Photographers' Blog

A day at the gun range

Los Angeles, California

By Jill Kitchener

If a guy wanted to take me to a gun club for a date, I don’t know how I’d react. Growing up near Toronto, Canada, guns have never played a role in my life – most certainly not my dating life. Shooting guns as a recreational activity has never caught on in my social circle.

Yet I found myself at the Los Angeles Gun Club with photographer Lucy Nicholson while on vacation.

After a nice lunch at a neighborhood cafe we thought we’d try our luck in getting permission to shoot at the gun club – with our cameras. To my surprise, the manager was more than happy to have us document the action. She kindly provided us with headphones to save our eardrums.

We met a family with a young girl learning to shoot (the minimum age to shoot at a gun range is 10, as long as they have parental supervision). We met couples on dates, and groups of male and female friends out for some fun. Some were there to shoot the guns they owned, and some were there to try new guns before buying their own. There were tourists looking to shoot, and a swell of frat boys from a local university. Whether young or old, male or female, it seemed everyone was eager to have their shot on the range.


Photographs by Lucy Nicholson

I wasn’t expecting the level of excitement to be at such a high.

Before entering the range, customers picked their guns. I had to laugh at the cartoons of seemingly angry men drawn on some of the targets up for grabs. But before taking aim at the paper perpetrators, everyone had to learn the safety procedures. “Never point a gun at another person.” It made no difference if it was loaded or unloaded – this rule was a non-negotiable. And I was glad to hear it.

A witness to Sandy’s wrath

Superstorm Sandy slammed the U.S. East Coast on October 29, causing widespread destruction in coastal New York and New Jersey. One month later, Reuters photographers describe their working conditions during the storm and the aftermath they witnessed – including tragic stories and the resilience of people in their community.

Multimedia production by Jillian Kitchener

Choreographing our China congress coverage

Beijing, China

By Petar Kujundzic

Is there anyone against? – “Meiyou” (There is no one)

The last time I covered an important Communist Party congress was in my own country almost 23 years ago. I was the only photographer for Reuters there, shooting black and white and sending a few pictures to the wire using a drum analog transmitter. The last congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party, which ruled the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1945 until 1991, ended with a split within the League of Communists and ushered in years of violence and civil conflict… but that is a totally different story.

Last week’s 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress, by contrast, was a highly choreographed affair — no drama. In fact, during the preparation, the question arose: How do you cover one of the world’s top stories when it’s considered visually “boring.” At the same time, how do you deal with the difficulties of restricted access, especially if you are a foreign journalist in China?

On the other hand, the congress represents a rare opportunity to cover a once-in-a-decade leadership swap in one of the world’s superpowers, just a week after the dramatic and colorful presidential election in the United States. This time, as Chief Photographer in China, it was my turn to organize the coverage.

Photographing the Olympic best

Reuters photographers and editors discuss their strategy for covering Olympics track and field events from every angle, such as the highly anticipated men’s 100m final. Videography by Lucy Nicholson. Production by Jillian Kitchener.

“Bosso Fataka” turn trash into sculpture

By Tom Peter

Some call it street art; Bosso Fataka call it “joy in shaping our environment.” The environment that surrounds the four young men of this art group is the streets of Berlin, a city that some say has become Europe’s unofficial capital of unsanctioned art in the public space.

Over twenty years after the reunification, there is an abundance of derelict houses, whole swathes of industrial wasteland and railway arches that afford artists with square kilometers worth of brickwork that’s just asking to be covered in graffiti.

But art being art, this scene’s actors have gone beyond the traditional spray can work. There’s stenciling, urban knitting, urban gardening… you name it. The interested visitor can go on a tour around central Berlin, where well-informed insiders will show you the most notable examples of urban art. Bosso Fataka do what you might call “urban wrapping.”

Addicted to the needle

By Jason Reed and Larry Downing

The tattoo is as ancient as time itself.

