Photographers' Blog

Finding resilience after a tornado

Vilonia, Arkansas
By Carlo Allegri

A U.S. flag sticks out the window of a damaged hot rod car in a suburban area after a tornado near Vilonia, Arkansas April 28, 2014.REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The phone rang past midnight. It was my editor asking if I was available to jump on a plane at 6 a.m. to cover the devastating tornado that had raged across central Arkansas just north of Little Rock.

An upturned truck lies under a tree that has lost most of its branches, following a tornado near Vilonia, Arkansas, at sunset April 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

On a layover in Dallas, I found out our editors had arranged an aerial photo flight so we could get pictures out to our clients early the next day. When I landed in Little Rock, a shuttle was waiting to take me to the private side of the airport for my charter. This pre-planning meant there was no wasted time.

After about an hour of the roughest, most turbulent flight I’ve ever had over the hardest-hit areas of utter devastation, we turned around and headed back to the airport.

Men use boards as paddles as they search though the debris of what is left of homes in a lake after a tornado hit the town of Vilonia, Arkansas April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

When I landed, I uploaded a wide selection of photos to my editor Adrees Latif to prep and file to the wire, while I headed out in my rental car to provide coverage from the ground.

Being up in the sky gave me an advantage; I knew exactly where to go. This planning and teamwork made for a long but very efficient day of shooting.

How to make a wax statue

Paris, France

By Philippe Wojazer

When I was very young, my parents took me to Paris’ famed Grevin Wax Museum. I can still recall wandering amongst the important figures of the time, historical heroes and rock stars. I remember how impressed I was by those strange, still people and being frightened by the way they seemed to stare back at you. It was as if a magician had cast a spell on those famous people.

Paris' Grevin Wax Museum hairdresser Virginie Dahan puts the final touches to Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger wax statue in the Grevin Wax Museum in Prague

Years passed, and recently I went back there and asked if I could spend some time in their workshop and see how this spell was cast. When I told them the story of my childhood visits they granted me access to the “magical tower” of the museum’s workshop in order to shoot some pictures for Reuters.

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Paris' Grevin Wax Museum staff work around the wax statue of late French singer Edith Piaf in their workshop in Paris

Gallery: How to make a wax statue

A few weeks later, the press attaché called me to say that they were about to make 70 statues for their new museum in Prague and I would be welcome in their workshop. But I had to promise not to disclose its address to anyone. I felt like Harry Potter trying to find platform 9 3/4 to take the train to Hogwarts.

Playing ‘naked’ soccer in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Sergio Moraes

Why do we Brazilians refer to our neighborhood soccer matches as ‘peladas’? A search on the web brings up many answers, but not one is really definitive. In English ‘pelada’ means ‘naked’ in the feminine gender, but none of the answers I found has to do with playing the sport with no clothes on.

One version talks of street soccer where everyone plays barefoot, or with ‘naked’ feet, running after the ball without a referee or any regard for rules.

Players battle for the ball during a Sunday "pelada" soccer match in the Borel favela of Rio de Janeiro, a World Cup host city, May 4, 2014. Sunday soccer is a decades-old tradition when Brazilians of all walks of life play on the beaches, in the slums, and on the streets matches that are known as "peladas" or "naked". Pelada can refer to a street match where everyone plays barefoot with ÒnakedÓ feet, or a match on a grassless ÒnakedÓ field, or a match with a ball so worn that it is Ònaked.Ó With the 2014 World Cup just one month away, people of all walks of life in the host cities are spending their Sundays practicing the sport for which their country is about to become the global stage. The tournament will take place in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Natal, Fortaleza, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Manaus, and Recife. Picture taken May 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL)

The version that strikes me as most coherent is in reference to the fields where weekend matches are played – most of them are grassless, or ‘naked’, as the description fits.

Truth or Consequences – Spaceport

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
By Lucy Nicholson

Spaceport America's Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Building is seen near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Having just trundled past cattle and tumbleweed through the high desert red plains of southern New Mexico, Elizabeth Mixon stepped off a tour bus to face the future.

A tourist photographs Spaceport Operations Center at Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

She breathed in the dry air at the edge of Spaceport America and imagined the adventure of the first tourists destined to launch from the nearly quarter-billion-dollar facility.

“If you got up there, it would just be you and God,” she exclaimed with a smile on her face. “Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Pakistan’s beasts of burden

Choa Saidan Shah, Pakistan
By Sara Farid

A donkey carrying sacks of coal walks through the narrow tunnels of a coal mine, in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab province April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

The miners call their donkeys their “biggest treasure”, an animal whose strength and patience lets them work in some of the world’s most dangerous mines. But life in Pakistan’s mines is dangerous for everyone – there’s a constant risk of cave-ins, and the black dust floating in the air slowly fills up the lungs of both man and beast.

