A protester stands in front of a burning barricade during a demonstration. Cairo, Egypt 1/28/2011
“I was in south Sudan covering the referendum when I found out that there were going to be protests in Egypt. I felt that there could be big troubles, so I returned to Egypt. I arrived at 8am and dropped my bags at home and then went to the office. Later in the afternoon clashes began in Cairo. People were shouting and the police came out on the streets. There were protesters, riot police and also plainclothes police. The plainclothes police started chasing people around: kicking them, beating them. I had to shoot quickly. I saw a lot of plainclothes police standing in a line like soldiers. There were some street battles with civilians. The next day we knew it was going to be a big protest so I took my camera downtown to look for possible trouble. We went to a couple of neighborhoods but people were walking through the small streets heading towards the city center. One moment we witnessed some clashes. Police started to fight and the protesters fought back.”–Goran Tomasevic
Passengers on Cathay Pacific flight CX715 prepare to disembark from a nearly downed airplane after it landed safely. Changi Airport, Singapore 5/16/2011
“We took off smoothly for the short flight from Singapore to Jakarta, and I started falling asleep. Suddenly I was woken by the sound of two bangs, like a bomb or truck tire blowing out. My wife gripped my hand and asked, ‘Do you smell something burning?’ Yes, there was a sharp smell stinging my nose. I realized there was something wrong because all the stewardesses ran back with the food carts.
The plane started to vibrate, harder and harder. I held my wife’s hand tightly and looked at her face as she started praying. My two younger children were asleep, after their first ever trip abroad, but not Pradipta, the eldest one. ‘Pra, look through the window and watch outside,’ I said. ‘I see light, I see fire, I see fire,’ he said. Then the electricity was switched off. I realized the plane, an Airbus A330, had a big problem. I was afraid because I thought we would die. Pradipta looked into my eyes and asked: ‘Will we die?’ I was afraid and could not answer the question. I looked at all my children’s faces and held my lovely wife’s hands tightly. During my many years of assignments as a Reuters photojournalist, when flying I have imagined being on a plane that had a problem that forced an emergency landing, and then taking pictures. But I never imagined this situation with my family. But it happened. We will die together, so we can fly to heaven together, I thought. If we die together, I will not miss my wife’s delicious cooking. I will not miss the smell of my kids’ sweat. There will be no tears among us. My thoughts, to my surprise, stopped me being afraid any more. ‘Will we die?’ Pradipta asked again. I looked into his eyes, held his hand tightly and said: ‘No, we’re alive, we’re still alive,’ then I gave him a high five just as if we were playing basketball. After that, I became calm because I was not afraid to die because we would all die together. I started to adjust my camera, which was hanging around my neck. I set the ISO higher, set the white balance, checked the battery was full and saw I had around 300 clicks for the rest of the memory card. I started to take pictures, though it was dark. I forgot my camera had a full HD video, so I forgot to record the situation. After 20 years living as a photographer, I was thinking as a photographer. I saw a steward sitting in front of me and shouted: ‘What happened?’ ‘The engine is on fire and we are flying back to Singapore,’ he replied. My wife put life vests on herself and the kids, though there had been no order to do so, and other passengers followed. I asked Pradipta to look out of the window, and he said he could still see a lot of light and we were over the sea. The plane was vibrating but still flying. I opened all my senses to prepare for everything, and heard the airplane wheels come out. We landed and stopped on the tarmac. I heard the captain say: ‘I am Captain Brad, the situation is under control and our engine fire has been extinguished. Please wait in a line and walk to exit through the front door, don’t run. And the ground crew will take care of you. Thank you.'”–Beawiharta Beawiharta
A woman cries while sitting on a road amid the destroyed city of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan. Natori, Japan 3/13/2011
“I headed to the Yuriage district of Natori city in Miyagi prefecture just two days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan. The tsunami had destroyed buildings and left water everywhere. Smoke still hung over the smoldering ruins. I met Akane Ito amid the rubble as she sat crying on the side of the road, from where she should have been able to see her house. The tsunami had washed away her home together with the memories and her pet, which was family to her. It is not easy to photograph those in tears, but I took the picture as I felt it represented the sorrow the entire region was experiencing. I feel honored if readers were able to feel part of this sorrow. What I want to be able to do is to allow our readers to see what is taking place in the disaster-hit areas. I also sincerely wish for a swift recovery in the disaster-hit areas.”–Asahi Shimbun
Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint who they accuse of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Brega, Libya 3/3/2011
“We were just passing by an area, not really the front line. We pushed ahead but didn’t see anybody so we came back to a checkpoint, somewhere between Ras Lanuf and Brega. We heard that the rebels had some mercenaries. They ended up in this room and they were talking to us. They didn’t look like mercenaries at all. One moment, they took one of them out and they put him on the ground and they interrogated him. They pointed fingers and a gun at him. I was really confused as I don’t understand the language. They took him away in a car. I don’t believe they killed him, I think they took him to Benghazi. They really didn’t look like mercenaries; just young kids under 20 years old. They were wearing nice shoes and jeans. They looked like immigrants. I guess here they don’t want to say that they are Libyans fighting Libyans. It was a bad moment. This gun was not locked at all. This is one of those situations: do you want to do pictures or do you want to react? I’m a photographer and I don’t want to interfere but at the same time I don’t want this young boy’s head to be blown off. It was really difficult for me to focus on the job.”–Goran Tomasevic
Looters rampage through a convenience store. London, England 8/8/2011
“I took this photo just around the corner from my flat, in Clarence road in Hackney, on the third night of rioting and looting in the British capital. I’d heard of photographers being mugged for their gear and assaulted during the riots so I arranged to meet up with some other snappers when I arrived. At the top of the street there was a burning car, lines of riot police with dogs and hooded men throwing bottles, sticks and stones. Suddenly the police withdrew, leaving the rioters to it. I could see people climbing in and out of a shop with smashed windows, so I went to have a look. There were a lot of men and women looting the shop and at first no one noticed me. I started to shoot and, like you do, with every frame I took another step into the shop and away from a safe exit. The shop had been trashed inside and a couple of men were filling their bags with bottles of spirits and cigarettes. Another checked the till. I kept shooting until one of them noticed me. The last frame I have is of him looking at me as he pulls himself up onto the counter. I left the shop but two large looters came over and accused me of being police. There was a bit of pushing and pulling as they tried to take my cameras. Luckily some of the other photographers who had been with me when I arrived came over and pulled me away. It was a lesson, not only in not overstaying your welcome, but also how important your colleagues are.”–Olivia Harris
Tourists run from teargas in central Athens during anti-austerity protests. Athens, Greece 6/15/2011
“There was a planned protest march against a parliamentary vote on Greece’s five-year austerity plan that included tax hikes and government spending cuts, which degenerated into a violent clash between protesters and riot police. I was standing on the elevated entrance of a central hotel on Syntagma square with other photographers covering the clashes. The police had just pushed back protesters with the use of teargas. Suddenly, through a cloud of teargas, a group of frightened tourists appeared, with luggage in hand and covering their noses, and started running towards us. The scene was totally surreal: In the middle of a stone war and teargas, tourists visiting Athens on their summer holidays were trying to reach their hotel. I didn’t think twice, I lifted my camera and followed their agonizing effort until they reached the hotel entrance where we were standing. The door opened and they vanished behind it, safe and into a reality much different from the one that was evolving before me.”–John Kolesidis
Relatives of one of the victims of Thursday’s shooting at Tasso da Silveira school carry a family member who had fainted during funeral. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4/8/2011
