Tuesday, 24 November 2020

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Nine photojournalists talk us through the story behind their favourite photo

a man carries a bag on his head in Kathmandu

Credit: Benedict Grey

The best photojournalism captures a moment that expresses something much bigger. It asks us to pause and consider these moments, and yet we rarely have the full story. How were these photos taken, and why?

As the photographers talk us through their most powerful images, we are given a rare opportunity to see these pictures through their eyes.

Gestures of Power, by Donald Weber:

Credit: Donald Weber

“On my very first trip to Ukraine, during the Orange Revolution protests following the Ukrainian presidential election in 2004, I made contacts through a friend and fixer with the police services. The police needed to understand where I was coming from and what I wanted to do; I needed to understand their role and how they perform it.

“I remember first being shocked at some of the police methods, but they were respected in their departments. What I think is so powerful is that this is not a rogue set of cops; this is standard practice, it is what it is. It’s the utter terror of a wayward bureaucracy. More than likely, many of the people in the photos were totally innocent. But then, it’s not always about guilt versus innocence”.

donaldweber.com

 

Stop the City Demo, by David Hoffman:

Credit: David Hoffman

“In 1983 it was still 25 years before the banking crisis and the credit crunch, but the anarchists were well ahead of the game with the first Stop the City demonstration – a protest against globalisation, big business and the banks. The police were totally unprepared as roads were blocked, cars trashed, office buildings blockaded & doors glued shut. The chaos of the demo was admirably assisted by the chaos of cops doing headless chicken impersonations.”

hoffmanphotos.com

 

Snow Queen, by Terry Harris

Credit: Terry Harris.

“This picture shows the Queen attending a private service at the Mary Magdalene Church, on the Sandringham Estate, in 2015. Coined the  ‘Snow Queen’ by the papers, I was the only photographer there (as a freelance) that captured the picture clearly. Car shots like this are notoriously hard to get, with only a second or two as the Bentley passes and the possibility of awkward reflections.

“It was printed on the front cover of the Daily Mail, published in most UK papers and discussed on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Two.”

terry-harris.com

Sergeant Majid, by Sam Tarling

Credit: Sam Tarling

“This frame was taken as Iraqi special forces made their first push into eastern Mosul at the end of November, 2016. I was running along the line of Humvees moving off toward the city, trying to find one with a spare seat, and Sergeant Majid, who is pictured here, and his crew let me jump in. As we made our way toward the edge of Mosul and ISIS started firing toward the column of vehicles we were in, just for a moment the sergeant let his bravado slip away and let his fear show on his face.”

samtphoto.com

 

Gypsy Funeral of Rachel Smith, by Simon Phythian:

Credit: Simon Phythian

“As a trainee on the Kent and Sussex Courier in the mid 1970s, coverage of the local gypsy community was one of my more interesting challenges. To feel accepted by showing respect allowed me to take this image. In fact, I was encouraged by those around me. Taken quickly with one frame, I was pleased with the composition and emotion it conveyed. Alas, the group editor explained it could not be published for fear of upsetting the great and good of Royal Tunbridge Wells.”

thebppa.com/author/simon-phythianatlas-co-uk

Kathmandu, by Benedict Grey:

Credit: Benedict Grey

“This photograph is from Kathmandu in 2016, a year after the earthquakes that crippled the country. Taken in the centre of the city, it shows a small team of workers rebuilding a tower block. The young man is having his basket loaded with shingle in order to produce concrete. This image brings a personal perspective to the large-scale task of reconstruction, showing the heavy burden on this boy’s shoulders.

“My story in Nepal was one of positivity and unity amongst the people, but the expression on his face shows the personal cost of the reconstruction.”

benedictgrey.com

Manchester, by Lauren Hurley

Credit: Lauren Hurley / Press Association Images

“It was my job to illustrate the deployment of soldiers on the streets following the Manchester Arena terror attack two days earlier on the 22 May 2017. The national threat level had risen from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’.

“I spotted a police officer and soldier patrolling near to the Palace of Westminster, and as they passed, I crouched low and used a wide angle lens to keep the iconic ‘Big Ben’ in shot. I’d been waiting for this photo all day and quickly sent it to the Financial Times’ picture desk where it was captioned and ran as their cover. It was also picked up by the Mail Online and the Washington Post.”

laurenhurley.co.uk

Two Girls at the Nokha Boarding Centre, by Neil Turner

Credit: Neil Turner

“This image was taken Nokha, Northern India in February 2005. The charity Save the Children funds a scheme to allow girls from 12-15 years old without access to secondary education to come to a boarding centre for a few months, in which time they cover the syllabus normally expected to take five years.

“The picture shows two girls, who were about two months into the scheme, appearing from their compound at dawn to collect water and firewood while still doing their school work. It epitomised the way the students grabbed the opportunity with both hands, not letting up in their study. They read while they cooked, and while they ate, and regarded time off as an unnecessary interruption to their studies. The difference that a scheme like this made to their life chances was enormous and they knew that.”

neilturnerphotographer.co.uk

Albu Saif, Iraq, by Matt Cetti-Roberts

Credit: Matt Cetti-Roberts

“An Iraqi Emergency Response Division soldier runs for cover after firing at an ISIS fighter during a militant ambush in the village of Albu Saif. This was the second day of the offensive to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State.

“The Iraqis were working to clear the village street-by-street when the defending Islamic State militants sprung an ambush. The soldier pictured and one of his colleagues spotted the militant in a window, some eight metres from where I was kneeling, and immediately started firing.  His actions allowed my colleague and I, and several Iraqi soldiers, to get to safety.”

Mattcettiroberts.pixelrights.com