This week Pakistan marked its day of independence from British rule with parades, parties, face painting and bombs. Two pictures of faces covered in colour, one paint, the other blood, seems to sum up all there needs to be said about the national pride Pakistan feels while facing so many challenges. Visually the complementary colours of green and red (colours on opposite sides of the colour spectrum) make the pictures jump out of the page especially when put side by side. The angry eye staring out of the face of green in Mohsin Raza’s picture engages the viewer full on while in Amir Hussain’s picture the man seems oblivious of his wound as blood covers his face, again more opposites, this time not in colour but mood. India too is preparing to celebrate its independence and Dehli-based photographer Parivartan Sharma’s picture of festival preparations came to mind after I put together the red-and-green combination picture from Pakistan.
(top left) A man, with his face painted depicting the colours of the Pakistan national flag, attends a ceremony to mark the country’s Independence Day at the Wagah border crossing with India on the outskirts of Lahore August 14, 2011. Pakistan gained independence from British rule in 1947. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
A man, his face bloodied by a head injury, is held by a resident as he waits to be evacuated from the site of a bomb blast in Dara Allah Yar, located in the Jaffarabad district of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, August 14, 2011. A bomb ripped through the two-story building in Pakistan’s restive southwest on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly 20, police said. REUTERS/Amir Hussain
A worker installs decorations to a tent to be used for independence day celebrations in Noida, in the outskirts of New Delhi August 14, 2011. India commemorates its independence day on August 15. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma
A roller-coaster week in global markets kept many of the team in Asia busy illustrating one of the hardest stories to shoot pictures for, the fall and rise of stocks, currencies and markets. On news of the United States losing its triple-A rating the markets fell only to be later buoyed by good news on employment. Gold prices rose and currencies fell on more bad news from the euro-zone, the Asia market always being one of the first to react. The question in every photographers’ mind was “what to take pictures of?”. One minute the markets are up and the next down, currency changes are good for one part of the country’s economy but bad for another. From Pakistan and India across to China, Japan, South Korea and down to Australia, the pictures the team produced are a visual feast of the turmoil.
An elderly man is reflected on a marble table as he monitors share prices on a screen during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange August 10, 2011. Pakistani stocks ended 2.5 percent higher on Wednesday, recovering from a near nine-month low the previous day as world stocks rebounded, led by the fertilizer sector. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Brokers react as they monitor stock prices at the Karachi Stock Exchange August 9, 2011. Pakistani stocks fell more than 3.2 percent and ended at an almost nine-month low, taking a cue from world markets. Dealers said healthy corporate results were also unable to spark any investor interest. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
An Indonesian broker reads a newspaper near his monitor at Bank Mandiri Sekuritas trading floor in Jakarta August 8, 2011. Stocks in Indonesia and Singapore fell around 5 percent on Monday and other Southeast Asian markets lost 2-3 percent because of concern about the global economic outlook after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A customer is reflected in a mirror as he eats while waiting for peso notes in exchange for his dollar notes at a money changer in Manila August 9, 2011. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (L) speaks with Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as they attend a committee meeting in parliament’s lower house in Tokyo August 10, 2011. Prospects grew on Wednesday that Kan would resign this month, setting the stage for the selection of Japan’s sixth leader in five years as the country struggles to rebuild from a massive tsunami, forge a new energy policy in the wake of a nuclear crisis and fix tattered state finances. Noda, who favours paying for bulging social security costs by raising the five percent sales tax, and like Kan sees reining in ballooning public debt as policy priority, is mooted as a leading contender. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
An employee of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) reacts as he monitors stock trading at the bourse in Tokyo August 9, 2011. The Nikkei stock average closed down 1.7 percent on Tuesday, having trimmed losses on bargain hunting after the index tumbled more than 4 percent in the wake of a plunge on Wall Street and a downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A person walks past a board showing stock market prices inside a brokerage in Taipei August 9, 2011. Taiwan stocks fell 0.79 percent on Tuesday, but some companies such as Apple suppliers got a lift as government intervention was seen, some fund managers said. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
A man walks past indicator boards at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney shortly after the local market opened August 9, 2011. Australian stocks fell 3.6 percent in opening trade on Tuesday, on Wall Street’s rout and fears that Europe and the United States will slide back into recession, despite efforts by policymakers to calm markets. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
Staying in Japan, Toky0-based photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon spent some time visiting some of the tsunami-hit areas to produce a sequence of combination pictures to show the changes that have taken place as Japan emerges from the disaster. And following the thread of economic woes, Kyung-hoon was at the press conference where TEPCO, the owners of the stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima, announced massive losses, and made the most of the opportunity to turn a dull, flatly lit news conference to produce two striking images. I link one of them, with a quantum leap, to the portrait of the young man with the painted-on moustache at the Gaijatra festival shot by Nepal-based Navesh Chitrakar.