”The murder of 12 children in a Rio de Janeiro school was the most difficult story I’ve done. An unprecedented story in Brazil, it shocked the entire society and for us journalists, it was no different. On the day after the massacre we were covering the victims’ funerals and the strong emotions of the families and friends. As I reached the cemetery the first scene I came across was one of a fainted mother being carried, after having suffered a crisis at the child’s wake. I took a few shots, and while they went in search of medical assistance I tried to understand what was happening around me. As I observed what was happening all around, l was also thinking of how to work surrounded by so much pain, including the pain that I felt myself.”–Ricardo Moraes
Lightning flashes around the ash plume above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano. Entrelagos, Chile 6/5/2011
“That night was very cold and from the Earth’s depths came strong rumbling, as if the ground was going to open and swallow us. As the sky was illuminated with a strong red light, lightning struck all around as if it were the end of the world. There was a strong smell of sulfur and ash all around. The ash plume reached more than 12 miles into the air, high enough for it to be easily seen from space as it crossed the continent. The ash damaged places in Chile and Argentina, causing loss of cattle, contamination of lakes and rivers, respiratory illness, and cancelation of flights.”–Carlos Gutierrez
A patient in drug rehabilitation helps to move an old man from a wheelchair to his bed after bathing him at Nosotros Unidos rehabilitation center. Caracas, Venezuela 9/1/2011
“I’d been working on this project for around 25 days to document the story of the drug rehab center Nosotros Unidos. At dawn on August 27, after having worked the night on the streets of Caracas with the center’s social workers to try and convince addicts to come off the streets, this image appeared to me. I had slept only three hours on a cot after the long night, like many of the program’s participants. The image came to me as one that perfectly summed up everything that I had experienced inside. Danny Martinez, a patient in the center, lifted up a naked elderly man from his wheelchair to place him in bed and get him dressed, after having helped him to bathe.”–Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Earthquake survivors stand on the edge of their partially destroyed apartment. Port-au-Prince, Haiti 1/9/2011
“One of the best views of Port-au-Prince is from a hilltop neighborhood called Fort National– a steep five-minute ride from downtown. Eighty percent of the buildings in this densely packed area were leveled in the 2010 earthquake, providing an unobstructed 360-degree visual city tour from the crushed cathedral to the rockslide-scarred hills across the harbor. But residents say that because there was no central tent camp set up here, they were largely bypassed by help from the government and aid groups. Around the time I was assigned to photograph the run-up to the quake’s first anniversary, billboards were popping up with architectural renderings of the ‘new Fort National’ to be built. Palm trees, pedestrian paths; Miami style. Locals were told to abandon their efforts to rebuild their homes– they would get new, government subsidized ones. I immediately knew I would start the day shooting there. I found Orich Florestal and Rosemond Altidon standing on a slab of concrete jutting from the second floor of a half-missing building, their home, watching the sun rise. They invited me up to their ‘balcony’– a former bedroom in the same apartment block their families had been living in for years. Tall cracks exposed rebar in the walls of the first floor rooms, all inhabited by other families. We could hear earthmovers firing up to start clearing debris on the other side of the hill. But we could also hear the sound of hand tools directly below us. A man was laboriously chipping cement off of the few intact cinderblocks a family had scavenged from their fallen home, carting the blocks some yards up the hill to create the foundation of a new one — in the heart of the area slated to be cleared for condos. Futility or prescience? Four months after this photo was taken, a new president took office and the new Fort National plan of the previous administration was shelved.”–Allison Shelley
An aid worker using an iPad films the rotting carcass of a cow. Kenya-Somalia Border 7/26/2011
“I almost didn’t take the photograph. I’d been walking through a remote Kenyan village near the border with Somalia shadowing a group of United Nations bosses who were there to see the impact of the recently declared Somali famine and region-wide drought. I’d become tired of such trips over the years, which I blogged about for Reuters here, and was particularly struck that day by the often surreal nature of the African aid circus. When I saw this official dressed in a suit and using an iPad to film a dead cow, I just stood and stared, pretty sure I had rarely seen anything so strange and incongruous, such an odd meeting of a world filled with ultra-modern developments and one trapped in a cycle of age-old problems. I finally snapped the picture just seconds before the man stood and caught me standing behind him.”–Barry Malone
