Photographers' Blog

Operating on an implant scandal


By Eric Gaillard

The PIP breast implant scandal or how a French news story became a global health problem.

During a recent daily news briefing, I learned from a Paris-based editor that a plastic surgeon in Nice named Dr. Denis Boucq had decided to remove breast implants manufactured by a French company called Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) as a precaution.

After some research, I found the surgeon’s contact details. I thought to myself that with such a busy schedule, he would be unlikely to give me an immediate appointment. I took a chance and to my surprise his secretary told me “Come in 30 minutes. He will see you between two patients.”

Following two hours of waiting, the doctor saw me and asked for details on my project. I explained that because of his statements on the breast implant health issue, I would like to see the implants and make images of their removal. Again, to my surprise, the doctor availed himself and showed me the only box of PIP implants that he had and the defective implants that he had removed from a patient.

Boucq told me that he would contact me the following week; the week of Christmas that I had planned my vacation for…

Following a nuclear train

By Fabrizio Bensch

126 hours from La Hague to Gorleben; the longest ever nuclear waste transport from Germany to France

This is a retrospective on the past 10 years, during which I have covered the nuclear waste transportation from France to Germany many times. The German nuclear waste from power plants is transported in Castor (Cask for Storage and Transport of Radioactive material) containers by train to the northern German interim storage facility of Gorleben.

As the train came closer to its final destination, I would end up with only a few hours sleep, mile-long marches on foot through forests and fields and never-ending police checkpoints. But in the end each castor transport reached its intended destination.

Tour de France 2011 – A long way to Paris

This year’s riders of the Tour de France covered 3430.5 km (2131.6 miles), divided into 21 stages, according to the Tour’s official website.

What you may not know is that the Reuters pictures team covering 2011′s most-watched sporting event managed to tally up some 10,000 km (6213 miles).

I was excited to cover the race but aware that despite careful planning, any big job can have its moments of near disaster. After meeting at the Reuters office in Paris with team leader (and Italy chief) photographer Stefano Rellandini and French photographer Pascal Rossignol we checked all our equipment, made sure our laptops were working, that our passwords were valid and that Mifi was setup. We picked up our local phones and configured wireless transmission devices from cameras. One thing’s for sure — the planning stage is essential on a big job like this, and a good team spirit never hurts either.

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