A young miner leads his team of donkeys back to the coal face to collect more coal underground in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab province April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

The donkeys make twenty trips a day from the depths of the mine to the storage site where they dump the coal. For each trip, they are loaded up with coal sacks weighing 20 kg (44 lbs) each. The teams of four to six animals are guided to the surface, unloaded, then obediently turn and walk again towards the black hole.

A young miner rushes his donkeys back into the coal mine to fetch another load of coal in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab Province May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

A miner with a stick in his hand walks his donkeys into the depths of a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab province April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

The workers have made a choice to be down here, I think, even if it’s a bad choice made by poor people with few options. The donkeys haven’t chosen this life, but nevertheless they trudge trustingly up and down the tunnels, wounds on their backs and faces covered with coal dust. Why no bandages? I asked the miners. They laughed. Life inside the mines is hard for everyone.

Dude, let’s go bowling

Los Angeles, California
By Mario Anzuoni

Enthusiast Kim Holden prepares to bowl during the Lebowski Fest LA Bowling Party in Fountain Valley, California April 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The Lebowski Fest is a two-night traveling festival that celebrates the cult 1998 movie “The Big Lebowski” by the Coen brothers.

The first night is usually a musical event followed by a screening of the movie, while the second night is held at a bowling alley where all the enthusiasts – or as they often call themselves, “achievers” – gather for unlimited bowling and a costume contest.

The second night was definitely more visual. The “achievers” were out in full force, some even traveling from Australia, armed with good spirit, great attitude and most of all celebrating the legacy of this movie with costumes and impersonations sometimes derived literally from one line from the movie.

The five marathoners

Boston, Massachusetts

By Dominick Reuter

The story about the four marathoners who supported their fellow racer in a moment of pain at the recent running of the Boston Marathon made waves in classic social media fashion.

I was covering the race for Reuters that day, and was near the Forum restaurant in case anything significant happened at the time and place of last year’s second attack.

Spectators watch the race at approximately 2:50pm, around the time of last year's bombings, near the Forum restaurant on Boylston Street during the 118th running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

Shortly after that moment I heard the crowd starting to make noise and noticed a man I would later learn was Team Hoyt’s Adam Hurst struggling but still standing, legs locked after just having passed 26 miles. The cheers from the sidelines were louder than anything I had heard all day, urging him on, but his body wouldn’t cooperate. That’s when a man, I think David Meyer, stopped his run and offered help.

Instagram – a platform for professionals?

London, United Kingdom

By Russell Boyce

Global Editor, News Projects, Reuters Pictures

Two amazing pictures showed up on my screen over the past few days. The first was from Myanmar, where a Rohingya Muslim woman was pictured holding her malnourished twins. The second captured a deadly explosion in Iraq.

Both were sent out to our clients on the newswire, and I decided to share them on social media. First I posted them to Twitter, with links to Reuters.com slideshows and our Wider Image website. The people who follow us on Twitter know what to expect – breaking news pictures from around the globe including some images that are quite brutal.

Then I went to Instagram. I paused. Over the last few months, Reuters’ Instagram account has increased its following to almost 50,000. Each picture gets an average of over 1,000 likes and the numbers are growing.

All at sea – tales from Korea’s disputed border

Baengnyeong, South Korea

By Damir Sagolj

 A blue dot on a map shows a phone's current position on the island of Baengnyeong that lies just on the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea April 13, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Look at the little blue dot showing a current position on a map: that is the island of Baengnyeong. The map might suggest this outcrop is deep inside North Korea but it’s not. The hand in the picture is mine, the phone with its high-speed internet connection is also mine, and the barbed wire is South Korean.

Baengnyeong – like a few other islands I visited recently – lies on the South’s side of the disputed maritime boundary that separates the two Koreas at sea. Known as the Northern Limit Line, it is an extension of the more famous land border between North and South Korea – the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ – but it curves further to the north. It is the line between two fierce neighbors whose war started over six decades ago and never really ended.

I had seen many pictures of the DMZ but very few of the NLL. The DMZ looks scary but familiar: it is the world’s most heavily armed border, and the only serious boundary remaining from the Cold War.

Times of protest

Caracas, Venezuela

By Jorge Silva

April 12 marked two months since the first people died in a wave of unrest that hit Venezuela this year. The day sat between the April 11th anniversary of the 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chavez, and April 13th – the day that he managed to return to office. Those dates still serve as a reminder of the political division and sense of confrontation that has long existed in this country.

Last year I was part of a team covering protests that erupted following the 2013 presidential election, which was called after Chavez’s death. The clashes finally subsided and we put away our riot gear – gas masks, flak vests and helmets – confident that we wouldn’t need it again so soon.

But this year demonstrations started up again, initially as regular as any stage performance. Protesters, police and journalists would all arrive in the upscale neighborhood of Altamira at the same sort of time, in the same place, each afternoon.