The photographers' story: Part one

The photographers' story: Part one


In a six-part series, Reuters photographers tell the story behind some of the most iconic, unusual and breathtaking pictures of 2014 in news, entertainment and sports.

Above, armed pro-Russian separatists escort a column of Ukrainian prisoners of war as they walk across central Donetsk.

Reuters photographer Maxim Shemetov: “It was an awful sight. A column of jaded and haphazardly dressed people walking along the street surrounded by armed rebels.

Citizens were shouting curses and throwing eggs at them and the column was followed by street sweepers washing the road.

I think this image perfectly shows the negative emotions of conflict: weakness, devastation, shame, fear on one side and spite, aggression.”

. Kamloops, Canada. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Two women wearing nun outfits drink beer while watching the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier curling championships in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Reuters photographer Ben Nelms: “Although some people might conclude that a curling event could produce a dull atmosphere, it is actually far from it.

There was a lull in the games and I remember spotting these nuns sitting in their seats earlier. Although the women just sitting there didn't produce a picture, I kept my eye on them the entire match. As soon as I spotted them with beer in their hands, I slowly turned my camera towards them and waited for them to take a sip.

One of the challenges of shooting this image was going unnoticed. I had a longer lens on and was right in the middle of the rink. I slowly turned my lens, trying not to make my intentions too obvious, and waited until they drank from their beers together.”

. GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Palestinian children hold guns as they celebrate with others what they said was a victory over Israel, following a ceasefire in Gaza City.

Reuters photographer Suhaib Salem: “I was covering the celebrations by Palestinians moments after the declaration of a ceasefire that ended 51 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Throwing sweets and chanting slogans, people took to the streets, riding vehicles and motorcycles, to celebrate what they said was victory over Israel.

Moments before taking this picture, the battles between Israel and Gaza's militants were taking place and explosions could be heard till the truce was announced. The scene was special as children were smiling, holding a pistol and a weapon, and showing no sign of fear.

It was quite difficult to take the picture since there was not enough light and the car was moving fast. My movement was also restricted by the traffic jams and flows of people into the streets.”

. GLASGOW, United Kingdom. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Ifeoma Nwoye of Nigeria is carried away by her coach after she lost her women's freestyle 55kg wrestling semi-final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Reuters photographer Andrew Winning: “In this image the wrestler’s coach is carrying her away after she lost her bout. It was not immediately clear to me whether she had been injured in the contest or whether she was simply upset at having lost.

In fact, the Nigerian woman lost and was knocked out of the competition by the eventual gold medalist. There was a moment of serendipity as I followed the pair out and the games’ logo formed a halo around her head, which helps the viewer focus on the expression on her face.

The whole moment was over in a second, and the tournament carried on. If anything, I suppose the picture shows that sometimes in sports a moment of crushing disappointment can be just as engaging as a moment of victory.”

. POTOCARI, Bosnia and Herzegovina. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Actress Angelina Jolie cries at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari.

Reuters photographer Dado Ruvic: “I was covering Angelina Jolie’s visit to Bosnia and she was visiting the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial and Cemetery, commemorating the murder of 8,000 people in 1995, when she started to cry.

Afterwards, she was due to visit rape victims’ homes in the Bosnian town of Zenica, so many photographers fled to the entrance to capture her departure. But I stayed on the floor, shooting, and was one of the lucky few to see her tears.


Capturing this image was a challenge as there was a lot of travelling involved for very few photographs. But this image had a great impact because when the whole world wrote about her visit to Bosnia, her tears made this photograph especially powerful.

The photos I took meant a lot to me. I was happy because the whole world will hear about what happened in Srebrenica. But I was also sad, because of the reason for her visit and because Srebrenica was mentioned solely in the context of war.”

. SOCHI, Russia. REUTERS/David Gray

Four out of five Olympic rings are seen lit up during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Reuters photographer David Gray: “This image is a great example of the cliche ‘always expect the unexpected.’

Two days earlier, at the Olympic opening ceremony rehearsal, I had seen that the Olympic rings were supposed to open from a small, flower-shaped ball and then explode in a flash of extreme brightness. The massive changes in light required a quick estimation as to how to adjust the exposure, so every photographer was anxious, knowing what was supposed to come next.

I had just reduced my ISO and increased my shutter speed when I noticed the top-right ring was not forming like the others. So I took a few photographs, still anticipating the next stage. But no. Nothing. The incomplete Olympic symbol just hung there before disappearing completely.

Did I manage to correctly adjust the camera settings for the unpredicted dull Olympic ring? Thankfully, you see the answer before you. Needless to say, it was the talking point of the opening ceremony, and became one of the most memorable images of the Sochi Olympic Games.”


Photographer Carlo Allegri talks about shooting the tornado aftermath picture in Arkansas.