Mohammad Azam, 56, sits injured in front of a dead child, at the site of a double suicide bombing. Quetta, Pakistan 9/7/2011
“The moment will haunt me forever. I was in a deep sleep early on September 7 when my mobile phone started ringing. With half open eyes, I could hear a colleague shouting ‘Reach the commissioner’s office, there is a suicide blast! Just come quickly and reach the spot!’ he kept insisting. I took the camera and started riding my motorcycle. His tone made me leave my house without washing my hands or mouth. Along the way, I called and advised Reuters photographer Mian Khursheed in Islamabad of the blast. His reply was for me not to hurry and to keep safe. As I got close to the civil hospital in town, I heard another explosion. Its strength shattered nearby windows and caused panic. I felt there would be a loss of human life. The thick black smoke, flames and damaged vehicles were visible from afar. I immediately parked my motorbike and saw two aid workers retrieving a dead body from a rickshaw. I saw fellow photojournalists from other agencies at the scene. Their presence gave me the courage to go ahead. I first came across a woman, along with her two children, all injured. Wearing a burqa, the woman prohibited me from taking her photo while slowly shaking her hands, revealing a strict veiled Pashtun society. I stepped back and stopped shooting. I then heard a voice saying, ‘Take me to hospital.’ I saw an elderly man, his face covered with blood and the body of a one-and-half year old girl lying dead in the background. I took some images, called over an Edhi aid worker and appealed to people to help shift the victims to the hospital. After the ambulance left, I sat on the roadside. Mian called and asked, ‘What is your position.’ I told him that I made all photos on the spot and I was heading to the office to upload my images. Later I would go back to the hospital and find the man with the bloody face, Mr. Mohammad Azam, 56, in a better condition. I would find the veiled woman dead in the morgue. I had no idea she was moments from death when I photographed her. I will not forget the day when Quetta city was rocked in mourning with twin suicide bombers aiming to strike the deputy chief of paramilitary troops for Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The death toll rose to 29. The deputy chief of paramilitary survived the attack.”–Naseer Ahmed
A transvestite shows a scar of a knife attack. Tegucigalpa, Honduras 3/11/2011
“I meet them in the basement of a pool hall located in a dangerous neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. There, along narrow and dark stairways, are several rooms where Bessy, Patricia and Tiffany, are. Tiffany, 19, an accountant who also studies cosmetology, tells me, ‘Our clients are all types. I’ve had some famous ones. There are mechanics, taxi drivers, young, old, poor, rich.’ Tiffany practiced prostitution but left it after being run over, threatened with death, and finally stabbed in the back. ‘I thank God for the support of my family, of my parents. They don’t want to see me on the street. They accept my condition and don’t want to hide it. They want to see me as a young, gay, decent professional. My father is going to help me open a beauty parlor. Nevertheless, the situation on the streets is terrible, and we don’t have to be prostituting ourselves to be attacked. They throw stones at us, ice cubes, beer bottles, and even darts with blood on them.’ With bras and pants adjusted they parade inside the tiny rooms converted into a runway, a fashion runway filled with laughter and horror stories. We spend the next two hours in what becomes a backstage for what was to come. I can feel only praise for the way they hide their repressed fear. In spite of their photogenic looks and elicited empathy, it’s still difficult for me to work. There’s almost no room to stand, it’s nighttime and the room light is dim. Before we leave, Bessy pauses in front of religious icons adorning a wall. Patricia crosses herself, but Tiffany decides to stay home.”–Edgard Garrido
A Tunisian soldier screams as he tries to control rioters during clashes with the police. Tunis, Tunisia 1/14/2011
Switss photographer Denis Balibouse files his pictures under a full moon from Mont-Cenis Pass Road in Lanslebourg during the Grande Odyssee sled dogs race. Lanslebourg, France 1/21/2011
“For the first time, this year I covered the Grande Odyssee sled dogs race close to the French Italian border for five days. On two occasions the mushers had to spend a night out sleeping in a tent next to their dogs, without the help of their handlers. I was offered by organizers to stay for the night in a hotel-restaurant some 500 yards away from the Polar Base as the lift would close at 9pm. I thought of the different pictures I could take than the usual action. On my second visit I was unable to connect to a mobile phone network to send my images so I decided to try from an overlooking point nearby. I was bewildered by the scene that was now light by a near full moon. I stayed nearly an hour as the temperature was not extreme. I sent my pictures but cherish that moment of sitting in the snow watching the clouds move; a nice experience of being “within” the landscape.”–Denis Balibouse
