Photographers' Blog

from Route to Recovery:

Voices on the road

Homeless for several months, struggling with addiction and a serious health issue, Dale Harvey has now turned his life around. He has gotten clean, had surgery and moved into his own apartment. On Monday when he moved in, he rented a moving truck and offered his services for free to anyone who needed help moving their belongings. Dale tells his story in the multimedia piece above.

ROUTE TO RECOVERY from Carlos Barria on Vimeo.

A traditional art with young faces

Cantonese opera, one of the major categories of Chinese opera, targets tens of millions of people speaking the regional dialect, mostly based in the southern Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, including the cities of Hong Kong and Macau.

The United Nations recently proclaimed Cantonese opera, which involves singing, acting and sometimes martial arts, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Among all such opera groups in the territory, the Hong Kong Young Talent Cantonese Opera Troupe is made up of the youngest professional artists in town, many of them in their 20s. In this opera, a 16-year-old girl, who has studied Cantonese opera for ten years, is cast in the main role of a man, normally performed by older actors.

Former Iron Curtain oddity now a tourist hotspot

Former Iron Curtain oddity now a tourist hotspot

By Caroline Copley

MOEDLAREUTH, Germany – A tiny village of 50 residents straddling the former border dividing East and West Germany and nicknamed “Little Berlin” has preserved its own 100-meter section of the Iron Curtain — for tourists.

For more than 38 years Moedlareuth belonged to two different countries and ideological systems. The 2.5 meter (eight foot) high Wall, similar to the famous Berlin Wall, remains a fixture in the village center even 20 years after Communism collapsed.

Nowadays the farming hamlet that lies some 300 km (186 miles) south of Berlin has become a prime destination for tourists searching for the remnants of the Communist era when East and West Germany were divided.

South African grannies’ got game

South African grannies catch World Cup feverBy Ndundu SitholeTZANEEN, South Africa (Reuters) – World Cup fever has spread to South African grannies, with hundreds of poor, elderly women in aprons and skirts fighting for the ball in township games.Twice a week they swap domestic chores for football, donning soccer boots instead of their usual rubber sandals to play in local matches.The 35 women on the Vakhegula Vakhegula squad — meaning ‘Grannies’ in the local Xitsonga dialect — range from 40 to more than 80 years old and live in a township near Tzaneen, 600 kms north of Johannesburg.Competition is fierce among the eight teams in the region and the women say soccer is the best exercise, much better than their usual manual work at home and in the fields.”I like to play soccer because it helps us. We were sick, but now our temperatures, our blood pressures…have gone down …even our doctors are amazed when we go for a check-up,” said 47-year-old Nari Baloyi, one of the youngest on the team.Nora Makhubela has suffered six strokes yet the 83-year-old great-grandmother said kicking a ball around had given her strength she did not think she still had.”My life has really changed…if I were to run with you I would beat you even though I’m much older,” she said, smiling.NEW PURPOSEMakhubela dreams of being around long enough to watch the one-month World Cup finals in South Africa starting on June 11 next year.”I pray every day to God to keep me alive until 2010. I would really love to watch the games,” she told Reuters.The team have proposed playing a curtain raiser before one of the first-round World Cup matches and said national soccer authorities had told them they would consider the idea.Community worker Beka Ntsanwisi said she started the team three years ago to help older women exercise all their limbs and to give them a new purpose in life.”Some of them couldn’t even walk properly and if they did something in their free time they would be knitting or sewing and sitting all the time…here they run, shout, fight with you…it keeps them young,” she said.Coach David Maake said working with the women had given him greater satisfaction than any other coaching job.”With young boys you need more money to achieve many things…here, I may come with my stress…but I will laugh so much until I forget everything,” he said.NOISY TRUMPETSThe team lacks proper funding, with each woman pitching in around $1 a month for soccer balls, kit and travel to their bi-annual competitions with teams from other regions.Ntsanwisi, who uses her own money to help fund the teams, hopes one day to attract sponsors.Dozens of local fans support the grannies’ games, cheering and blowing vuvuzelas — noisy, plastic trumpets that create a cacophony of noise that is unique to South African soccer.”I feel good when the (grannies) play soccer so that they can be fit and strong,” said 13-year-old Chamelius Bayani.Winning seems secondary. Some of the grannies look as if they are struggling to keep going during a game after a long day of housework.Most come to practice straight from cleaning their houses and cooking meals or after selling food along the township’s streets.Missing a practice is unheard of, however, they say.”I was too fat…now I can run and teach my grand-kids how to kick. I feel great,” Baloyi said.

Temple of Heaven

China’s elderly find life and joy in exercise

By Grace Liang and Lucy Hornby

BEIJING – Gao Mingyuan has found joy at age 66.

Joy, in his case, consists of bending himself double and hooking his legs around a pole that runs behind his shoulders, in a Chinese meditative martial arts tradition.

Gao is one of many Chinese seniors, freed from the rigors of work and raising children, who are turning to martial arts such as tai chi, bopping to trendy beats or singing patriotic songs as they seek health and friends in parks across the country.

“We forget all our troubles when we practice,” he said as he contorted himself at the Temple of Heaven, where seniors exercise beneath the gnarled trees at dawn.

Making a submarine with scrap

Amateur inventor Tao Xiangli scoured second-hand markets for two years in search of spare parts for more than just a broken appliance. He’s built a home-made submarine he hopes will give him his big break. Read the full story here.

Base jumping, Lauterbrunnen

It was a very busy summer for us in Switzerland, covering topics such as politics, sport, business and even the weather. After shooting all these events, my colleague Pascal Lauener and I finally found time to cover base jumping in the Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen. Fortunately, we met a local mountain guide who introduced us to a group of base jumpers called Team Ill Vision. On the first day, we had the chance to do an interview with the local priest who, over the past 18 years, has grown to know the valley and its residents.

We slept in the car during the night in Lauterbrunnen, as we planned to photograph the valley at dark through long exposures, showing the cliffs under the starry sky. Because we knew we would be photographing during most of the night and only sleeping a few hours, it wasn’t worth finding a hotel. After sleeping for a few hours, we rose early to go with Team Ill Vision and the mountain guide Martin Schuermann to the exit point, known as “Highnose”, from where base jumpers bail out into the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

We mounted cords to secure us in a climbing harness. And we had the mountain guide set up a remote camera on a cord about one meter under the jumpers for a different angle. These remotes allowed us to get pictures from three different angles of the same jump.

Times of Crisis

View the full Times of Crisis multimedia presentation here.

Tibetan mountain spirits


Every summer the green hills of Rebkong are home to unique celebrations during which local Tibetans believe the mountain gods visit villagers -- and each other -- through human mediums.

Reuters photographer Christina Hu documents the celebrations in the multimedia presentation above. To read the full story click here.

Self-made Bionic Man

Bob Radocy of TRS Inc. lost his his left hand when he fell asleep at the wheel and side swiped a semi-trailer truck. He now designs and builds prosthetic attachments that allow amputee athletes to participate in multiple sports. Bob tells photographer Rick Wilking about his motivations in this multimedia piece.

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