Asia – A week in pictures, 19 June 2011

June 21, 2011

Last week a report came out listing which countries are the most dangerous places for women to live; three of them were in Asia — Afghanistan, Pakistan and India — and the other two were Congo and Somalia. Afghanistan topped the list. I shamelessly include in this week’s highlights a picture shot by Afghanistan-based Ahmad Masood that I think is one of the strongest images ever shot illustrating the harsh life of some women in Kabul. You can almost feel the cold and wet seep into your bones as they beg for money for food for their families.

Women beg on a road as snow falls in Kabul January 13, 2009. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

 As NATO forces prepare to start to pull out of Afghanistan photographer Baz Ratner has been embedded with Canadian forces. During the same week Masood was on set as filming started on a motion picture about violence against women. I love the compositional similarities of the pictures and the fact that only the presence of the cameras in Masood’s pictures gives the viewer an insight into which is real and which is make-believe.  The final picture from Afghanistan shows the victim of an attack by insurgents in Kabul who fought their way into a police compound before being shot dead by security forces. The calm of Masood’s picture as a scarf is laid over the body of the fighter belies the havoc the man had been creating just moments before.

Canadian soldiers from the 6th Platoon, Bulldog Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Royal Regiment search inside a barn
 during a patrol in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province southern Afghanistan June 13, 2011. Canada will end its combat role in Afghanistan by the end of July, after nearly ten years fighting. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Afghan cameramen film a scene during the shooting of an Afghan feature film in the village of Sarai Khuja, north of Kabul June 3, 2011. During the austere Taliban rule from 1996-2001, television, music and film were banned. Amid escalating violence across Afghanistan in the tenth year of fighting in the NATO-led war, fear of the Taliban is ever-present across many sectors of society. The Afghan film industry says suicide attacks and bombs threaten the livelihood of its cinema just as much as its lack of quality equipment.     REUTERS/Ahmad Masood 

An Afghan man puts a scarf over the body of an insurgent after he was killed during an attack at a Kabul police station June 18, 2011. Suicide bombers in army uniform attacked the Kabul police compound on Saturday, killing two policemen and a civilian in the second major attack inside the Afghan capital in under a month, Afghan officials said. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Staying with the theme of violence and make-believe, Damir Sagolj’s powerful image of the Red Shirt protester laying prone with his “brains spilling from his head to the pavement” brings up an interesting point that troubled me for quite a while. Do images of theatrical demonstrations of extreme violence take away from the potency of real images of violence? A carefully choreographed scene with good make up has the potential to provide a far more striking image than the real events, but could it end up anaethetising the viewer to real violence. An interesting question to think about.  


An artist creates a fake wound for an anti-government ”red shirt” protester playing dead in their version of “planking” in Bangkok’s shopping district June 19, 2011. A group of anti-government activists gathered on Sunday at the same shopping district they occupied during the 2010 unrest that killed 91 people and wounded at least 1,800 in the worst political violence in modern Thai history, to commemorate dead comrades and perform what they said was their version of “planking”. Thais will go to the polls on July 3 for a general election.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A good week for theatrics all round with several pictures catching my eye.  Simple in its design and impact (no pun intended) is Tim Wimborne’s picture of a crushed car in Sydney surrounded by the visual oval of a traffic roundabout. Also from Tim, a suspended violinist who is visually bursting from the circle of the dome of the Queen Victoria building. As a lover of Christmas pantomime I was reminded of the cry from the audience “he’s behind you” when I saw Truth Leem’s picture of Jang Woo-Hyuk as a hand steals into the back of the frame. Where art meets protest no better example than Tyrone Siu’s image of artist Alice hanging gruesomely by her skin from shark fishing hooks. Lastly, for sheer exuberance, joy and the fact the woman band member has managed to keep her sophisticated cool while also jumping into the air, I have included Pichi’s picture of band Da Mouth celebrating their win in the Golden Melody Awards.

A woman pauses to look at a sculpture by U.S. artist Jimmie Durham, titled “Still life with stone and car”, located in a traffic circle in Sydney June 15, 2011. The seven-year-old artwork consists of a 5.5 tonne boulder, with a face painted on it, atop a crushed compact sedan.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne


Violinist Shenzo Gregoria plays an electric violin while suspended from the roof of Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building as part of his public performance June 16, 2011. Gregoria performed various pieces of contemporary and classical music for onlookers while spinning and tumbling through the air as he hangs from a steel chain many storeys above the ground. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Jang Woo-Hyuk, a former member of South Korean boy band H.O.T., performs at a show of a local TV station in Seoul June 14, 2011.   REUTERS/Truth Leem