Born out of man’s desire to draw more than straight, simple lines, today’s tattoos have evolved into beautiful interpretations by savvy artists that bend those old lines into colorful masterpieces etched onto a virgin canvas of skin with sharp needles and bright inks. Lifetimes of stories of hard love, or high adventures archived onto an arm, a leg, or for that matter, anywhere skin lives for curious eyes to enjoy forever.

The hobby of collecting tattoos has exploded into the mainstream. Look around and you’ll find them worn by anyone…. and anywhere. Annual conventions and competitions are held freely inside luxury hotels instead of hidden from view. Tattoos are even stars of their own reality television shows.

Reuters Senior photographers Jason Reed and Larry Downing traveled across the country recently to attend two different tattoo conventions in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio, while working on a multimedia project entitled, “Addicted to the Needle” which opens a window into the private world and the culture of tattooing. First up was the Hampton Roads Tattoo Festival and then the National Tattoo Association’s 33rd annual convention. Both walked out of those gatherings realizing tattoos are no longer the stamp indicating someone to be a tramp, or a biker outlaw, but instead a lover of beautiful art and personal expression.

Window to North Korea

By Bobby Yip

A ten-day media tour to North Korea is a challenge for the authorities, as well as a challenge for the press. As one side tries to highly control what should be seen and who should be interviewed, the other side tries to show the world what the reality is.

Except visits to scheduled events, in most cases photographers are not allowed to walk on the street to take photos. Many of my images were shot through the window of a media bus or on one occasion through the window of a train. Watching the street scenes and the village scenes along the way, I felt an isolation between the people and me. I also sensed the isolation between the people themselves. It is the ideology behind the surface which distinguishes North Korea from many other countries, and it shows on the streets.

Events arranged for the media to cover are colorful.

North Korea surprisingly opened their rocket launch pad, as well as the control center at the site and another on the outskirts of the capital for media visits.

72 hours in Shanghai

By Carlos Barria

Occasionally, along with covering the news stories like the economy, politics, sports and social trends, we (Reuters photographers) have time to do something really fun.

Weeks ago, over a couple of beers, a friend from the BBC had the idea of putting a camera on the hood of a car and shooting a time-lapse sequence for a story he was working on. I’d never done a time-lapse project myself, so when I was asked to come up with an idea for Earth Hour on March 31— when cities across the world switch off their lights at 8:30 pm— my colleague Aly Song and I thought we’d give it a try. We decided to shoot sequences during the three days leading up to Earth Hour, ending with the dimming of the lights in Shanghai’s city center.

(View a full screen version here)

It was also a good opportunity to buy some new toys at Chinese prices, such as suction cup camera holders used to secure the camera on top of a car or any other surface.

Obamacare under siege

By Jason Reed

President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, signed into law two years ago, is his signature domestic policy achievement. It remains a divisive issue among Americans and is likely to be a key issue ahead of the November 6 election in which he seeks a second term.

For three days this week, the nine Justices heard arguments from both sides on whether the healthcare overhaul is lawful. A ruling is expected in June.

I covered the story and gathered pictures, sound and video from the circus-like atmosphere outside the Supreme Court, and compiled supporting images from other Reuters Photographers for this multimedia project. With a Zoom H4N digital audio recorder mounted to the hotshoe of a camera, I was able to capture some ambient sound of the debate raging between participants outside the courthouse.

Two worlds of Purim

By Nir Elias

As an Israeli and a resident of “ultra” secular Tel Aviv for most of my adult life, Purim — the celebration of the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther — has always been a time of partying and dressing up, for me.

Images of Orthodox Jews celebrating Purim were always very familiar. But being present at one of these celebrations was a different experience altogether.

This year I went to photograph the Vizhnitz Hasidic community in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox city some 7 km (4 miles) from Tel Aviv. The Vizhnitz community members tend to emphasize the joyous gatherings and celebrations commemorated in the Jewish tradition.

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