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December 3, 2011 2:28 AM   Subscribe

Reuters Best Photos of the Year.
posted by crossoverman (55 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
That photo by LUCY NICHOLSON was awful. Just junk. How did that end up as a best photo of the year?
posted by Yowser at 2:40 AM on December 3, 2011


Two thoughts:

1) The year isn't over. I remember when the "best of the year" lists used to come out during the week between Christmas and New Year's. I'm old.

2) If you want to take a "best photo of the year", it would appear that you should use a Canon.
posted by weirdoactor at 2:46 AM on December 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The descriptions written by the photographers read like bad fiction, and all sounded the same. I had a sense every description was written by the same freshman cheap romance novel writer.

However, the shot of the police in Tibet description had me laughing, when a photographer states "..... and somehow they were captured in my picture.” I have to wonder. Does he mean that he doesn't understand how the mechanics of photography work in terms of capturing the image, or that he can't comprehend that, if he is pointing the camera at a group that they will appear in the photo?
posted by tomswift at 2:49 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are some great pictures here, and a lot more very average ones, that only really work with lots of accompanying text, and lots that don't even work with that. Good on Reuters for giving their photojournos coverage, but 100 is a lot, and there's a awful lot of images that aren't very strong with the accompanying story in there.

I sound like some kind of Cracked-loving ho, but 20 or 50 would have been a bit more digestible to me. Fascinating to see the homogeneity of Canon kits there.
posted by smoke at 3:04 AM on December 3, 2011


I hate to deviate from the general attitude so far, but I'm only up to pic number 21 and I'm awash with emotions. Number 3, number 5, number 12... maybe it's because I'm not a photographer or artist on any level, perhaps I'm just registering these on a base level as someone who doesn't see victims of suicide bombers or tsunami victims regularly, but these photos are having an affect on me.

Isn't that what it's all about?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:08 AM on December 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


it would appear that you should use a Canon.

Yes, I noticed that - were three or four Nikon? 95% were Cannon. And quiet a few E0S. Is that a press camera?
posted by mattoxic at 3:17 AM on December 3, 2011


Tom Swift, I believe that photographer is probably Chinese (well, as a guess. His name is "Jacky Chen" and here's a Reuter's feed of his photos, most in North Korea, and some in China).

So for this collection Reuters apparently asked the photographers to talk a bit about each shot, and maybe in some cases the descriptions were translated from their own languages, or English was not the first language of the photographer... So he might have been saying something more along the lines of "I went up high hoping to get a good shot of the procession from above, and once there, I unexpectedly found this scene of the police on duty also shooting the event with their cell phones, etc., and so managed to get this shot."

I think the main thrust there was that he didn't expect or plan that shot, it was just sort of serendipitous.
posted by taz at 4:09 AM on December 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hope nothing else happens for the rest of the year.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:38 AM on December 3, 2011


#74. For the love of God, why????
posted by Renoroc at 4:45 AM on December 3, 2011


This one looks like the work of Storm Thorgerson for a never-released Pink Floyd album.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:46 AM on December 3, 2011


Researchers dressed in panda costumes put a panda cub into a basket before transferring it to a new living environment at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve.

Beautiful picture. Also, can we please turn this into a sitcom.
posted by Fizz at 4:48 AM on December 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Newspeople must have a different view on what makes a good photograph. So much war, natural disasters, people bloody, dying or dead. I got to #98 but the warning made me stop. I don't want to find out what they think is extremely graphic and worth a separate warning after seeing the others.
posted by ikalliom at 4:55 AM on December 3, 2011


Nah, EOS is Canon's entire line of digital SLRs and interchangeable lenses, from $500 to $5000 or more. A lot of press photographers do use higher end Canon gear (although I'd guess Nikon still has the edge for reasons that sort of escape me).

I am a complete devotee of Canon digital cameras for every reason you can imagine, but mostly because the image quality is so superb. And I was a Nikon and film guy well into the digital revolution -- one of those cats who said "digital will never match film."

