Month: January 2015

Afghan Girl – A Life Revealed

Photograph by Steve McCurry National Geographic

This is the story of the photograph taken in 1984 by Steve McCurry and used as the front cover of the National Geographic in June 1985. As nothing was known about this girl and what happened to her, seventeen years later she was seeked out, and in April 2002 all was revealed. This then questions “does a photographer need to be more aware of the images they capture?”.

The original image was captured regarding the refugee crisis, during the war between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. McCurry documenting the ‘Nasir Bagh’ refugee camp, stumbles on the young girl, thats image would touch so many. Would this image have been more or less powerful, if we knew a little bit of detail of the girl? To me the power of the image is the eyes, it highlights the strength of emotion that can be captured within the eyes.

To be able to find this girl, now known as Sharbat Gula, which means “sweetwater flower girl” in Pashtu, the language of her Pashtun tribe, is quit remarkable. During times of atrocity that can be associated with times like this, people can and do get lost in the system. The chance meeting with a man, that was at the refugee camp with Sharbat Gula, and knowing how to contact her, is like a Hollywood Movie.

The emotion in the most recent photo is not as strong in my view. Is this because there is no sign of anger or not as much fear in her expression, or is it the fact that we know who she is. I am not saying that the image is a bad one, just it is not as strong. To me the fact that we now know who she is is great. Credit to everyone that was involved in the finding of Sharbat Gula, and finding out her story. The fact we now know all this does not restrict the power of the original image, if anything it just emphasises the emotion of the image.

With what we now know about Sharbat Gula, and her hardship, and that it has personally added to the emotion of the original image, does it highlight the need of Photo Journalists to record detail of their subject matter, while capturing their images.

Visit by Stuart Freedman

stuartfreedman.com

I feel privileged to have heard the passion and honesty that Stuart has over his work. His images are some of the most powerful I have seen for a long time. Stuart Freedman is a photo journalist, with a strong ability to write. He has traveled across the world covering some emotional scenes over his career. His web site is well worth a visit.

The understanding that he has for his subject is inspiring. Knowing that researches is subject in great detail before going might sound obvious, however the level he goes to is not. The fact that he builds up more than just an inquisitive journalistic knowledge of his subject, to me is unexpected, personalizing the relationship to build something that can be classed as a long lasting friendships rather than just a journalists visit.

The Guardians Best Photos of 2014

Jewel Samad/AFP

This is a look back at some of the most powerful stories of 2014, from the Ferguson riots to the school attack in Peshawar, a Missouri ‘firenado’ and hailstones in Siberia: the Guardian’s features picture editor Sarah Gilbert selects her most compelling images.

With all the quality images and stories that would have passed through the Guardian during 2014, it is a hard choice to highlight a selection that can be called best.

The challenge for a photo journalist is to capture the energy and story of the situation in a single image. To capture the story in visual form without the need of words. even though this is not always affective, with these i think it is. When you look through the images you are taken back to the story it depicts, re-experiencing the story as it broke.

There is a difficulty in photography today, that stories are recurring. Even though the images show the story of that day, to many of the stories for me did not depict 2014.

Massimo Sestini/eyevine

Not taking anything from the images or stories chosen, some of the stories are now being covered as if an event, knowing the where and when something is going to happen, allowing planing for every shot hours/days/weeks/months before the event occurs.

NikitaDudnik/AP

The likes of the image above represent 2014 to me better. This, even though may have happened in the passed, or will happen in the future, this occasion cannot be predicted. The quality of the images highlight the high expectations that are expected on a photo journalist.