounds. I was preparing to shoot some frames when I saw a family, including Ali’s eight-year-old niece, approach his stretcher.
I disengaged with everything and kept my focus on the girl, Sumayya, as she stood next to her uncle’s bed. As Ali opened his eyes to look towards his family, Sumayya’s mouth dropped. It was the moment I was waiting for.”
BRIAN SNYDER, United States
“At its most basic, and least cynical, political campaigns are about politicians trying to connect with voters, and voters connecting with a particular candidate. As a photographer covering a political event, I want to try to show that in my photographs, which means getting beyond a photograph of a politician speaking at a podium. Oftentimes it takes the form of politicians shaking hands with voters. But in this case, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was clearly determined to keep her distance from the crowd. She shook no hands as she made her way onstage, and as it turned out, none at the end of her speech. After making some photographs of Palin speaking, I positioned myself at the edge of the stage near the girl reflected in her iPad, thinking if Palin was going to shake some hands or sign some autographs, she would come over to the girl. The girl was taking photographs and videos of Palin with her iPad during the speech, so the reflection was right there for me to see as I stood there. The rest was figuring out how much depth of field I wanted in the image and lining up the girl’s reflection in the iPad’s screen.”
JON NAZCA, Spain
“Antonio Banderas is a prophet in his homeland.
He was elected to deliver the traditional speech known as the “Pregon” to declare the year’s Malaga Holy Week open at Cervantes Theatre in Malaga. He arrived at the theatre very happy accompanied by his wife Melanie Griffith and their daughter Estela del Carmen.
I like taking pictures of him, because he knows what the photographers want of him. He is a lover of his city and a latin lover in the world. He loves the Holy Week and takes part as a penitent in the “Esperanza”, “Lagrimas y Favores” and “Fusionadas” brotherhoods. During this week it is very difficult to take pictures of him, but during the “Pregon” all is easier.
While Banderas was delivering his speech, I decided to send the first photos for the wire, but my 3G modem had no signal inside the theatre, so I had to go outside to send them. Many people were watching Banderas’ speech on a live screen TV outside the theatre very excited, like these two lovers… of Banderas.”
NAVESH CHITRAKAR, Nepal
”It was very early in the morning that I was on my way to shoot some daily life pictures as there were no big events happening in Kathmandu during that day. I was planning to visit the ancient city of Patan to shoot some pictures. On my way to Patan, my eyes fell on these two small children sitting on top of their luggage waiting to be fetched in Lalitpur, likely to leave the city. I was on my motor bike looking at them from the other side while I was driving. I immediately turned my bike and knew that this would make a good picture so I parked my bike and went close. I took out my camera and took a couple of shots of the boys. Their parents were close by watching me while I took the pictures. For the glowing effect on the boy’s face I waited for a vehicle to pass by, that created the mood in the picture. After taking a couple of pictures I thanked the boys and their parents and headed back for Patan. I was fortunate that I was at the right time, right place and right moment to get an opportunity to shoot the pictures of these boys.”
DYLAN MARTINEZ, Egypt
“You know how some days will stay with your forever? Well on February 11, 2011 I could tell you what I had for breakfast and what socks I was wearing (and not just because I am a creature of habit). What a day and what a night that was. I had been in Egypt for a couple of wonderful, stressful, beautiful and crazy weeks and was out shooting when our editor Steve Crisp called saying there were more rumors that President Hosni Mubarak was actually about to quit and I should hurry to Tahrir Square. Lucky, lucky, lucky me, I was only a couple of minutes away. What was not so lucky was when I arrived in Cairo custom officials had confiscated most of my kit – leaving me with a small camera and a 50mm lens. Steve had graciously lent me a couple of bodies and lenses but between us we had no flash gun.
Anyway as most of the world was waiting for Mubarak to step down I watched nervously as the light disappeared faster than a neutrino in a Swiss lab. So when the news finally broke that Mubarak had gone I had to find light – there was none. A temporary power cut made the street lights (my savior on many a previous night) redundant. I watched as all these jubilant protestors jumped and hugged and kissed and prayed and there was nothing I could do except weep as I shot too many unusable muzzy images. I was living my recurring nightmare. Thankfully, soon the power came back and patches of light appeared. I saw this guy holding a computer aloft like it was the World Cup and chanting “internet, internet…” I took a lot of frames that night but this one seems to tell the story of what had become known as the “facebook revolution”.”
