Week of 24/03/07 – 30/03/07: Spring Comes Darkly

Posted by Megan

Every week our Photo Editor, Megan Tidd, sifts through catalogues of imagery, selecting the most striking or poignant photojournalistic work produced that week, usually for some of the world’s most important news stories.  Here are the reasons behind the Week in Pictures, and what the images mean to MSN, the world, and hopefully to you…

I was amazed at the overwhelming feeling of darkness pictured in this week’s imagery.  While spring is supposed to be, well, springing, with clichéd shots of blossoms and evening sunshine, photojournalists were this week stuck into dark tales of slavery, melting glaciers and the continuing conflict in Iraq.  Away went last week’s bright palates and crisp azure skies; imagery this week seemed to tap into a sense of unrest.

Early in the weekend, I noticed some interesting work coming out of Iraq.  While this is not unusual for the current times, photographer Marko Drobnjakovic seemed to make interesting use of time accompanying a battalion searching houses and buildings, using the stark, desolate-looking surroundings to isolate his subjects and create a clear friction between the soldiers and their environment.  Also intriguing, is the noticeable ease with which the soldiers interact with either Drobnjakovic or the camera.  Leaning back, smoking cigarettes, or bowing their heads, they are clearly unbothered at getting photographed – there is none of the posturing seen so frequently in most Iraq war photography. Most striking to me was a portrait of a small child staring up at a fully-dressed soldier, but I’ve included some others from the series, in the WIP 240307-300307: Outtakes album, to your right.

Photographer Luc Gnago also had some solid work on the anniversary of slavery, in Ghana.  Accompanying formal ceremonies were nicely done portraits of abandoned slave dungeons (also in Outtakes) and reminders of slavery’s lasting legacy.  My choice was a simple, graphic shot of women selling fruit on an abandoned street corner; a plain but powerful statement about Africa’s continued struggles.

Another notable series was Finbarr O’Reilly’s pictures of the Mauritania election, including wonderful cultural shots of desert, political rallies and some striking portraits of Mauritanians.  While the Mauritania election was likely not top-news on most media outlets, O’Reilly does a great job of digging into the country’s prevalent issues and presenting the underlying feeling behind an election without a clear winner.

Somewhat randomly this week, photographer Enrique Marcarian took to the hills, to photograph the melting ice sheets of Patagonian glacier Lago Argentino.  With cobalt blue shards cutting into the sky and surrounding mountains, Marcarian’s imagery brings an abstract graphic element to the week.  My pick offered a bit of perspective, courtesy of some teeny black silhouettes watching the sheets crash into the sea.

Overall, this wasn’t an extraordinary week for photography. Much of the work, as a whole, however, seemed to effortlessly string together a feeling of descending gloom.  Perhaps it was nothing more than a coincidence of diffused light, but somehow I can’t shrug the sentiment.  Maybe it has to do with four years of war, captured soldiers, and the sunshine refusing to penetrate the blanket of English clouds.  Regardless, I am looking strangely forward to the cheesy requisite springtime blooms to come.  Cherry blossoms, anyone?

What do you think?  Is this a dark week for humanity, or just a bit of fog on the lens?  Leave your comments, below. 

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