A combination photo shows pictures of an area hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, north of Japan, March 17 (top) and August 12 (bottom), 2011. More than 1,400 people in Kesennuma are killed or left missing by the natural disaster in March. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A combination photo shows pictures of a ship brought in by the tsunami at a devastated area hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, north of Japan, March 17 (L) and August 12 , 2011. More than 1,400 people in Kesennuma were killed or left missing by the natural disaster in March. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)’s President Toshio Nishizawa (R) is seen through reporters’ silhouette during a news conference on the company’s April-June quarter earnings in Tokyo August 9, 2011. Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, reported a $7.4 billion quarterly loss due to a massive provision to compensate victims of the nuclear disaster, soaring fuel costs and a dive in sales. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)’s President Toshio Nishizawa attends a news conference on the company’s April-June quarter earnings in Tokyo August 9, 2011. Tokyo Electric Power , the operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, reported a $7.4 billion quarterly loss due to a massive provision to compensate victims of the nuclear disaster, soaring fuel costs and a dive in sales. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A boy dresses up as a holy man during the Gaijatra festival, also known as “cow festival,” in Kathmandu August 14, 2011. Hindus in Kathmandu celebrate the festival to ask for salvation and peace for their departed loved ones. Gaijatra is also known as “cow festival,” as the cow is regarded as a holy animal that helps departed souls reach heaven. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Flooding has hit parts of India and Myanmar,which as you can image is no surprise or big news, but what really attracts me to Myanmar-based photographer Soe Zeya Tun’s picture is how all the people in the picture seem to be going about their daily business, laughing and chatting seemingly oblivious of the fact they are up to their waists in water. By the same token the feeling I get from Mukesh Gupta’s picture is sheer unhappiness as the boy walks through the green and polluted flood waters, although try as I might I can’t explain why I get this feeling given that we can’t even see the boy’s face.
People walk on a flooded street in central Bago town, around 100 km (62 miles) north of Yangon August 10, 2011. Heavy rains caused the Bago river to overflow on Wednesday, flooding towns and forcing the evacuation of some 4,000 people to temporary shelters. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A primary school boy wades through the flooded lawns of his school after heavy rains at Bassi Kalan village in the outskirts of Jammu August 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta
Indonesia-based Y.T. Haryono and Supri used Ramadan to shoot some beautiful pictures. The first, a lesson in a mosque as students carefully read the Koran and listen to their tutor as they ring them in a seated circle. And the second of a busy market thronged with people as they purchase textiles as they prepare for Eid al-Fitr, the hurried busy feeling created by a slow shutter speed.
Students from an Islamic boarding school attend a Koran recitation during Ramadan in a mosque in Medan of the Indonesia’s North Sumatra province August 10, 2011. Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and conducting sexual relations from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. REUTERS/Y.T. Haryono
Indonesians visit a textile market to buy new clothes ahead of the Islamic Eid al-Fitr festival in Jakarta August 10, 2011. Muslims around the world will celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. REUTERS/Supri
Lastly, the final round-up of pictures that just speak for themselves. Malyasia-based Bazuki Muhammad photographed a man who dresses as a woman to offer men entertainment, at a price, at the weekend. Nothing remarkable about that until you consider the conservative nature of the Islamic state he lives in; Kabul-based Omar Sonhani’s picture of people peering through the rear window of a vehicle at the bodies of demonstrators killed during a protest just makes me feel sad for the loss; I love the triangles of composition in Cambodia-based Samrang Pring’s picture of new recruits shaking hands and the stark image by Vietnam-based Kham’s picture of the Agent Orange victim, my eye wandering around the frame leaving me with an uncomfortable feeling after it finally settles on the child’s face. Beijing-based David Gray gets lucky with another photographer’s flash during an official welcoming ceremony (imagine this image without the blast of light). And last of all, step aside Bruce Lee here comes Australia bowler Brett Lee jumping like a Kung Foo king captured by Sri Lanka-based Dinuka Liyanawatte. All this action on the week that the England cricket team become the number one by beating India.
Transvestite Firdaus Bakri puts on a bra as he prepares to meet his clients at his room in Kuala Lumpur August 13, 2011. Firdaus, who goes by the name Firsya, makes an average of 150 ringgit ($50) a night entertaining men. Firdaus says he has been cross-dressing since he was 12 years old. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad
People look on as the dead body of an Afghan man lies inside a car during a demonstration in Kabul August 9, 2011. Three civilians were killed and three wounded in a dispute over land on the outskirts of Kabul, police said. About 300 protesters carried the three bodies through the streets as they tried to make their way to the Afghan parliament. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
Cambodians, who volunteered to join the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, shake hands during a ceremony at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh August 8, 2011. At least 800 Phnom Penh residents volunteered to join the army. REUTERS/Samrang Pring
Am agent Orange victim Nguyen Thi Thao, 16 years old, sits at the Friendship village, a hospice for Agent Orange victims outside Hanoi August 9, 2011. Delegates from around the world gathered in Hanoi for the second international conference on Agent Orange victims from August 8 to 10, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Agent Orange/Dioxin into Vietnam. Agent Orange is a dioxin-laced defoliant sprayed by U.S. troops in the Vietnam War to destroy crops and jungle cover shielding guerrillas. U.S. warplanes used it the first time on August 10, 1961, in Vietnam’s central Kontum province, dropping about 18 million gallons of the defoliant on southern Vietnam for most of the 1960s. The defoliant released dioxins that have been blamed for health problems on people exposed with claims of dioxin poisoning by more than 3 million people in Vietnam. REUTERS/Kham
A photographer takes a picture of Mozambican President Armando Guebuza (L) walking with China’s President Hu Jintao during an official welcoming ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing August 10, 2011. Guebuza is on a six-day official visit to China. REUTERS/David Gray
Australia’s Brett Lee (R) celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s captain Tillakaratne Dilshan during their second One Day International (ODI) cricket match in Hambantota August 14, 2011. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte