Photographers' Blog

No turning back as Africa’s hour arrives

A local child carries a ball while playing soccer at a dirt field in Soweto, Johannesburg June 7, 2010. The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup kicks off on June 11.          REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The 2010 World Cup has been a memorable and momentous occasion not only for me, but for South Africa, the African continent and the rest of the world.

It has indeed been incredible. It has been a unifying factor, with people beginning to appreciate the importance of their national symbols such as flags.

Ghana's Samuel Inkoom runs with the South African flag after the team's victory over the United States in a 2010 World Cup second round match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 26, 2010.        REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

As a photographer for an institution such as Reuters, one can say that I have been privileged to be a part of this historic occasion. It was indeed a privilege to be among hordes of international media covering the event. I was here during the Confederations Cup, but the feeling of covering the World Cup is enormous – it is part of history.

Brazil's Michel Bastos fights for the ball with North Korea's Mun In-guk (11) during a 2010 World Cup Group G soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

This has changed the perception of those who doubted that South Africa, or Africa as a whole, could stage such a magnificent tournament. Everywhere, people have been consumed by the World Cup. Cars have been decorated with flags, houses and shops – many with the South African flag.

Performers dance near a replica of the Soccer City stadium during the opening ceremony before the 2010 World Cup opening match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.          REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

For me, the opening ceremony will forever be etched in my mind and engraved in my heart. The feeling inside the full-packed Soccer City Stadium was awesome. It was incredible seeing people shedding a tear during the national anthem. They were moved and all I could think of was the sacrifices made by the Class of ’76, those who sacrificed their lives so that we have a united, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa. As the ceremony unfolded, I said to myself: “We are reaping the fruits of June 16, 1976.”

How a simple tentacle became a media star

Sometimes I hold seminars about journalism – photo journalism in particular of course. Most of the time I start talking about the journalistic rule number one.

What is rule number one? Journalism works very simply. When a dog bites a man – this is not a story. Dogs bite men. Unless the man is Prince Charles or the President of the United States, nobody is interested. But the opposite case – when a man bites a dog – that’s a story. The story will be even bigger if the man who bites the dog is the U.S. President and the dog belongs to Prince Charles.

However, in the future I must change my seminars and change the picture from the dog to the octopus “Paul” — better known as the “octopus oracle” at the Sea Life Aquarium of Oberhausen, a former coal mining and steel producing city in western Germany.

from UK News:

Best of Britain: Fakes and spills

This week's Best of Britain brings us everything from highs and lows to fakes and spills.

Prince Harry falls off his horse as he plays polo in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor's Island in New York, June 27, 2010.   REUTERS/Stephen Lovekin/Pool

Prince Harry falls off his horse as he plays polo in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor's Island in New York, June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Stephen Lovekin/Pool

BRITAIN

Samantha Cameron poses with waxwork of her husband, Prime Minister David Cameron, at Madame Tussauds in London, July 1, 2010.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Samurais in South Africa

I arrived in South Africa with the Japan team filled with excitement and an acute feeling of anxiety. Never mind that I would be on the scene to cover the world’s biggest sporting event, and never mind that I would be competing against the top sports photographers from around the globe to get the best pictures. For a Reuters photographer like myself dedicated to a single team, when your team drops out of the competition, you’re finished. Like the defeated team, you go back to the hotel, pack your bags and spend the long flight home wondering what went wrong. Based on Japan’s lackluster showing in the East Asia Soccer Championship my expectation for Japan was three defeats in a row and no victories. Mine would be a short stay in South Africa.

A Japanese boy living in South Africa reacts as he watches Japan's national soccer team depart from South Africa at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg June 30, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

But during Japan’s first match against Cameroon the Samurai Blue seemed to transform themselves in front of my eyes with Keisuke Honda’s goal being the catalyst. Japan was defeated by the Netherlands in their second match but the Samurais demonstrated the unity of the team in their performance and they were victorious against Denmark in their third match. In doing so they completely wiped out the image that I held of the Japan team before going into the competition. I was covering the world’s biggest sporting event, and I was going up against the top sports photographers, but in this World Cup Japan’s victory meant that the formidable teams of France and Italy and the even more formidable photographers accompanying them were going home. Not me.

Japan's Shinji Okazaki hugs Keisuke Honda (18) as they celebrate their victory against Denmark after their 2010 World Cup Group E soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

On June 29, 2010, Japan faced Paraguay in World Cup match 55. Even after extra time the game remained scoreless and a penalty shoot-out would determine the outcome. I moved into position according to the instructions of Chief Photographer UK and Ireland Dylan Martinez, the leader of the Reuters photographers for this match.

Looking ahead to England vs Germany

Photographers Dylan Martinez and Kai Pfaffenbach discuss what they expect from Sunday’s World Cup match between England and Germany.

from UK News:

Best of Britain: England pride

This week's Best of Britain photos show the many different angles of people's pride in England.

With the World Cup in full swing, one photo shows a house wrapped with fabric in the shape of St. George's Cross ahead of the match against the United States.  While another shows a man with a British flag being held back by police during a counter-protest.

Also with their patriotic pride on display is a long line of Chelsea Pensioners, spectators at the Trooping the Colour ceremony, and the glamorous hats at the Royal Ascot.