“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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