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Pictures of the Week: September 21 – 28

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From the NFL touchdown controversy in the U.S. News submission . and Israelis observing Yom Kippur to China’s first aircraft carrier and surfing with dolphins in Australia, TIME presents the best images of the week.

Pictures of the Week: September 14 – 21

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From continued anti-American protests around the world and the Pope’s visit to Lebanonto the honoring of Aung San Suu Kyi in the U.S.and the Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of the South Pacific, TIME presents the best images of the week.

The End of al-Qaeda? On Patrol in Yemen by Yuri Kozyrev

Yuri Kozyrev and I have spent more hours than we care to remember on ‘embed’ with the great militaries of the world—American, Russian, NATO, Indian. But a chance to travel with a Yemeni Central Security Force (CSF) patrol in the southern Abyan province had both of us filled with nervous excitement. We were keenly aware that Yemen, a desperately poor nation at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, doesn’t exactly have the best-equipped army. And yet this army had just dealt al-Qaeda a major military blow in Abyan, earning the respect of all soldiers who have fought against fanatical jihadists, and those of us who have covered those battles.

We were told to bring our own vehicle because the CSF patrol was comprised of a single Toyota pickup truck, and there was no room for passengers. We met our escort on the outskirts of the port of Aden on a day the temperature topped 120 degrees and the humidity, 90%. In that heat, Yuri and I were grateful that, unlike the U.S. military, the Yemeni CSF did not require us to wear body-armor: the soldiers had none themselves. But we knew we were going into towns and villages where many al-Qaeda fighters were still at large, living among the population and just waiting for a chance to strike at the Yemeni military. The leader of our patrol, 2nd Lieutenant Tariq Bishr, warned us that we could take sniper fire at any moment.


The Sept. 17, 2012 cover of TIME International.

There was also a risk we could hit a landmine: the retreating jihadists had planted thousands of them on the roads leading to the major towns of Zinjibar and Jaar. In those towns, many homes and offices were booby-trapped, designed to kill civilians (many of whom had fled when al-Qaeda had taken over) as they came home.

But if any of this worried Yuri, he didn’t show it: I’ve known from working with him for a decade that he is unflinchingly fearless under fire. He quickly developed a rapport with the soldiers in our patrol, overcoming any concerns they may have had about having to baby-sit a pair of foreigners in a dangerous place. At the start of the patrol, Lieutenant Bishr and his men were nervous about Yuri’s camera, mainly because it attracted too much attention from bystanders. But within a couple of hours, the soldiers had become Yuri’s spotters, pointing out photo opportunities and posing for pictures themselves.

The result is this series of pictures, which offers a rare glimpse into an important battlefield in the war on terror. But it’s worth remembering these were only possible because of the valor of Lieutenant Bishr and his men.

Bobby Ghosh is an editor-at-large at TIME. Read his cover story from Yemen in this week’s issue of TIME here.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

Silhouettes in the News

Prior to the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the silhouette was considered an effective and inexpensive way to record a persons likeness or capture a scene. Although the practice can be traced back to the early 17th century, the term silhouette derives from the harsh policies of the French finance minister tienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette reduces an object to its most basic form. SEO Experts search engine marketing . Its historical uses in art can be seen in the paper cuts of Hans Christian Andersen and the artwork of Kara Walker.In photographic terms, the silhouette is created in situations where the subject is backlit. It can be used to hide a persons identity or play up their distinctive features, and its graphic form is often used artistically to photograph sport and dance. It heightens drama, adds atmosphere and makes a banal scene into a graphic wonder.

More than 200 years ago, the silhouette was the foremost way to document ones appearance, but its still widely used in photographic frames today.From capturing the world’s protests and politicians to wildfires and war zones, LightBox looks at the use ofsilhouetteson the wires this month.

See the first Silhouettes in the News feature on LightBox here.

Pictures of the Week, December 2–December 9

From suicide bombings in Afghanistan and the U.S. pullout from Iraq to the Ashura rituals in India and Russia’s elections, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

What pictures do the public get to see?


M. Scott Brauer posted an interesting story about the dissemination of photography, using Russell Watkinsphotos of spiderweb-covered trees in the aftermath of flooding in Pakistan as an example. Apparently, those photos have been very widely featured, unlike, it seems, the underlying – actual – story. Watkins writes in a blog post “But how many of the people that have seen these images are being pulled in by them enough to stop and think about the far bigger problem that the images are just a symbol of? Of course its hard to say. […] I wrote in my previous post about how photography can be said to explain everything and yet reveal nothing. And now I find myself realising that I may have taken some photographs that illustrate precisely that characteristic.” (more)

It seems to me that the main reason why these photographs got so widely seen is because all those newspapers and websites that distributed them turned the trees into the story. So I’m tempted to think that it’s one of those photography problems that cannot really be solved by photographers. Instead, it needs to be addressed in the wider context of how images are used and distributed by newspapers and websites. Sadly, while there are many debates about the work of photographers, there aren’t nearly enough about the lives of photographs once they’re out of the hands of photographers.

Make no mistake, it’s not even a new topic. But we better start talking about it, because we might not realize this, but it’s often not the photographers who decide which photographs we get to see. It’s the photography departments of newspapers, magazines, and websites.

We all have a very vital interest in discussing this topic, since the images we get to see to a pretty large extent determine what we learn about the state of this world and what conclusions we draw from this. Sounds too lofty? Well, think about it this way: It’s mostly photographs that have come to form the public’s opinion about NATO’s actions in Libya. Our tax dollars pay for the bombs our jets are dropping there. Is that a good thing or not? To be able to decide about that, we need to be informed about things, and to a fairly large extent our information comes in the form of the images newspapers (or websites) run as part of their stories.

In the spiderweb-tree case, the connection is slightly more indirect, which makes things even more poignant: We could decide to get involved there, by donating money to charities who will help the survivors of the floods in Pakistan. But if the main story we see focuses on spiderweb trees (which, it is believed, help reduce malaria) are we more or less likely to maybe donate a little money?

Instead of asking “What pictures do the public want to see?” I think the real questions are “What pictures do the public get to see?”, “How are the picture presented?”, and “Do those pictures and the presentation help the public form educated opinions about topics that matter?”

In fact, the problem is becoming ever more pressing, now that so much reporting takes place in the form of sites like The Big Picture, where lots of large photos, with very short captions, are used to provide the big picture. It should be pretty obvious that seeing forty photographs of some topic will not even come close to giving you the big picture. But it’s much easier to look at forty photographs and to then think one has an idea of what’s going on than to read a long article.

The reason why I am stressing this so much is because I think photographers (especially photojournalists) have got a pretty bad rap, especially recently. A lot of the image-related problems we have seen recently are not really caused by the photographers (photojournalists) themselves, they are caused by how their photographs are being used.