A forensic doctor stands next to a dead man at a crime scene. Temixco, Mexico 5/19/2011
“It’s always a race against the clock. The phone rings, you listen to the report, you then grab your motorcycle and start searching as fast as possible for the neighborhood, the street, the place where the person was executed and his or her body abandoned. You have to rush and try to get there before the forensic services. It becomes more complicated when they are around, they limit the area and you always end up being too far away from the subject. But this coverage was different, luck was on my side. The killing occurred in the colony La Eterna Primavera (The Eternal Spring), a poor neighborhood, with no paved streets or sidewalks. Almost no people were around, only a few soldiers and medical examiners that reluctantly searched for evidence at the crime scene. The atmosphere was relaxed enough that I could get close enough to see the crimson stain on the grey wall and the face of the dead man, which looked horrible because it had been disfigured by a rock. And that’s the moment when this very feminine detail of the high heels standing in the dirt became evident.”–Margarito Perez
An undercover Israeli policeman dressed as a Palestinian woman opens a car door in Shuafat refugee camp. The West Bank, Near Jerusalem 5/15/2011
“On May 15 clashes broke out throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem on the anniversary of Nakba (an Arabic word which means ‘catastrophe’), marking the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948. I was assigned to the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, where Palestinian youths were throwing stones at Israeli security forces. Police retaliated by firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters. After several hours, police charged, scattering the Palestinians. Down a side alleyway, I saw riot police and a group of about ten masked men and a woman – all armed with pistols – detaining a few Palestinians. In the next few seconds I took pictures of a male Israeli undercover officer dressed as a Palestinian female holding a pistol. He jumped into a vehicle, leaving the detained protesters to the armored riot police.”–Baz Ratner
A schoolgirl participant walks through a red curtain during a revolutionary song singing competition to celebrate the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. Chongqing, China 6/30/2011
“’Led by party secretary Bo Xilai, a famous princeling-politician with a revolutionary background, the city of Chongqing orchestrated a campaign of rousing revolutionary songs, or ‘red songs ‘ and mass red culture that has spread nationwide. The picture was taken at the end of a performance and a primary school girl, who was one of the performers dressed like a member of Chinese Red Army, was walking out of the venue. You can see exactly how Chongqing was pulling out every social resource to support their giant red song carnival.”–Jason Lee
Police officers rescue a girl who was held hostage by her father. Sydney, Australia 9/6/2011
“Breaking news said that a man had locked himself with his daughter and with what appeared to be a bomb strapped to himself. From 10:00 am and all day long I took pictures of the man through a window and a few other frames to describe the situation. By 6:00 pm most of the media had left as the chance to get a decent frame was one in a million. It was dark, we were more than 150 yards away, the blackout curtains were closed and we were certain that if something happened the pictures would be blocked by some police or fire truck as Australia has strong protective laws for victims and alleged criminals. I agreed with every single reason of each of my colleagues who left the scene but I decided to stay. Sadly, ‘bomb’ and ‘hostage’ are words that I am quite familiar with. Suddenly, the blackout curtains went up. Some police entered the building with tools that made clear they would break into the room, and they did. Finally, with nobody injured, an 11 hour wait had paid off.”–Daniel Munoz
A man holds a stick as he installs a pump to extract mud at a primitive gold mine. Panompa, Thailand 2/17/2011
“This is a classic example of how still images can work better than video. The boy was installing a water pump at this primitive gold mine and he had to dive into muddy water to do it. He held onto a stick in the pond to offer a chance at a perfect composition. Just like in many other cases, the light of the late afternoon played a big part and I chose again a wide open 24 mm lens (maximum shutter speed on minimum ISO) to have the focus only on his hand and the stick making the borders a bit blurred. A second later he came out and the moment of mystery of what is going on in the scene.”–Damir Sagolj