British performance artist Alice Newstead hangs by shark fishing hooks to protest against the slaughtering of sharks for their fins, in Hong Kong June 14, 2011. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Taiwan band Da Mouth pose after winning the Best Performing Group award at the 22nd Golden Melody Awards in Taipei June 18, 2011.REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

An ill wind presented a great picture opportunity and a new sight-seeing venue for the people of Mumbai as the cargo ship Wisdom was grounded. Vivek’s affectionate image of two youth pulling at the rope attached to the stricken vessel only serves to further prove that youth is wasted on the young. The following day word had got around and many people from Mumbai took the opportunity to promenade with a backdrop of the stricken Wisdom. I just love the letterbox crop of the picture – why would you do it any other way? Staying in India, people get on with their daily lives as the monsoon approaches and water levels rise. Rupak’s picture of a small wave washing along the street as a shop owner looks out from the fading splendour of his shop, perfect in its balance of line and colour.

Youths tug at a rope line used to fasten a cargo ship, which ran aground, to the shore in Mumbai June 16, 2011. A 175-metre-long ship named Wisdom, which was being tugged to the Alang scrapyard in Gujarat from Colombo, broke away due to rough weather and drifted its way on to the Mumbai coast line. Salvage operations on the ship began on Thursday, local television channels reported. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

People flock to Juhu Beach at low tide to see a cargo ship which ran aground due to rough weather in Mumbai, June 17, 2011. A 175-metre-long ship named Wisdom, which was being tugged to the Alang scrapyard in Gujarat from Colombo, broke away due to rough weather and drifted its way on to the Mumbai coast line. The ship was likely to be tugged back out to sea over the weekend, local television channels reported. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

A wave of flood water, created by a passing vehicle, flows past a man standing at the doorway of his closed shop after heavy rains in Kolkata June 18, 2011. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

China was hit by a wave of violence as migrant workers went on strike and demonstrated over pay and conditions after media reports of the mistreatment of a pregnant street hawker. China’s response was quick and predictable as the picture shows. The drought in Zheijing Province in China ended as flash floods  forced 550,000 people flee affected areas.  Carlos Barria and Lang Lang headed to the region to cover the story. I hope I won’t be seeing the bill for a water damaged 5D mkII from Carlos as he gets very close to the water with his equipment to produce this intriguing low eye level image.

Riot police patrol on a street in the township of Xintang in Zengcheng near the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou June 13, 2011. Riot police fired tear gas to disperse rampaging migrant workers in southern China protesting over the mistreatment of a pregnant street hawker by security guards, media reports said on Monday, the latest in a series of protests across the country.   REUTERS/Staff  


A man paddles a boat through a flooded area in Banshan Cun, Zhejiang province June 17, 2011.  Pelting rain in parts of central and southern China has forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes and prompted the government to demand safety checks on vulnerable dams, news reports said on Thursday.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A girl carries two buckets of clean water to her house through a flooded area in Moshan village, Zhejiang province June 19, 2011. China has mobilised troops to help with flood relief and raised its disaster alert to the highest level after days of downpours forced the evacuation of more than half a million people in central and southern provinces. Central authorities have raised the disaster alert to the highest level 4, and the government is describing the floods in some areas, such as eastern Zhejiang province’s Qianting River area, as the worst since 1955.    REUTERS/Carlos Barria


Farmers pick watermelons inside a plastic tent at a flooded field in Kaihua county, Zhejiang province June 15, 2011. Torrential rains are still ravaging central and southern China, nearly two weeks after leaving at least 105 people dead and 65 missing, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. REUTERS/Lang Lang

It never ceases to amaze me the access and invitations that some photographers get to people or scenes of breaking news. As an example our photographers managed to get close to this man convicted of international terror crimes in his cell and another accused of gunning down an unarmed man in front of cameras that has embarrassed the Pakistan government.  I suppose I have to question why the authorities would present someone to the media with a blanket on his head. What does this prove? That justice is being done? At the end of the day there are no complaints here as the scene captured by Akhtar Soomro showing a ghost-like figure held by armed guards is fantastic. Equally fantastic is Bea’s picture of Indonesian soldiers armed to the teeth and rigid with command guarding the grinning and shrunken figure of Bashir.

