Observer picture editor Greg Whitmore, who is leaving the newspaper, looks back at the photos that made the news during his quarter century at the helm of the picture desk.
Absolutely honoured to have my work featured in this gallery of images, spanning 25 years of our modern history. The honour is even more amplified when I look at the phenomenally powerful work from talented and devoted colleagues with whom I’m sharing the page, but also by the fact that the gallery was curated by such an extremely well respected and talented picture editor with true Fleet Street heritage.
You can see the gallery here and also read about the legendary Greg Whitmore’s experiences at The Observer here, covering his near 30 years at the paper.
You can read more about London’s darkest hour in recent history and my experiences on that day, here. The same photograph from this awful day was called one of the world’s most iconic photographs by the Daily Mirror.
The Club of Black and White Photography and NOIR the best of The Club of Black and White Photography curators have very kindly bestowed an award for best image of the month of August to one of my images.
The international group is comprised of 68,977 photographer members, so it’s nice to have an image chosen from such a talented and large group of people.
The image was shot as part of my reportage on the COVID 19 lockdown. It was made on my Panasonic Lumix G9 and an Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 lens.
A visitor at the photography exhibition by Sarah Lee of The Guardian. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
I attended the opening of Sarah Lee‘s wonderful photography exhibition last night at The Guardian. It’s a wonderful collection of some of the very best in newspaper portraiture and feature photography and I highly recommend a visit.
A portrait of Sarah Lee of The Guardian at her exhibition’s private view. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Sarah adds, “I have Fiona Shields and Luke Dodd to thank for getting the idea off the ground, and David McCoy has printed it beautifully. They’ve done such a good job it would be lovely if you happen to be free and felt like popping along.”
L-R The Guardian’s picture editor Fiona Shields and photographer Sarah Lee. Photography exhibition by Sarah Lee of The Guardian. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
The exhibition is on at The Guardian‘s entrance, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1. It’s open during office hours and on until the first week of September, so hurry to catch it!
When I logged on to the World Press Photo website and saw the the winning image, I found myself uncontrollably saying “wow” out loud. It’s an amazingly powerful image, highlighting an extremely important issue, photographed with such skill and empathy. Many congratulations to Warren Richardson for his stunning image and for the judges in choosing it out of the submitted 82,951 photographs.
Richardson is a freelance photographer, currently based in Budapest, Hungary. He explained how the picture was made:
“I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone”.
View the entire collection of winning images from the 59th World Press Photo Contest. They were selected from 82,951 photos made by 5,775 photographers from 128 different countries.
For any photographers wondering about the technical aspects of the winning image; the shot was made on a Canon 5D MkII using a Canon 24mm f1.4L lens at 6400ISO, f1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/5 of a second.
Here are a selection of my favourite images from the contest
(in no particular order):
— AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2015 — A Syrian man carries the body of a child killed in a reported air strike by government forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on November 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY === GRAPHIC CONTENT ===
A wounded Syrian girl cries at a make-shift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, following reported air strikes by regime forces, on August 12, 2015. At least 27 civilians were killed in Syrian government air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus according to a monitoring group. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY
— AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2015 — A wounded Syrian girl looks on at a make shift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, following shelling and air raids by Syrian government forces on August 22, 2015. At least 20 civilians and wounded or trapped 200 in Douma, a monitoring group said, just six days after regime air strikes killed more than 100 people and sparked international condemnation of one of the bloodiest government attacks in Syria’s war. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY
Adam Abdel, age 7, was badly burned when a bomb, dropped on February 12 by a Sudanese government’s Antonov plane, landed next to his family’s home in Burgu, Central Darfur, Sudan, February 27, 2015.