A North Korean boy works in a field of a collective farm in the area damaged by summer floods and typhoons. South Hwanghae Province, North Korea 10/6/2011
“The farmer boy in North Korea is a classic golden hour photo – not only for the colors and light, but also for how relaxed and real the frame is. People are more relaxed (and tired) by the end of the day so all their reaction towards the photographer, all the acting and posing, are gone. This very frame was shot on a rare trip to North Korea’s province controlled by officials. As we were driving back from a visit to a hospital in the area, I saw through the window of a bus a group of farmers working in the field. I asked the hosts if we could stop so I could take pictures of farmers working the land – they said yes, please take as many pictures as you want (everyone is relaxed at the end of the day). I went out and saw this child with a “perfect look” and decided to follow him for a few minutes. I would not have made a mistake if I followed any of the farmers but I guess the boy’s “empty” look, almost no reaction to me photographing and his outfit made a difference. I shot with the lens wide open to blur the background and have the focus on the boy’s face.”–Damir Sagolj
A girl whose uncle was injured in a shootout by unidentified gunmen looks at him as he is brought to a hospital for treatment. Karachi, Pakistan 8/23/2011
“I had become severely ill in the days target killings in Karachi hit their peak. Covering breaking news is my passion. I figured the best way to get over my illness was to rejoin news coverage on August 23. The same day a source called to inform me that a dead body, found in a sack, was being shifted to a hospital. I rushed to the hospital where I found that the victim was Imran Ali. He was not dead, but in fact only injured. Ali, who was shot by gunmen three times during a months long wave of political and ethnic violence in Karachi, was lying on a stretcher while medics tended to his wounds. I was preparing to shoot some frames when I saw a family, including Ali’s eight-year-old niece, approach his stretcher. I disengaged with everything and kept my focus on the girl, Sumayya, as she stood next to her uncle’s bed. As Ali opened his eyes to look towards his family, Sumayya’s mouth dropped. It was the moment I was waiting for.”–Athar Hussain
A supporter is reflected in her iPad as she makes a video of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaking at a Tea Party Express rally. Manchester, New Hampshire 9/5/2011
“At its most basic, and least cynical, political campaigns are about politicians trying to connect with voters, and voters connecting with a particular candidate. As a photographer covering a political event, I want to try to show that in my photographs, which means getting beyond a photograph of a politician speaking at a podium. Oftentimes it takes the form of politicians shaking hands with voters. But in this case, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was clearly determined to keep her distance from the crowd. She shook no hands as she made her way onstage, and as it turned out, none at the end of her speech. After making some photographs of Palin speaking, I positioned myself at the edge of the stage near the girl reflected in her iPad, thinking if Palin was going to shake some hands or sign some autographs, she would come over to the girl. The girl was taking photographs and videos of Palin with her iPad during the speech, so the reflection was right there for me to see as I stood there. The rest was figuring out how much depth of field I wanted in the image and lining up the girl’s reflection in the iPad’s screen.”–Brian Snyder
An opposition supporter holds up a laptop showing images of celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, after Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak resigned. Cairo, Egypt 2/12/2011
“You know how some days will stay with your forever? Well on February 11, 2011 I could tell you what I had for breakfast and what socks I was wearing (and not just because I am a creature of habit). What a day and what a night that was. I had been in Egypt for a couple of wonderful, stressful, beautiful and crazy weeks and was out shooting when our editor Steve Crisp called saying there were more rumors that President Hosni Mubarak was actually about to quit and I should hurry to Tahrir Square. Lucky, lucky, lucky me, I was only a couple of minutes away. What was not so lucky was when I arrived in Cairo custom officials had confiscated most of my kit – leaving me with a small camera and a 50mm lens. Steve had graciously lent me a couple of bodies and lenses but between us we had no flash gun.
