Tuesday, 15 February 2011

In Focus: The Atlantic's New Photo Blog

Photo © AP Photo/Altaf Qadri-All Rights Reserved
Another great addition to the stable of newspaper/magazine photo blogs is The Atlantic's In Focus whose editor is Alan Taylor (previously with Boston Globe's The Big Picture).

It recently featured the photographs which won recognition at the World Press Photo Contest 2011. The top honor went to Jodie Bieber for her image of Bibi Aisha, a disfigured Afghan woman, taken for Time magazine. However it being shown on the magazine's cover spoiled its impact insofar as I'm concerned...it was a blatant use of photography as propaganda since it was accompanied by the title of ‘What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan’. A hypocritical and cynical misuse of Aisha's misfortune. And by the way, her name is not Aisha Bibi...Bibi is just a title of respect given to South Asian women.

Don't get me wrong...it's a powerful image which highlights the plight of tribal women in Afghanistan and deserves recognition for doing so. What spoiled it for me was its appearance on the magazine pushing a political agenda.

Having said that, my top favorite of the lot is by Kashmiri photographer Altaf Qadri of a funeral in Pattan, Kashmir. It was awarded the 1st prize in the the People in the News singles category at the 2011 World Press Photo awards. To me, this powerful photograph is what photojournalism is all about.

The photograph shows the sister of Feroz Ahmad (who was killed by Indian forces) wailing in grief as she clings to the platform carrying the body of her brother during his funeral in Pattan, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Srinagar, India.