Whale Whisperers. Divers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf whilst they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, 28 January 2015. Anuar Patjane Floriuk
A Syrian child fleeing the war is lifted over border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on June 14, 2015. Turkey said it was taking measures to limit the flow of Syrian refugees onto its territory after an influx of thousands more over the last days due to fighting between Kurds and jihadists. Under an “open-door” policy, Turkey has taken in 1.8 million Syrian refugees since the conflict in Syria erupted in 2011. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC / AFP / BULENT KILIC
BEAVER CREEK,COLORADO,USA,08.FEB.15 – ALPINE SKIING – FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Birds of Prey, Alpine combined, downhill, men. Image shows Ondrej Bank (CZE). Ondrej Bank (CZE) crashed during the downhill race of the alpine combined at the FIS World Champioships 2015 in Beaver Creek. Keywords: crash. Photo: GEPA pictures/ Christian Walgram
4—Gumda, Nepal. Friday, May 08, 2015: Bishnu Gurung (3L) weeps as the body of her daughter, Rejina Gurung, 3, (unseen), is recovered from the rubble of her earthquake destroyed home, on May 8, 2015 in the village of Gumda, Nepal. Neighbors discovered the body of the small girl in the collapsed entrance of the Gurung family home, ending a 13 day search for Rejina in the remote mountainous village of Gumda in Gorkha district. On the 25th of April, just before noon local time, as farmers were out in fields and people at home or work, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000 people and injuring more than 21,000 according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Homes, buildings and temples in Kathmandu were destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude quake, which left over 2.8 million people homeless, but it was the mountainous districts away from the capital that were the hardest hit. Villagers pulled the bodies of their loved ones from the rubble by hand and the wails of grieving families echoed through the mountains, as mothers were left to bury their own children. Over the following weeks and months, villagers picked through ruins desperate to recover whatever personal possessions they could find and salvage any building materials that could be reused. Despite relief teams arriving from all over the world in the days after the quake hit, thousands of residents living in remote hillside villages were left to fend for themselves, as rescuers struggled to reach all those affected. Multiple aftershocks, widespread damage and fear kept tourists away from the country known for its searing Himalayan peaks, damaging a vital climbing and trekking industry and compounding the recovery effort in the face of a disaster from which the people of Nepal continue to battle to recover.
8—Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Flames rise from burning funeral pyres during the cremation of earthquake victims, at the Pashupatinath temple on the banks of Bagmati river on April 28, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. On the 25th of April, just before noon local time, as farmers were out in fields and people at home or work, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000 people and injuring more than 21,000 according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Homes, buildings and temples in Kathmandu were destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude quake, which left over 2.8 million people homeless, but it was the mountainous districts away from the capital that were the hardest hit. Villagers pulled the bodies of their loved ones from the rubble by hand and the wails of grieving families echoed through the mountains, as mothers were left to bury their own children. Over the following weeks and months, villagers picked through ruins desperate to recover whatever personal possessions they could find and salvage any building materials that could be reused. Despite relief teams arriving from all over the world in the days after the quake hit, thousands of residents living in remote hillside villages were left to fend for themselves, as rescuers struggled to reach all those affected. Multiple aftershocks, widespread damage and fear kept tourists away from the country known for its searing Himalayan peaks, damaging a vital climbing and trekking industry and compounding the recovery effort in the face of a disaster from which the people of Nepal continue to battle to recover.
A ‘Maya’ girl sits in an altar during the traditional celebration of ‘Las Mayas’ on the streets of the small village of Colmenar Viejo, near Madrid, Spain Saturday, May 2, 2015. The festivity of ‘Las Mayas’ comes from pagan rites and dates from at least the medieval age, appearing in ancient documents. It takes place every year in the beginning of May and celebrates the arrival of the spring. A girl between 7 and 11years is chosen as ‘Maya’ and should sit still, serious, and quiet for a couple of hours in an altar on the street decorated with flowers and plants, afterwards they walk to the church with their family where they attend a ceremony. Not more than four, or five girls are chosen as a Maya each year.
North Korean children perform at the Pyongyang Kyongsang Kindergarten. Photo by David Guttenfelder
After spending two days and two nights sailing on the Mediterranean Sea on the deck of the M.S.F. (Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders) search and rescue ship Bourbon Argos, rescued migrants – still wrapped in their emergency blankets – catch sight of the Italian coast for the first time soon after dawn. 23 August 2015 In 2015 the ever-increasing number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea on unseaworthy vessels towards Europe led to an unprecedented crisis. Nearly 120 thousand people have reached Italy in the first 8 months of the year. While the European governments struggled to deal with the influx, the death toll in the Mediterranean reached record numbers. Early in May the international medical relief organization Médecins Sans Frontières (M.S.F.) joined in the search and rescue operations led in the Mediterranean Sea and launched three ships at different stages: the Phoenix (run by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station), the Bourbon Argos and Dignity.
Ron Baker (31) shoots over Nick Zeisloft (2) as Hanner Mosquera-Perea (12) and Rashard Kelly (0) battle for position under basket at the NCAA 2015 Mens Basketball Tournament game with Wichita State vs. Indiana at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, USA on March 20th of 2015. Greg Nelson executed this photograph without posing any of the subjects.
