The images of the earthquake relief effort in China have been horrifying and deeply moving and remind me what has always been so compelling about my job – the ease and speed with which still pictures can impart so much readily understood information to so many people.
Day 8 – After travelling 4 days from Lhasa Airport, and spending 4 days at 5200 metres, we are all feeling the effects of altitude but mostly suffering from frustration at the lack of information about the Olympic torch. Mark Chisolm, Reuters Cameraman and Producer, Nick Mulvenney, Reuters Correspondent and myself travelled from Beijing on April 25 to Tibet to cover the Olympic torch’s ascent of Mount Everest. We are currently at a make-shift press centre located near Everest Base Camp. Facilities consist of an extremely good media centre, with amazingly fast internet, a press conference room, that doesn’t provide the media with any information (but I will get onto that later), small basic cabins that offer fairly comfortable beds but are just plain freezing, a dining room with excellent food, and last but certainly not least, the toilet block. Oh wow!! I cannot even begin the try and find the words… so I will leave it at that.
For sub-editors on Reuters Singapore Picture Desk, one of this year’s performance targets is a “shooting assignment”. They have to select and plan a valid photographic assignment and then shoot pictures for the wire. The exercise is intended to give them practical insight into the working lives of busy photographers in the field and the decisions and operational challenges they face on a daily basis.
Japan’s sleepy town of Iga offered an opportunity for me to write my first story for the news wire. Iga is known to many Japanese as one of the traditional home towns of the ninja. I was looking forward to seeing tens of thousands ninja clad enthusiasts, the ninja themed-train and a house with secret escape passages – the home of a real ninja.
The casual observer could be forgiven for wondering whatever happened to the Italian election. For a country which prides itself on the “colourful” antics of its political class, this year the vote was devoid of spectacle and celebration, which photographers prey upon. Silvio Berlusconi won the prime minister’s post after Walter Veltroni conceded defeat in a deadpan speech in Rome, and the best Silvio could do was telephone a few TV stations to say he was “moved”. I pleaded with our staff photographers to provide reaction pictures from party supporters either on the winning or losing side, but it was the equivalent of an emotional dustbowl in the streets of Rome. The only things missing were tumbleweeds blowing through the streets like in a Spaghetti Western. I’ve seen countless election campaigns in my career but this goes into the books as the dullest one… As a colleague noted, due to the stagnant economy this was probably a good election to lose, which may explain the lack of fanfare.
Reuters Bangkok senior photographer Adrees Latif tells how he took the pictures which won him a Pulitzer Prize. The pictures were taken in Myanmar during the protests in September last year and include the photo of Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai being shot.
The State visit to Britain by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni drew widespread attention not the least from the massed ranks of photographers and televison crews keen to record the couple’s every step. No cliche was left unturned as members of the press vied with one another to describe their partnership.