Anyway as most of the world was waiting for Mubarak to step down I watched nervously as the light disappeared faster than a neutrino in a Swiss lab. So when the news finally broke that Mubarak had gone I had to find light – there was none. A temporary power cut made the street lights (my savior on many a previous night) redundant. I watched as all these jubilant protestors jumped and hugged and kissed and prayed and there was nothing I could do except weep as I shot too many unusable muzzy images. I was living my recurring nightmare. Thankfully, soon the power came back and patches of light appeared. I saw this guy holding a computer aloft like it was the World Cup and chanting ‘internet, internet…’ I took a lot of frames that night but this one seems to tell the story of what had become known as the ‘Facebook revolution.’”–Dylan Martinez
The mother of 20-year-old suicide bomber sits on her son’s bed. Nazran, Russia 2/16/2011
“I was in Chechnya when the airport bomber’s name, Magomed Yevloyev, was announced. His family lived in the nearby republic of Ingushetia. I had no contacts or real understanding of where his family lived. A colleague at Reuters warned me that another journalist and a photographer had been arrested for trying to get into Yevloyev’s home for an interview. I decided to wait a day before driving there. I left from Grozny very early in the morning and parked my car far from her home. It is incredibly difficult to operate in the North Caucasus, there’s an insurgency taking place in the region. This situation was especially intense because the family’s home was closely monitored by federal security forces.
I was lucky to make it into her home and was the first to interview and photograph the suicide bomber’s mother. She sat on her dead son’s bed during the conversation. I took her portrait right away and hid the camera’s memory card in my shoe, just in case I was stopped. It took me about an hour to get back to the city where I transmitted the images back to the bureau in Moscow.”–Diana Markosian
Blood-stained shoes worn by Linda Lopez as she evacuated from the 97th Floor of Tower 2 on September 11, 2001 are seen in this photograph before becoming a part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. New York City, New York 9/02/2011
“This image was part of a collection that we photographed in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Fellow staff photographer Mike Segar had built a really great working relationship with the people from the Museum and we had been going in periodically to photograph both the construction of the new towers and the museum as it planned out their exhibits and acquired artifacts related to the disaster. We photographed around 20 different artifacts that had been donated to the museum that had a direct connection to September 11th as a special package we coordinated with text, video, and stills. Most of the items that we photographed that day were donated by the people who had either worn the items or had some connection to them, including these shoes. Seeing the hardened blood on the side of these was a rather poignant detail and I decided that for this image I wanted to isolate that piece of the story. Most of the other items were photographed with a soft box and at a very high aperture in order to preserve as much detail as possible but I really felt that the isolation helped this image.”–Lucas Jackson
A man walks as crude oil spills from a pipeline. Dadabili, Niger 4/2/2011
“After travelling about 3 hours from Abuja to Niger State, northern Nigeria, on my way to cover the National Assembly elections in 3 states, I noticed a huge smoke cloud in the distance. I thought election violence had broken out and decided to investigate further. It turned out after a 15-20 minute drive that the smoke was not from election violence, rather a vandalised pipeline conveying petroleum had caught fire. Before the vote there had been concerns as to violence during the Nigeria elections. However to see that the smoke was from pipeline vandalization, which has been a recurrent incidence in the Niger delta region of Nigeria; and now was happening in Dadanbili, Niger State, was a deviation from the normal. So for me this was news. My plan to travel around 3 states for the election that day finally paid off with these pictures after the cancellation of the National Assembly elections.”–Afolabi Sotunde
Resident boy Adeel, 8, plays in front of the compound where U.S. Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Abbottabad, Pakistan 5/5/2011
“It was a normal morning on May 2, 2011 until I turned on my television and noticed the flashing red screen breaking news that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed near Islamabad.
