Reuters has produced a stunning volume of images by its photojournalists around the world. Maryann Bird pages through Reuters: Our World Now and finds a range of pictures that not only document events, but engage with the big issues.
Reuters: Our World Now is published by Thames & Hudson. Price: £10. The following 20 photographs are Copyright © Reuters 2008 and used by chinadialogue with the permission of Reuters and Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.
Climate change activists Lesley Butler and Rob Bell “sunbathe” on the edge of a frozen fjord in the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen. The activists warned that global warming could thaw the Arctic and make the sea warm enough to swim in. 25 April 2007. Longyearbyen, Norway. Francois Lenoir.
A bird flies through the polluted sky above Tehran. 25 January 2007. Tehran, Iran. Morteza Nikoubazl.
Householder Jeff Clarke recovers furniture from his flooded home in Tewkesbury, central England. The wettest May-June period on record brought two bouts of flooding to parts of England, killing at least nine people and causing damaged estimated at about £3 billion (US$6 billion). 24 July 2007. Tewkesbury, Britain. Darren Staples.
Jeans flap on a clothesline in the dry Santa Ana winds as flames approach a house in Ramona, California. 21 October 2007. Ramona, United States. Fred Greaves.
A firefighter signals to a plane to drop water near the village of Karytena in southwestern Greece. 1 September 2007. Karytena, Greece. Yannis Behrakis.
A gumboot sits atop a fencepost on the site of the submerged town of Old Adaminaby. Prolonged drought is causing the town to re-emerge out of the vanishing waters of Lake Eucumbene, one of Australiaʼs largest manmade lakes. 5 June 2007. Old Adaminaby, Australia. David Gray.
Environmentalist Filotas Passios walks away from a dead flamingo on the dry bed of Lake Koronia in northern Greece, where a dramatic drop in the water level, combined with increased pollution, led to high death rates of fish and birds. 20 September 2007. Lake Koronia, Greece. Yannis Behrakis.
A worker cleans the windows of an apartment block in Beijingʼs central business district. 4 April 2007. Beijing, China. Reinhard Krause.
Sheep and goats gather in a field in front of the German RWE AG energy companyʼs Staudinger coal power plant, as water vapour rises from its cooling tower. 21 March 2007. Grosskrotzenburg, Germany. Kai Pfaffenbach.
A zebra charges towards Kenya Wildlife Service rangers at the Marula ranch in Naivasha. At the end of July, Kenya began a month-long exercise to move about 2,000 animals to Meru National Park, a once-famed game reserve devastated by poaching. 30 July 2007. Naivasha, Kenya. Boniface Mwangi.
Men clean up engine fuel from a refrigerator ship that ran aground on the southern Spanish coast, spilling fuel over protected coasts near Gibraltar. 30 January 2007. Algeciras, Spain. Anton Meres.
South Korean soldiers work to clean Mallipo beach after 10,500 tonnes of crude oil spilled from a tanker off Taean, about 170 kilometres southwest of Seoul, an area known for its wildlife and vibrant marine economy. 10 December 2007. Taean, South Korea. Jo Yong-Hak.
An Airbus A380, the worldʼs largest passenger aircraft, prepares to land at Mumbai airport. 8 May 2007. Mumbai, India. Arko Datta.
Tourists photograph each other near a temple at Nanshan Cultural Centre in south Chinaʼs Hainan Island province. Chinaʼs domestic tourism is booming, while loosened travel restrictions and economic growth mean that increasing numbers also travel abroad as never before. 26 November 2007. Hainan Island, China. Nir Elias.
A six-floor villa stands intact in the middle of a cleared construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen. The villaʼs owners had refused to accept the compensation offered by the developer. 17 April 2007. Shenzhen, China. Paul Yeung.
A chicken lies in a plastic basin in a Jakarta market. 24 January 2007. Jakarta, Indonesia. Beawiharta.
A scavenger picks through a huge rubbish dump on the Sidon seafront in south Lebanon. About 20 metres high, the dump is close to schools, hospitals and apartment blocks. 12 November 2007. Sidon, Lebanon. Jamal Saidi.
Would-be immigrants arrive at Las Vistas beach near Los Cristianos on Spainʼs Canary island of Tenerife. Some 92 migrants were intercepted aboard two fishing boats. 5 December 2007. Los Cristianos, Spain. Santiago Ferrero.
Al Gore, former US vice president and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, addresses the 2007 INMAS (Integrated Management Systems) Forum in Barcelona. 23 October 2007. Barcelona, Spain. Gustau Nacarino.
An environmental activist hands a seedling to a car driver in Surabaya ahead of the UN-led climate change talks in Bali. 8 December 2007. Surabaya, Indonesia. Sigit Pamungkas.
Reuters: Our World Now
Thames & Hudson, 2008
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Reuters news agency has presented 361,000 vivid and dramatic words in its book Our World Now. The volume documents the year 2007 in 361 stunning photographs chosen from the 1,500 a day – over half a million a year – submitted by Reuters photojournalists around the world.
In documenting a year on planet Earth, the photographers capture the world in its myriad facets: war, disaster and misery, as well as fun, fashion and celebrity. The book is the first in a series designed to present a year-on-year visual record of our times – and it succeeds very well.
How to approach the volume is up to the reader – or more accurately in this particular case – the viewer. The book is not arranged by subject or by geographical region, and no general index is provided. Its editors have opted to arrange the photos chronologically and in three-month quarters of the year. Such an arrangement is in keeping with the concept of telling the world’s story over the course of 12 months, while also providing continual surprises -- whether the book is approached front to back or by dipping in anywhere and skipping around its pages.
Some images are familiar -- the iconic polar bear cub Knut at Berlin’s zoo, for instance -- while others are less so (a Kashmiri Indian boy swimming in a pond of what looks like pea soup). All, however, reflect elements of life on earth at a specific moment in time – a moment when a talented – and often lucky -- news photographer was present, camera at the ready.
As the book’s introduction says: “As the demand for in-the-moment news is met by broadcast and online media, the role of the printed press has shifted. Increasingly, it falls to newspapers and magazines to provide commentary and perspective on the unceasing flow of reporting. There has been a corresponding shift in news photography. While continuing to document events, photographers are also engaging with the big issues – the future of the planet, relations between the West and the rest of the world, human migration, the resurgence of faith.”
Our World Now features numerous photos capturing news developments, trends and ordinary life in China, as well as climate change and other environment-related events. In images reflecting the world today, we see fires and floods, drought and pollution, devastation and development, hope and despair, life and death -- images to which each reader will respond in his or her own way.
Now, say the book’s editors, it is “ever more the individual image that must encapsulate the essence” of a news story. Few publications devote space these days to photojournalistic sequences spread over several pages. “News photography has come to encompass a vast spectrum of images that are in one way or another symbolic of our times – images that capture the atmosphere and go to the heart of the matter.”
What more can anyone ask of photography, or of a book illustrating a year in the unique life of our planet?
Copyright © Reuters 2008 and posted on chinadialogue with the permission of Reuters and publishers Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.
Maryann Bird is associate editor of chinadialogue