Now my EOST3i, about an $800 (cheap!) SLR (OK, you gotta spend 300+ on a better lens), is my favorite camera evah. If you're looking for a digital SLR I swear this one reaches into your brain, finds what your eyes are seeing, and digitally converts it into an image. It's like it can't take a bad photo.
posted by spitbull at 5:16 AM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Renorac

#75 man, #75...
posted by sfts2 at 5:21 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of the crappy photos here really give an even crappier photographer such as myself hope. Thank you for posting this.
posted by Knigel at 5:36 AM on December 3, 2011


Favorites:
#14 by ERIC THAYER
#25 by LI PING
#26 by DWI OBLO
#32 by BAZ RATNER
#38 by DAMIR SAGOLJ
#46 by IRAKLI GEDENIDZE
#66 by JASON LEE
#72 by WANG XINKE
#73 by HENG YI
#78 by KIERAN DOHERTY
#87 by GORAN TOMASEVIC
#91 by ARND WIEGMANN
#97 by DAMIR SAGOLJ

My gratitude goes out to the countless brave photographers who make it possible for us to follow world events from the comfort of our homes.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:36 AM on December 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


NSFW tag just in case? Also taking your lion out for a stroll seems like a bad idea (#93).
posted by Horatius at 5:48 AM on December 3, 2011


mattoxic: Yes, I noticed that - were three or four Nikon? 95% were Cannon.
It may only mean that the Reuters pool gear happens to be Canon. I actually thought putting the gear details in plain view like that was a little distracting.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:58 AM on December 3, 2011


Newspeople must have a different view on what makes a good photograph.

Yeah, these must be what they think are good news photographs, not just good photos, because some of them are pretty unremarkable if you don't know the background or read the caption and then read things into the picture that weren't apparent from the picture.
posted by pracowity at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I loved the one where the plane is flying into Heaven.
posted by Renoroc at 6:25 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Newspeople must have a different view on what makes a good photograph. So much war, natural disasters, people bloody, dying or dead.

Yes, funny that there'd be a lot of these photos when we rely on news agencies like Reuters to cover war and natural disaster. Let's just have a big mountain with lots nice lens flares next time!
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 6:29 AM on December 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


56!
posted by mdonley at 6:50 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was kind of mixed, but most of them were compelling, either beautiful, or sad, or just interesting.
posted by Forktine at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2011


100 is a lot of photos, of course you don't like them all. My favourite was 97, of North Korea. 28 of the falling wingwalker is an amazing photo too, but I don't much care for photos of people about to die.
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on December 3, 2011


As far as cameras go, the Nikon D3S (which took the famous Royal Wedding photo) produces superb quality and is a professional-level camera from its price tag alone (something like $5k for the body). I do think giving the camera details on every shot in plain view was sort of distracting, but then again so were (some of) the stories on "how I got the shot." I tended to prefer the news captions.

Interesting set of photos, though. Wonder why they didn't wait for anything to happen in December--did they do a similar thing last year and start counting from then forward?
posted by asciident at 8:02 AM on December 3, 2011


"Wonder why they didn't wait for anything to happen in December"

Because a lot of other news agency/newspapers/online magazines/etc are going to do this as well, and it's best to be first, right?
posted by tomswift at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2011


I have to say this format really sucks. You can't really link to individual images (apparently), and you have to click, click, click through. Boston.com's big picture really had the right idea. Don't needlessly reinvent the UI.
posted by delmoi at 8:19 AM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't mean that they all should be of pandas and people in panda suits with a mountain background and lens flare on top. Uncomfortable images of catastrophy victims can be very effective in getting people to donate and help the victims, and sure enough, there's a lot of bad things happening every year that deserve attention, which they would not get without photography.

But for example #29 with wingwalker Todd Green falling off from the biplane wing (and when you read the text, to death) is just horrible, and the compilation format, with one shock after another, makes it even worse. From the photographer's perspective, it is a good shot, at least the timing, but the newspapers I read would never print a picture like that.
posted by ikalliom at 8:36 AM on December 3, 2011


you have to click, click, click through

On the page, there's a View All Images link.
posted by SPrintF at 8:37 AM on December 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


That photo by LUCY NICHOLSON was awful. Just junk. How did that end up as a best photo of the year?