IRAKLI GEDENIDZE, Georgia
“On May 26, the opposition refused to stop the rally in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi in spite of the offer from the authorities, after which riot police appeared on Rustaveli Avenue. It was raining heavily so for me there was no sense to use flash. When the rally was dispersed and the smoke from tear gas disappeared I saw a person in handcuffs, there was blood on his face asking for help. I immediately shot his face which was begging for help without words. Then I asked a nearby police officer for a doctor’s help. The detained man was later taken to hospital.”
DIANA MARKOSIAN, Russia
“I was in Chechnya when the airport bomber’s name, Magomed Yevloyev, was announced. His family lived in the nearby republic of Ingushetia. I had no contacts or real understanding of where his family lived. A colleague at Reuters warned me that another journalist and a photographer had been arrested for trying to get into Yevloyev’s home for an interview. I decided to wait a day before driving there. I left from Grozny very early in the morning and parked my car far from her home. It is incredibly difficult to operate in the North Caucasus, there’s an insurgency taking place in the region. This situation was especially intense because the family’s home was closely monitored by federal security forces.
I was lucky to make it into her home and was the first to interview and photograph the suicide bomber’s mother. She sat on her dead son’s bed during the conversation. I took her portrait right away and hid the camera’s memory card in my shoe, just in case I was stopped. It took me about an hour to get back to the city where I transmitted the images back to the bureau in Moscow.”
O YONG-HAK, Japan
“After spending days in the terrible earthquake and tsunami hit area, I was dispatched to Tokyo to cover stock markets and other reactions. I felt it was time to prepare to return to my home base, Seoul. Then I got an assignment to watch evacuations in Saitama, near Tokyo. It was nine days after the disaster. The previous day about 2,300 people mainly from Futaba area, a city near the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, arrived in the evacuees’ new shelter Saitama Super Arena to evacuate after radiation leakage warnings. When I arrived at the sports complex, I saw many people carrying relief goods and waiting in lines to donate it. I took pictures of the scene. Then I entered the building to see the evacuees’ lives. The large-scale arena was already crowded with lots of evacuees. In every hallway there were tired people who had to leave their hometown. The Saitama arena was located about 250 km (155 miles) away from Futaba.
This elderly man and woman who seemed to be a married couple rested in a hallway of the arena. They built their new house in a space cordoned off with cardboard in a hallway. Maybe six or seven cardboard boxes were used to make their own space. There was a small gate too. They surely brought almost nothing when they left suddenly from their home. The couple had only about-three-square-meters of space and some relief supplies like blankets, bread, cup noodles and water bottles. The cardboard house would be their home for a while until they could go back home. As it turned out, most media, maybe all journalists except me, couldn’t cover the evacuees in the arena. Because I couldn’t read Japanese, I just passed the warning sign, ‘No media access (in Japanese)’, it read at the entrance to the arena.”
LUCAS JACKSON, United States
“This image was part of a collection that we photographed in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Fellow staff photographer Mike Segar had built a really great working relationship with the people from the Museum and we had been going in periodically to photograph both the construction of the new towers and the museum as it planned out their exhibits and acquired artifacts related to the disaster. We photographed around 20 different artifacts that had been donated to the museum that had a direct connection to September 11th as a special package we coordinated with text, video, and stills. Most of the items that we photographed that day were donated by the people who had either worn the items or had some connection to them, including these shoes. Seeing the hardened blood on the side of these was a rather poignant detail and I decided that for this image I wanted to isolate that piece of the story. Most of the other items were photographed with a soft box and at a very high aperture in order to preserve as much detail as possible but I really felt that the isolation helped this image.”
JAKOB DALL for the DANISH RED CROSS, Kenya
“It was a very hot and dry day in Hadado village in the Wajir district in Kenya. I was in Hadado village, to cover the drought situation in the area for the Danish Red Cross. There was not many picture stories, at that stage about the drought situation, but the NGO tried to get the public’s attention to the situation that worsened every day.
When I came into Hadado it was like a nightmare for the people living there. There was very little water and small fights over the resources broke out around the borehole. The village population was normally 400 families but now people had to flee to get some of the water and food from the WFP, so the population was more then 1200 families and people was still coming from far away.
The two elderly women in this picture were new arrivals and weren’t registered to get food, so they were dependent on other families to give them just a little food to survive. The woman in red stood up in front of me, so I could take her picture and show their hopeless situation out here in what has become a desert.”