Photographers' Blog

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 21 November 2010

As I write 29 men are trapped in a coal mine in New Zealand after a methane explosion at the Pike River coal mine. Sydney based photographer Tim Wimborne is at the scene. His picture of people hugging each other so tightly seems to sum up the growing despair as they cling to the hope that the men are still alive, the moment in the picture seems to go on an eternity.

tim mine hug

Family members of miners trapped underground in the Pike River coal mine comfort each other in Greymouth on New Zealand's west coast, after visiting the mine to see rescue preparations November 21, 2010. Efforts to rescue 29 men trapped in a New Zealand coal mine faced more agonizing delays on Sunday when authorities said they would drill a new shaft to test air quality because toxic gases made it too dangerous for rescue teams go in. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Two separate disasters in buildings over the last week took over a hundred lives with police taking action against the property owners in both cases. In Shanghai,  Ali Song shooting pictures that not only convey the drama of the fire but also show the scale of the blaze by showing figures dwarfed by the smoke and flames.  The silent upturned faces of onlookers striking a chill in the heart, a mood created by Aly exposing for the highlights allowing the shadow to fall into almost complete darkness.  


Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a building in Shanghai, November 15, 2010. A 30-storey residential building caught fire on Monday, local firefighters said in a Xinhua News Agency report.  The total number of casualties has yet to be confirmed and the cause of the blaze remains unknown, the report added. REUTERS/Aly Song


Rescue workers wheel a victim out of a burning building in Shanghai, November 15, 2010. A 30-storey residential building caught fire on Monday, local firefighters said in a Xinhua News Agency report. The number of casualties as well as the cause of the blaze both remain unknown, the report added. REUTERS/Aly Song

When the smoke clears…

Tons of garbage floated alongside debris of charred wood. Residents hurried about, trying to save whatever belongings they could. There were no flash floods, but I was wading through knee-deep flood waters to cover the aftermath of a fire in Manila’s equivalent of Venice.

A fire broke out at night in one of Manila’s most densely populated cities, Malabon City, known for its year-long floods due to the coastal city’s gradual sinking. When the smoke cleared at dawn the next morning, an estimated 300 houses were burned to the ground.

As I went through the narrow streets, measuring only half a yard wide, almost all the residents I saw warned me: “Be careful!”, or “Don’t move back, you will fall in neck-deep murky water!” They were not exaggerating. Everywhere I looked, heads were sticking out among charred wood floating in the blackened water.

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