“Most images don’t stay with you, so when one does, I know there’s something important about it.”

It’s easy in a world that can be so instantaneous and ephemeral to get image fatigue – we see so much that we develop a distance and risk losing our empathy. Thankfully the photographers we work with strive to create imagery that continues to move us.

Every news story will have a key image but there are a number of elements that combine to make a picture affect you. It can be sympathy or outrage, or it can be about access or perspective. Most images don’t stay with you, so when one does, I know there’s something important about it.

Bringing back stories

If a photographer goes to war zones or natural disasters, events are likely to unfold that will create very striking and powerful pictures, but for me it’s the photographers who aren’t necessarily looking for the most obvious moments of conflict or tragedy whose images resonate. They’re looking for something to convey what’s happening on a human level.

This year we’ve seen a terrible human crisis affecting Africa. Both John Moore and Daniel Berehulak, at great personal risk to themselves, spent many weeks documenting the drastic situation and efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. They took time to cover the story from every angle. Their imagery has featured in many international reports and helped raise much-needed awareness about the severity of the epidemic.

That’s what a lot of our photographers do; they seek out and deliver stories from around the world that make people realize what’s happening and hopefully lead to action and change. The best images make you stop and think. John Moore’s picture of a wife looking on helplessly as her husband has fallen to the floor in an Ebola isolation ward is a powerful and moving image and if it makes a viewer donate or help in some small way, fantastic. If it motivates a government or an NGO to step in, all the better.

An alternative approach

Oil spill

When BP’s oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, Ben Lowy was there. As well as general coverage of the disaster, he produced a beautiful close-up study of the oil in the water, which is abstract and intriguing.

There’s a dichotomy in these pictures because although the image is beautiful, it’s a terrible situation. You have to look at it and really think about what it is you’re looking at and for me it resonates all the more for that.

Kayak

When it comes to sports photography, this shot by Alexander Hassenstein stands out to me from the hundreds of thousands captured at the London Olympics. He clearly took the time to consider where to position himself for the best angle and to technically think about what would produce a great photo. He portrays the movement, the excitement and the energy of this sport in this moment giving it a fine art quality.

It’s not always the literal picture that has the most impact. It is often an alternative approach that creates images that have staying power.

 High production values

Florence_whitelogo

As amazing as the ability to capture a defining moment as it unfolds is, the ability to carefully plan and construct an image is of equal value. I’ve worked with a lot of portrait photographers during my career and Lorenzo Agius is one of my favorites.

The thought and preparation that goes into his shoots is phenomenal and his portrait of Florence Welsh is typical of his approach. The composition is beautiful, the styling impeccable and the lighting exquisite. What I equally love is that it’s an unexpected approach to the portrait. To take somebody and depict them in a way that’s less seen and create a portrait that is out of the ordinary takes work.

Pause for thought

It’s very easy to think that film has overtaken imagery but what you can’t do with footage is take a quiet moment to contemplate what you’re looking at because by its nature, it’s constantly changing or moving. A still image – just like a painting or a statue gives you a moment to reflect.

Whether it’s a sports moment of an athlete at the top of their game or a child who has lost their entire family to a typhoon calling for help – all we can hope for from a great picture is that it gives the viewer pause for thought.


10 years in 10 frames gallery:

Chris Hondros (2005)

“As a parent, the pictures that hits me the hardest are children in suffering or pain. This shot by Chris Hondros is a brief moment but it’s desperately moving. You just want to be able to get to that child and help them.”

 Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a dusk patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Racan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen. Racan, paralyzed from the waist down, was treated later in the U.S. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Samar Hassan, 5, screams after her parents were killed by U.S. Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a dusk patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Racan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen. Racan, paralyzed from the waist down, was treated later in the U.S. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Spencer Platt (2006)

“This is an image that tells a story in one picture. You’ve got a group of young affluent Lebanese, driving through the devastation in Beirut. It shows that contrast between the have and the have-nots.”

Affluent Lebanese drive down the street to look at a destroyed neighborhood August 15, 2006 in southern Beirut, Lebanon. As the United Nations brokered cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah enters its first day, thousands of Lebanese returned to their homes and villages. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Affluent Lebanese drive down the street to look at a destroyed neighborhood August 15, 2006 in southern Beirut, Lebanon. As the United Nations brokered cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah enters its first day, thousands of Lebanese returned to their homes and villages. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Brent Stirton (2007)

“There are only 700 mountain gorillas left in the world. More than 100 park rangers have lost their lives trying to protect them. This image caused international outrage and started to tell the story of what was happening in the Congo and raise awareness.”