A policeman holds a weapon as he and others escort men, who police said were paramilitary officials charged in the death of an unarmed man, an incident captured on video, through the hallways of a courthouse in Karachi June 13, 2011. The killing has drawn strong condemnation from Pakistani media and human rights groups which have demanded the government to launch an independent inquiry into the incident, media reported. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro  

Police from the anti-terrorism unit stand guard at a cell holding Indonesian militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir before his trial at South Jakarta court June 16, 2011. Bashir was jailed for 15 years on Thursday for his involvement with a group that aimed to kill the country’s president. REUTERS/Beawiharta

 The story of the eventual reunification of Korea is an ongoing issue and a hard one to illustrate. Lee Jae-Won didn’t miss out on the opportunity presented to him as 20,000 Catholics massed for peace. The nun drawing a small symbol of unification on the empty rusty space hints at the enormity of the task of trying to get the old enemies to unite.  Equally as hard to illustrate are Japan’s economic and political woes and TEPCO‘s continuing struggle with the leaking nuclear plants in Fukushima. Toru Hanai used a side flash to make a potentially dull picture “Hitchcock-esque“. Yuriko uses a strong diagonal of red and off-camera flash to make the weekly Shirakawa news conference interesting to look at too.

A Catholic writes the Korean characters for “Unification” on a steel wall during a mass for peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula at Imjingak Peace Park in Paju, near the demilitarised zone separating North Korea from South Korea, June 17, 2011. About 20,000 South Korean Catholics participated in the mass on Friday. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Catholic nuns release dove-shaped balloons during a mass for peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula at Imjingak Peace Park in Paju, near the demilitarised zone separating North Korea from South Korea, June 17, 2011. About 20,000 South Korean Catholics participated in the mass on Friday. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won


Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) Vice President Sakae Muto speaks during a news conference at the company head office in Tokyo June 17, 2011. Japan’s crisis-hit nuclear power plant could spill more radioactive water into the sea within a week unless engineers can fix a glitch in a new system to clean up growing pools of contaminated water, officials said.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai


Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa speaks during a news conference in Tokyo June 14, 2011. Shirakawa said on Tuesday he sees some positive surprises for Japan’s economy in the short term, such as the steady progress manufacturers are making in restoring supply chains after the March 11 earthquake. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao 

Lastly, as ever, a few pictures that caught my eye for no reason other than I like them: the forlorn face of Khagendra on the day he became the 2nd shortest living man, the shape created by the snaking rope thrown at the gates of  the Legislative Yuan in an attempt to pull them down, 3,000 white hats hovering like alien spaceships, the simple picture of a boy spraying water at himself to keep cool in Pakistan’s soaring temperatures, a moment stolen from the violence and politics of this struggling nation, and finally the beach back flip from Sri Lanka. I have never been able to do that and I wish I could.

Former world’s shortest living man, Khagendra Thapa Magar, holds the hand of his caretaker while he makes his way to visit Nepalese Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal in Kathmandu June 13, 2011. Magar, measuring 67.08 centimetres (26.4 inches), lost his title when Junrey Balawing was declared the “World’s Shortest Living Man” by the Guinness World Records in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte in southern Philippines. Magar was visiting the Prime Minister to hand over a memorandum demanding the government to provide some basic facility to him. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A protester throws a rope in an attempt to pull down the gates of the Legislative Yuan building during an anti-nuclear protest in Taipei June 14, 2011. Taiwan’s parliament approved on Monday a budget to finance the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant on the island, according to local media.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh

Visitors view creations by Japanese hat designer Akio Hirata, displayed by designer Oki Sato, at an exhibition in Tokyo June 19, 2011. The 86-year-old hat designer’s exhibition featuring about 3,000 white hats and 120 colourful creations, will be on till July 3. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon


A boy cools off from a broken water pipe at a park in Lahore June 15, 2011. Temperatures reached 41degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) in Lahore, while the weather remained hot and dry in most parts of the country and most of the plain areas remained under the grip of heatwave conditions, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said on their website on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

A boy does a flip as others look on at Mount Lavinia beach in Colombo June 19, 2011.              REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte


Ah! I missed these “weeks in pictures”. Thanks!

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I wish there were photos avilable today, of Dominik kahn, the former IMF President when he allegedly attacked an african chamber maid in Sofitel hotel, New York.
This is the world of men, not women! The first lady is in Afrca to encourage women following the now faint slogans of her husband for a change, yes you can!

Perhaps she should tell the Afghan women what should they do when Canadian and american soldiers forced themselves into their poor dwellings, pretending to be looking for their enemy?

Rex Minor

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Still-life with Brains…

Still-life with BrainsSuzanne Husky, Sleeper Cell Round, 2011. Courtesy of Recology Artist in Residence Program, SF What will the art world do if there is a zombie apocalypse? Fortunately for us, the di Rosa collection in California explores t…

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Websites worth visiting…

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