Chinese men pull a tricycle in a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi, China. Photo: Kevin Frayer
Runaway talibes stand on the bank of Senegal river, in Saint Louis city, north of Senegal, May 20, 2015. Saint Louis is known as Talibe city. A city with small proportions compared to Dakar but with a large number of Talibes. Due to that many of them choose the streets instead of Daaras.
Homeless veteran Darlene Matthews has been living in her car for over two years while she waits for a housing voucher from the VA. She joined the US Army in 1976 and was sent to Fort McLellan, Alabama. “I was going to join this all women’s army and there would be no sexual problems but I joined and there were sexual problems.” She was beyond horrified when she discovered that it wasn’t a safe place and instead full of “illegal punishments and all this sexual stuff. The whole atmosphere was abusive.” Her life spiraled down after she got out of the military and found herself very depressed. She joined the military to escape a chaotic abusive home life and was forced back into it when she was discharged. She has been fighting with the VA for benefits including housing vouchers but has been living in her car in the parking lot of a mortuary next to a graveyard. “It’s like being in a fun house and every door gets slammed in your face every time you try to leave. I feel like giving up sometimes, and nobody would care.”
1. Tapajós River, Itaituba, Pará State, Brazil, on February 10, 2015. Indigenous children jump into the water as they play around the Tapajós river, in the Munduruku tribal area called Sawré Muybu.
Howie calls these “his and hers” chairs. He sits beside Laurel, his wife of thirty-four years, as they get their weekly chemotherapy treatments, side by side at Oncologist Dr. Barry Boyd’s office. Greenwich, Connecticut. January, 2013.
Krigen och osäkerheten, framförallt i mellanöstern tvingar alltfler på flykt mot säkerheten i Europa. Innan november var slut passerade antalet asylsökande som anlände 1 miljon. En fjärdedel av flyktingarna är Syrier. Samtidigt som skyddsbehoven ökar stängs alltfler dörrar. Sedan Turkiet fått 27 miljarder kronor av EU patrullerar den turkiska kustbevakningen allt oftare. I praktiken går den svenska gränsen här, i vattnet mellan Grekland och Turkiet. För att undvika upptäckt och att fängslas i Turkiet tar sig alltfler båtar över under skydd av mörkret. Frivilliga hjälparbetare möter de ofta nedkylda flyktingarna på den grekiska ön Lesbos
Sunbather oblivious to the ominous shelf cloud approaching – on Bondi beach. A massive “cloud tsunami” looms over Sydney in a spectacular weather event seen only a few times a year. The enormous shelf cloud rolled in from the sea, turning the sky almost black and bringing violent thunderstorms in its wake.
Colima Volcano in Mexico shows a powerful night explosion with lightning, ballystics and some incandescent rockfalls. Photo taken on dec. 13 at 22:24 hours, 12.5 km away from the crater near a lagoon named Carrizalillos on Comala municipality in the state of Colima. Colima Volcano had a period of enormous activity on july of 2015, at least 700 inhabitants were evacuated from their settlements. The volcano mantains activity with 3 to 6 explosions by day. Lightning on Colima Volcano explosions became common on last months. This particular lightning is more than 600 meters long, so the big light made clear some details of the south portion of volcano. It’s an 8 seconds shot, time enough to catch the explosion and the lightning. Photo: Sergio Velasco
Vetluga’s Hockey. Evgeny Solovyov, head coach of HC Vetluga preparing the stadium for the match. Players of an amateur hockey team in provincial Russia before, during and after a game in the regional championship in Vetluga, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia. Photo: Vladimir Pesnya
A city in northern China shrouded in haze, Tianjin, China. Photo: Zhang Lei
Raheleh, who was born blind, stands behind the window in the morning. She likes the warmness of the sunlight on her face. Photo: Zohreh Saberi
All photographs are copyright. Used with the permission of World Press Photo.
In my opinion, AP photographer Nick Ut‘s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from the Vietnam War, commonly known as the “Napalm Girl” is the most iconic and most powerful photograph ever taken.
In this June 8, 1972 file photo, crying children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, run down Route 1 near Trang Bang, Vietnam after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places as South Vietnamese forces from the 25th Division walk behind them. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. From left, the children are Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim’s cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. AP Photo/Nick Ut
Here’s a superb ABC7 Special about the image, the stories and people involved. It’s well worth watching. Powerful, moving, interesting.
Fascinatingly, this TV documentary also clearly shows the power of photography compared to TV footage. Nick Ut’s photograph has such power and depth, compared to the TV footage which whilst strong, has no where near the strength of the still image. Anyone who doesn’t understand the power of a photograph needs to be shown this documentary.