Conservation Rangers from an Anti-Poaching unit work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorillas killed in mysterious circumstances in the park, July 24, 2007, Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. A Silver-Back Alpha male, the leader of the group was shot, three females were also killed. Two of the females had babies and the other was pregnant. The two babies were not found and it is thought that they will have died of stress and dehydration. The motivation for the killing is not known but it is suspected that there are political motivations. The local illegal Charcoal industry clashes with conservation efforts in this very poor area and Rangers have been threatened, tortured and killed as a result of this clash of political and economic wills. Over 100 Rangers have been killed in their efforts to protect the Gorillas of Virunga, one of the world's most endangered species. The Congolese Rangers in this particular group are working with Wildlife Direct, a Conservation organisation. The Rangers receive a salary based on donations to Wildlife Direct and perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the world of wildlife conservation. The DRC has the highest toll of human casualties of any country since the second world war, a figure in the region of 4.6 million dead as a result of war and resultant displacement, disease, starvation and ongoing militia violence. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Edit by Getty Images)
Conservation Rangers from an Anti-Poaching unit work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorillas killed in mysterious circumstances in the park, July 24, 2007, Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. A Silver-Back Alpha male, the leader of the group was shot, three females were also killed. Two of the females had babies and the other was pregnant. The two babies were not found and it is thought that they will have died of stress and dehydration. The motivation for the killing is not known but it is suspected that there are political motivations. The local illegal Charcoal industry clashes with conservation efforts in this very poor area and Rangers have been threatened, tortured and killed as a result of this clash of political and economic wills. Over 100 Rangers have been killed in their efforts to protect the Gorillas of Virunga, one of the world’s most endangered species. The Congolese Rangers in this particular group are working with Wildlife Direct, a Conservation organisation. The Rangers receive a salary based on donations to Wildlife Direct and perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the world of wildlife conservation. The DRC has the highest toll of human casualties of any country since the second world war, a figure in the region of 4.6 million dead as a result of war and resultant displacement, disease, starvation and ongoing militia violence. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Edit by Getty Images)

Veronique de Viguerie (2008)

“The most arresting images from our photographers are often those taken within extraordinary circumstances. It’s hard to win the confidence of those people (Somali pirates) who are very dangerous. To have that strength and also come back with amazing images as well, that says something.”

Somali
Abdul Hassan, 39, carries an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) near a small boat with some of his crew. He is nicknamed ‘the one who never sleeps’ and is a chief of the pirate group called the ‘Central Regional Coast Guard’. This group, formed 3 years ago, has 350 men in its ranks, and about 100 speed boats. In 2008, the group attacked 29 ships, earning a total of USD $10million from it. Abdul Hassan himself collected USD $350,000. Abdul Hassan arrived with a small crew on a beach near Hobyo, on the border between Galmudug and Puntland states, before going on an attack to another ship. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Edit by Getty Images)

Lorenzo Agius (2009)

“The photographer had really thought about what they wanted to achieve that day and the portrait shows a great deal of production value.”

Singer Florence Welch poses for a portrait shoot in London on July 27, 2009.(Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Contour by Getty Images)
Singer Florence Welch poses for a portrait shoot in London on July 27, 2009.(Photo by Lorenzo Agius/Contour by Getty Images)

Benjamin Lowy (2010)

“There’s a dichotomy there because the picture is beautiful but it’s a terrible situation. Hopefully because it is aesthetically attractive, it will find itself being more widely disseminated and provoke thought.”

Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon as seen from the deck of an emergency oil-skimming response vessel on April 27, 2010. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon as seen from the deck of an emergency oil-skimming response vessel on April 27, 2010. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)

Layne Murdoch (2011)

“It’s like the heaven’s have opened and are shining upon this golden moment. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you can’t fail to appreciate this singular moment and how majestic it must have been to be in the stadium at that time.”

Donnie Jones #5 of the St. Louis Rams punts into the sun against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Donnie Jones #5 of the St. Louis Rams punts into the sun against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

Alexander Hassenstein (2012)

“This photographer would have shot thousands of frames during the Olympics, but in this one shot he really took the time to consider the position and what technically would produce a great photo.”

Jessica Fox of Australia competes in the Women's Kayak Single (K1) Slalom on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Lee Valley White Water Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Jessica Fox of Australia competes in the Women’s Kayak Single (K1) Slalom on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Lee Valley White Water Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Dan Kitwood (2013)

“It’s very hard not to take in the gravity of the situation when you see the scale of the devastation­– a man amidst the wreckage, now homeless.”

A man fans flames on a fire Tanauan on November 19, 2013 in Leyte, Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan which ripped through Philippines over a week ago has been described as one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. Countries all over the world have pledged relief aid to help support those affected by the typhoon however damage to the airport and roads have made moving the aid into the most affected areas very difficult. With dead bodies left out in the open air and very limited food, water and shelter, health concerns are growing. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A man fans flames on a fire Tanauan on November 19, 2013 in Leyte, Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan which ripped through Philippines over a week ago has been described as one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. Countries all over the world have pledged relief aid to help support those affected by the typhoon however damage to the airport and roads have made moving the aid into the most affected areas very difficult. With dead bodies left out in the open air and very limited food, water and shelter, health concerns are growing. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

John Moore (2014)

“The personal story here conveys what’s happening on a human level and if this image moves you to donate or help or if it motivates a government of NGO all the better.”

 

Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola ward on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being sent by Liberian health workers to the center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID. The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,000 people in four West African countries. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola ward on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being sent by Liberian health workers to the center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID. The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,000 people in four West African countries. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

 

About Anthony Holland Parkin
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In his role as Creative Director, Assignments and Special Projects, Anthony art directs key commissions with the Getty Images Reportage and Assignment roster of photographers. His responsibilities range from managing all aspects of larger commercial projects  through to developing bespoke pitches for corporate and agency clients. He liaises with the Getty Images editorial and marketing teams on numerous public facing projects, and has been the editor of Getty Images’ annual Year in Focus for the last three years.

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