Photographers' Blog

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

You Got Skunked

"Skunk", the Israeli Army calls it. Good name.

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/It had been a month or so since I was last in Bilin, a village in the West Bank, north of Ramallah. Regular protests occur here every Friday over the controversial Israeli barrier fence. Palestinian, Israeli  and international protesters and activists gather near the fence to protest and sometimes throw stones at the Israeli security forces standing guard on the other side who fire teargas at the protesters. Sometimes the amount of teargas the security forces fires can be overwhelming because they are firing into open fields rather than narrow streets or houses. The gas is usually enough to turn all but the hardcore protesters back along the path from which they came.

I knew beforehand the Israeli security forces had recently introduced a new sort of smelly chemical spray, called Skunk, fired from a police water cannon. I was told by Fadi Arouri, our Ramallah photographer, how horrible it was after he experienced the lasting stink it left with him the week before. He politely offered to stay back last Friday, a few hundred meters away, to get a long shot of the tear gas being fired.

I thought, no problem, I'll get in there and get the shots before any spraying starts. I should have known better with my track record. I was once sprayed by a police water canon in Kuala Lumpur during a protest and had to walk the walk of shame through a brand new shopping mall, covered in yellow die and  pepper spray,  to find a dry shirt and a  pair of pants. Nobody in the mall wanted to serve me.

A few years later, outside the American embassy in Jakarta, I was directly hosed by a police water canon, for more than the required amount of time I might add. Moments later I discovered, to the amusement of the few hundred hard-core anti American protesters who were also there, that I was the only person who was wet.

This time in Bilin, I promised myself, it would be different.

Some of the protesters were wearing heavy yellow rain gear, the type fishermen wear or crossing guards don in storms. I wonder where they bought them, out here in the desert where it rains only a few days a year. The police water canon quickly emerged from hiding behind a house on the hill. I was already wearing my gas mask as I casually started walking backwards, trying not to appear like I was retreating.

The most difficult thing to shoot in Kashmir…

During nearly two decades of violent Kashmir conflict, I have covered fierce gun battles, between Indian soldiers and Muslim militants, suicide bombings, rebel attacks, massacres, protests, mayhem, violent elections and disasters.

But the question that always comes to mind is “what is the hardest to shoot?’

I always remember protests or riots, clashes between stone throwing protesters and gun-toting Indian troops. Stress levels quickly rise as me and my text colleague, Sheikh Mushtaq, realize that our assignment will not be easy whenever we go out, mostly on Fridays, the day when Muslims offer congregational weekly prayers, which turn into weekly protests against Indian rule in Kashmir.

from Our Take on Your Take:

Fire and ice

When Ingolfur Juliusson's first pictures of the riots in Iceland came in to Your View we had no pictures by Reuters photographers or stringers on our professional picture wire. Seeing this and the quality of the images, I sent them along to our chief photographer of the region. In cases where we use citizen journalists pictures on our professional wire it is usually the chief photographer who negotiates usage and payment for the photographer. As our chief photographer was out of the office and knowing that Europe was on deadline for these pictures, I contacted Ingolfur directly and negotiated a payment for 5 pictures.

The selection was quickly moved on the wire and it wasn't long before we saw some online play.

This screenshot is from http://www.dn.se/

A number of Your View contributors have had their pictures moved on the Reuters Pictures wire.

A toast to Adrees Latif

I’d like to add my own congratulations to the plaudits being lauded on Adrees Latif who has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. It is one hell of a picture.

The following images are unlikely prize-winners but serve to demonstrate the delight with which news of his win has been received by his Reuters colleagues. In the first Paul Barker, Editor Asia News Pictures and Asia Chief Photographer Russell Boyce toast his image;

 Adrees 2

while in the second the editorial team from text, TV, graphics and pictures at Reuters Asia HQ in Singapore drink his health as Adrees himself listens-in via the telephone on the desk to the right of the frame, from his assignment in Nepal.  

The story behind the Pulitzer picture

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.

“Tipped off by protests against soaring fuel prices, I landed in Yangon on 23 September, 2007, with some old clothes, a Canon 5D camera, two fixed lenses and a laptop.

For the next four days, I went to Shwedagon Pagoda, two-three kilometres from the centre of town and waited for the monks who had been gathering there daily at noon.