The photographers' story: Part four

The photographers' story: Part four


In part four of a six-part series, Reuters photographers tell the story behind some of the most iconic, unusual and breathtaking pictures of 2014 from Venezuela to Israel and the United States.

Above, anti-government protesters kiss during a protest in Caracas.

Reuters photographer Christian Veron: “I was covering the rally and the students were organising their counter-attack against the police, which had arrested several.

This girl suddenly appeared with a stone in her hand so I pointed my camera towards her as she walked up to her boyfriend and kissed him intensely amid the disaster.

The biggest challenge and reward was capturing something different to tear gas — an intimate moment in the middle of chaos. Something with soul and heart.”

. JERUSALEM, Israel. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

An Israeli woman (centre) and a Palestinian woman gesture at one another during a protest by Palestinian women against Jewish visitors to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mounto.

Reuters photographer Finbarr O’Reilly: “The Palestinian women were singing and chanting in Arabic while heavily armed Israeli border police looked on and occasionally pushed them back to make way for Jewish worshipers going to the Western Wall. The Palestinian women shouted and harassed Jewish passersby while Orthodox Jews living in apartments above the street threw bottles and water down at the Palestinian women.

About half a dozen Orthodox Jewish worshippers wanted to pass along the narrow street toward the Western Wall and the Israeli border police created a passageway through the crowd of Palestinian women.

As the Israelis walked between the shouting protesters I focused on the woman in the centre of the scene. When she was right in front of me, she turned and gestured to the Palestinian woman. It wasn't something done for the camera — I don't think she even realised I was there.

It was only when I looked at the picture afterwards that I realised that the Palestinian woman had returned the gesture, which in this part of the world is the equivalent to giving someone the middle finger.”

. Perevalnoe. Reuters/Thomas Peter

Local women watch armed men, believed to be Russian soldiers, assemble near a Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoe.

Reuters photographer Thomas Peter: “Masked men without insignia had appeared at Ukrainian army bases and important transport hubs all over Crimea. Although they declined to say who they were, their Russian accents suggested Moscow may have sent them.

The locals believed they would protect them and consequently welcomed the soldiers like liberators, bringing them flowers and food and flocking to wherever they set up base.

These two women seemed to have dressed up for the occasion and flirted with the young men in uniform. Eventually, the soldiers became less anxious to be seen by foreign media chatting with their Ukrainian counterparts across the compound walls. However, when a full-fledged conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, such a thing would be incredibly dangerous. “

. RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil. REUTERS/Ana Carolina Fernandes

Riot police use pepper gas against residents of the Telerj slum as they attempt to repossess the land.

Reuters photographer Ana Carolina Fernandes: “I was shooting the clear-out by the police of a building which belonged to a giant telecommunications company and had been taken over by homeless people a week earlier.

It was my third day there as I was doing a photo essay on the occupation and I was more interested in the aesthetics of the shacks and how people managed to build a ‘home’.

Still, there was tension in the air that the police could invade the place at any moment. When I arrived that morning, it was still dark and I saw more than 1,000 police officers surrounding the area.

Some of the homeless were leaving on their own but there was a lot of confusion and small riots outside. I took this picture about 15 minutes after I managed to enter the area, which was very challenging.

The image is both strong and sad because the man is poor, black, unarmed and helpless against a whole squad of a heavily-armed police spraying tear gas right into his eyes.”

. BUNKERVILLE, United States. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge as protesters gather by the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) base camp, where cattle that were seized from rancher Cliven Bundy are being held.

Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart: “This showdown had come after the BLM started rounding up cattle belonging to rancher Cliven Bundy, who had been letting his animals graze illegally on federal land for over 20 years.

A woman yelled out that there was an incident taking place below the bridge a couple hundred meters to the east, and I began sprinting that way with other members of the media.

The weight of my camera gear slowed me down but I told myself I needed to keep running. I had to be at the scene as fast as possible.

It was already a surreal moment, here on a random stretch of highway in the Nevada desert, where men with weapons had taken up tactical positions on government officers – something not seen in this country in decades – as traffic whizzed by unaware.

After a while it became apparent that the BLM was going to release the cattle to the protesters. The animals were freed, and no shots were fired. But the reality of how close to gunfire the situation had come sent a chill through me which I will never forget.”

. ATLANTA, United States. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

People hang out in a Publix grocery store after being stranded due to a snow storm.

Reuters photographer Tami Chappell: “Atlanta is known for its mild winters. When an ice storm began hitting the Metro area directly, traffic reached nightmarish proportions and vehicles became stranded for long hours.

I began my day on another assignment 100 miles north of Atlanta but immediately headed back when I saw the snowfall. Having grown up there, I know the back roads well, which helped as I hit traffic in the northern suburbs. I began taking pictures and transmitting what I could on the drive, arriving into the city at sunrise.

My sister said a friend of hers was stuck at a Publix grocery store that stayed opened all night to shelter and feed people. Ironically, I had slid into a bush nearby so after extracting my car, I went to the store to take pictures. The scene was surreal; scattered people slept soundly on the floor or tried to stay awake.

Several of the pictures were widely published and friends called me from all over to ask about them. In total I spent over 30 hours in my car before I made it home.”


Photographer Tyrone Siu talks about the picture of a protester in Hong Kong when police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.