I was anxious and paused for a moment to reflect on how this was the news the world, especially the United States, had been waiting for ever since the war against Al-Qaeda was declared in 2001 and Osama Bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world for his role in 9/11 tragedy. I reflected on how things had changed globally after 9/11 and how it also affected the common Pakistani people from all walks of life.
My first response was to check-in with Islamabad based photographerMian Khursheed. Before asking anything about the news he said, ‘Please prepare yourself if we need you here – please check flights.’ The next day I was in Abbottabad, just northwest of Islamabad. The road leading to the compound, where bin Laden was reportedly killed, was packed with local and international media vehicles waiting to get in. At the location, large crowds of local residents and media personnel had gathered. Everyone was curious to get close to the residential compound to have a look at the place where bin Laden had been killed.
Vegetable fields surrounded the compound and I noticed local children gathered and were collecting debris left by a heavy firefight. Residents were asking questions of the media to confirm if the incident really occurred. They could not believe that Osama bin Laden had been their neighbor.
Even though the compound area was cordoned off, the city of Abbottabad felt normal as people still were going to work and children to school. The shops were still open. Outside the compound area, no one was really concerned about what had happened or what was happening now.
On the morning of May 5, I visited the compound in a quest to find any good picture and suddenly noticed a boy playing with a tennis ball just in front of the compound. It gave me a sense of hope, that things could finally go back to being normal after all that had changed after 9/11.
As I was thinking of it and taking photos – again questions started floating through my mind. Would the ‘War on Terror’ end after the killing of Osama bin Laden? I thought about 9/11 and how it had changed Pakistan. September 11 in Pakistan was previously recognized as the day Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah died. In Pakistan now the 9/11 attacks get more attention. In these ten years, I feel Pakistan has suffered the most. It has faced hundreds of suicide bombings that have led to thousands of deaths and injuries and caused tremendous losses.
I stayed in Abbottabad until May 22 until I received a call in the middle of the night from the Islamabad office. ‘There has been an attack on an air base in Karachi. Prepare yourself, we may need you there,’ the voice of my editor said. And the next afternoon I was back in Karachi.”–Akhtar Soomro
A rebel on crutches fires a rocket propelled grenade while fighting on the front line. Sirte, Libya 9/24/2011
“I took this picture when I was with the rebels fighting Gaddafi’s troops, about two miles from the city of Sirte. I was mindful of what was happening, when I saw a man carrying an RPG. I was surprised by the courage of the man which insisted on fighting to win his freedom.”–Anis Mili
A gazelle stands in what local residents say is the bombed out ruins of the compound of Abdullah Al-Senussi. Tripoli, Libya 8/19/2011
“I was staying in the Rixos Hotel, part of the official Libyan Government foreign press core. We would be taken out most days to photograph things the Libyan Government were keen to show the world. We were taken to a house in Tripoli which had been bombed by NATO. There were a couple of buildings very close together which had been flattened. The officials who were accompanying us on the tour of the buildings pointed out that one of the buildings had been some kind of medical storage facility. We stayed for about 45 minutes walking around the buildings. After about 20 minutes I looked around and saw a gazelle standing in the ruins of one of the buildings. It looked very scared and I thought I would be lucky to get a picture because I assumed it would bolt at any second. I took a couple of pictures as quickly as possible and then tried to get myself into a better position. To my surprise the animal didn’t run and I moved as close as possible.”–Paul Hackett