I guess you have a different idea of what 'junk' is. I think the remarkable thing about that photograph is the ability of the photographer to create such interest in a scene in which it was probably not all that apparent. The use of the slow shutter speed and the rear-curtain sync is a nice little trick in those lighting conditions, and to get the graphic elements in behind was just luck ('luck' is often a photographers' way of processing what they can't remember about composing the photo, but I'll bet those things registered on some level at the time).

I think it's a great photo that sums up the current state of Britian quite well: the pub culture, drinking, the tiara/hen party subculture, the celebrity/royal worship, and the ability to poke fun at all of it. Even in the subject you see some dichotomy - the irony in her dress and yet her attentiveness to the television. All this with the seemingly younger person in the background - the idle unemployed youth with the back to these proceedings but lurking still and very British at that.

As for the Canons, my guess is that most of it is the result of the 5D Mk II. It's compact and discreet, but most of all shoots 18mp of very clean images, and it will do video in a pinch - it is almost the perfect photojournalist camera.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:06 AM on December 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just a stat: of 100 pics, 46 were pain/violence porn.

My favorite — taking a lion for a walk, carrying a HUGE CHUNK OF MEAT. How badass is that?
posted by Tom-B at 9:07 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes photographs shouldn't be released to the public without the express permission of the subject or the family. I'm not talking about the "this photo will change the face of the world and make it a better place" photo, I'm talking about the "hey, look this guy is about to die" photo that does nothing but sensationalize a tragic death.
posted by tomswift at 9:07 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a world we live in....
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2011


I am amazed by most of these photos. And I'm thrilled they were collected in one place. I don't get the criticism at all. These are photos of the world we live in, and offer me a glimpse at things I'd never see without these brave photojournalists documenting them. Some photos are sad, some gross, some ugly, some delightful. What else could they possibly be?

That photo by LUCY NICHOLSON? It rocks. On preview, what jimmythefish said.
posted by cccorlew at 9:59 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found it odd they had a separate warning for the last photograph, when, for me, #90 is a lot more graphic. At least, more unsettling.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:16 AM on December 3, 2011


The one I don't see as belonging anywhere near a "best of" list is #70. Supporter greets politician, politician is surprised, so the hell what?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2011


for me, #90 is a lot more graphic.

Barbed wire rash on a cyclist's ass is more unsettling than the decomposing body of a young person? Christ, it's time to re-evaluate.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:29 AM on December 3, 2011


The one I don't see as belonging anywhere near a "best of" list is #70. Supporter greets politician, politician is surprised, so the hell what?

I guess it's because this is something politicians generally don't do on camera -- look surprised. They're expected to be in charge of any situation, which this guy clearly isn't.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:29 AM on December 3, 2011


As an American, I find these pictures to be just another example of how lucky we are in America. I realize we have bad things that happen here every day, but if you look at the pictures that were from the United States versus the rest of the world, it's very humbling and, in a way, almost embarrassing. The level of tragedy in a good number of the pictures from around the world is just heartbreaking. In America? Well, there is the picture of women fighting over expensive wedding dresses, a reflection of someones face while they film Sarah Palin with her iPad, Phil Mickelson lounging on a golf course, etc. Granted, we do have the Michael Jackson death picture and the guy falling from a plan as he tries, for reasons passing understanding, to climb from a prop plane to a helicopter. Even the OWS picture is of a guy calmly getting a shave. The only thing we have representing a real American Tragedy is the two 9/11 pictures-the plane at the memorial and the bloody high heels.

I could probably get all preachy but I won;t. The pictures speak for themselves.
posted by holdkris99 at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


hey does that first picture look like Jimmy McNulty to anybody else?
posted by entropone at 11:19 AM on December 3, 2011


hey does that first picture look like Jimmy McNulty to anybody else?

See, you are like me, you see The Wire everywhere you look.
posted by holdkris99 at 11:21 AM on December 3, 2011


As for the Canons, my guess is that most of it is the result of the 5D Mk II. It's compact and discreet, but most of all shoots 18mp of very clean images, and it will do video in a pinch - it is almost the perfect photojournalist camera.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:06 PM


Sorry to nitpick here but - The 5DmkII is anything but compact and discreet... I own a few of them and believe me, they're big, bulky and heavy - just like the Canon 1 Series film bodies I used to carry. Also, they're 21 megapixels. It will also do video more than just "in a pinch" - it was the camera that revolutionized the idea of the DSLR as a video too. But yes, you're correct - its the almost perfect photoj tool. The frame rate and autofocus aren't up to the 1DmkIV by a longshot, so that would still be what I'd call the ideal tool at the moment.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:22 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody happen to notice if any of these pictures were photographed on film? (A more elegant weapon for a more civilized age, etc etc.)
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2011


I think it's a great photo that sums up the current state of Britian quite well.

That would be a fair point, but the photo was taken at a costume party in Los Angeles.
posted by Flashman at 11:48 AM on December 3, 2011


for me, #90 is a lot more graphic.

Barbed wire rash on a cyclist's ass is more unsettling than the decomposing body of a young person? Christ, it's time to re-evaluate.


The cyclist picture registers for me as #92. You may want to skip back a couple of photos. Or not.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:13 PM on December 3, 2011


LastOfHisKind: looks like none of them are. Which is what you'd expect, given that these are news photographs. You still find lots of film use in the fine art world, which doesn't depend on having the picture online one hour after it was shot.

As for the claims of "violence porn", I honestly don't see it. Yes, there's lots of violence, but I don't think there's lots of gratuitous or overly aestheticized violence and pain. This is the world we live in.
posted by simen at 12:53 PM on December 3, 2011


The one that had the biggest impact for me was 69. A lot of the other photos show people dying or dead. That one shows someone who was loosing his home and business and couldn't pay his loans. Driven to the point of self-immolation, he survived with 'serious injuries'.

For what little it's worth, the dead aren't suffering. This man's suffering must be even greater than it was before.
posted by YAMWAK at 2:40 PM on December 3, 2011


Is it just me, or has 2011 been an exceptionally crappy year?
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2011


That would be a fair point, but the photo was taken at a costume party in Los Angeles.

...for British expats at a British pub in the middle of the night, Los Angeles time.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note to self: Self, these retrospectives are ALWAYS going to have a dead-baby picture. Just... don't.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a crib to stand close-to-but-not-so-close-as-to-wake-the-baby-I-just-need-to-see-him-breathing-for-a-while.
posted by sonika at 6:54 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or has 2011 been an exceptionally crappy year?

Not just you.

Also, damn you people are hard to please. I was going to post my gallery of black velvet Voltron paintings to Projects but after this thread, well, you'll just have to go to my LJ.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:22 PM on December 3, 2011


Something about this picture just hit me right in the gut.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:44 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's a great photo that sums up the current state of Britian

I like the ironically oafish misspelling. Well played, Sir.
posted by epo at 1:53 AM on December 4, 2011


Barbed wire rash on a cyclist's ass is more unsettling than the decomposing body of a young person? Christ, it's time to re-evaluate.

#90 is an execution in mogadishu photographed by Omar Faruk, not the cyclist?

Looking at all 100 of these in one go is very affecting. I, too, found the lion keeper photo amazing!
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:42 PM on December 4, 2011


#74. For the love of God, why????

I love this picture. It reminds me of Martin Parr, in that you see what happens before the event, something secret that's hidden from most people. Also, I've seen a few 'backstage' pictures from runway shows but seeing one with dark-skinned black girls is unusual enough to be striking, and so is seeing them casually eating. There's a lack of artifice about it which I don't think one would see at the better known 'Fashion Weeks'. It makes me wonder more about these girls - are they determined to walk the catwalk in New York one day, are they enjoying dressing up and performing or treating it like a job, are the models doing each other's make-up instead of being sprayed and painted by a 'celebrity' artist, what happens after they come off the catwalk? For me the story here and the questions that come into my head are as strong as those for the naturist couple just underneath.
posted by mippy at 10:15 AM on December 6, 2011


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