Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 7, 2013

Women Who Expect One Thing and Get Another

Lately, I’ve been thinking about themes and patterns in the river of pictures flowing through the news web. This photo appeared Friday in a TIME slideshow on the Syrian Civil War. Here’s the caption:

Um Jaafar, a woman fighter in the Free Syrian Army, sits with her husband Abu Jaafar, a Sawt al-Haq battalion commander, and her daughter Faten at their home in Aleppo, Feb. 12, 2013.

After all the Pieta variants we’ve seen from the Mid-East over the past few years (case in point), this feels like a relief. If you can break the photos from Syria into two blunt categories, those documenting the battle and those capturing everyday life taking place around it, this combines the two. In a novel (and surprisingly gender-balanced) way, the portrait leaves us (and likely more so, the child) unable to tell where the hostilities end and domesticity begins.

World Water Day Ethiopia

I saw this visual and visceral statement in an Al Jazerra slide show about two weeks ago on World Water Day. In a surprisingly simple presentation, the woman’s face conveying the trauma of every foray, it’s about seeking a most basic commodity without the fear of being victimized as one.

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And then, we’re not the only ones having issues with marriage and recognition by the state. Denied passage to Palestine through Egypt, the bride-to-be had to find a creative way to get to Gaza. Apparently, these smuggling tunnels are not just for goods but for hopes and dreams.

(photo 1: Muzaffar Salman/Reuters.photo 2: James McCauley/WaterAid caption: A girl protests about the dangers of walking long distances to find water in Jeldu Woreda, Ethiopia. This week over 300,000 people globally are taking part in “the world walks for water and sanitation” campaign, calling on governments to keep to their international commitments. photo 3: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa caption: On March 21, Egyptian bride Manal Abu Shanar (shown above) took an unusual route to her wedding in the Gaza Strip (map): a smuggler’s tunnel. linked “everyday life” photo: photo: Daniel Etter / Redux. caption: At a local market in the Shaar area of Aleppo on Aug. 24, it’s business as usual. People carry on with their day-to-day activities despite the constant threat of air attacks and other violence.)

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