Photographers' Blog

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A week in pictures 14 August 2011

This week Pakistan marked its day of independence from British rule with parades, parties, face painting and bombs.  Two pictures of faces covered in colour, one paint, the other blood, seems to sum up all there needs to be said about the national pride Pakistan feels while facing so many challenges. Visually the complementary colours of green and red (colours on opposite sides of the colour spectrum) make the pictures jump out of the page especially when put side by side. The angry eye staring out of the face of green in Mohsin Raza's picture engages the viewer full on while in Amir Hussain's picture the man seems oblivious of his wound as blood covers his face, again more opposites, this time not in colour but mood. India too is preparing to celebrate its independence and Dehli-based photographer Parivartan Sharma's picture of festival preparations came to mind after I put together the red-and-green combination picture from Pakistan.  

 

(top left) A man, with his face painted depicting the colours of the Pakistan national flag, attends a ceremony to mark the country's Independence Day at the Wagah border crossing with India on the outskirts of Lahore August 14, 2011. Pakistan gained independence from British rule in 1947. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

A man, his face bloodied by a head injury, is held by a resident as he waits to be evacuated from the site of a bomb blast in Dara Allah Yar, located in the Jaffarabad district of Pakistan's Balochistan province, August 14, 2011. A bomb ripped through the two-story building in Pakistan's restive southwest on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly 20, police said. REUTERS/Amir Hussain 

A worker installs decorations to a tent to be used for independence day celebrations in Noida, in the outskirts of New Delhi August 14, 2011. India commemorates its independence day on August 15. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

A roller-coaster week in global markets kept many of the team in Asia busy illustrating one of the hardest stories to shoot pictures for, the fall and rise of stocks, currencies and markets. On news of the United States losing its triple-A rating the markets fell only to be later buoyed by good news on employment. Gold prices rose and currencies fell on more bad news from the euro-zone, the Asia market always being one of the first to react. The question in every photographers' mind was "what to take pictures of?". One minute the markets are up and the  next down, currency changes are good for one part of the country's economy but bad for another. From Pakistan and India across to China, Japan, South Korea and down to Australia, the pictures the team produced are a visual feast of the turmoil.

The face of despair – ‘Oh Joy!’

Let me explain – because of course I don’t enjoy the misfortune of others.

In some respects the advent of new technology has been a backward step for photographers, for the simple reason that it is so boring and dull to look at. Politicians, and company results press conferences, have always presented a challenge to the creative photographer because they are often visually unexciting. But trying to find a hint of expression, when the financial markets head south these days, is a nightmare, because the computer screen has taken over the traditional trading floor.

Which is why it was such a pleasure to see Brendan McDermid’s photographs last week, of the floors of the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange, where traditional looking traders displayed traditional reactions, in a traditional setting.

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