In part two of a six-part series, Reuters photographers tell the story behind some of the most iconic, unusual and breathtaking pictures of 2014 in news and entertainment.
Above, a motorbike drives along a road between destroyed houses, which witnesses said were damaged during an Israeli offensive.
Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem: “I was shooting houses that were destroyed during the 51-day conflict in Gaza and was moving from the ruins of one house to another, where people were staying in makeshift shelters.
Then the man riding a motorcycle past the destroyed houses captured my attention. It was not easy to get the picture as the light was very dim. I was very lucky that a light from a car illuminated him.”
25 Apr 2014. BAGHDAD, Iraq. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
An explosion is seen during a car bomb attack at a rally by militant group, Asaib Ahl Haq (League of the Righteous), to introduce its candidates for elections at a soccer stadium.
Reuters photographer Thaier al-Sudani: “After I was done taking pictures inside the stadium where the ceremonies were taking place I decided to go out to cover the deployment of security forces and Asaib militia. While I was trying to reach our driver’s vehicle to return back to the office, a powerful blast hit an exit gate of the stadium as people were leaving. Police said later it was carried out by a suicide attacker wearing an explosives vest.
Immediately after the blast, we tried to find a place to hide because we were expecting a secondary explosion and at the same time we were keen to keep documenting the incident.
Screams of the wounded, black smoke and bodies surrounded us, while security forces and militia members were shooting in the air to disperse the crowd.
While this was happening and people were fleeing the scene, a minibus that was advancing towards the site caught our attention. The car was only a few meters away from our position and heading towards a gate when it blew up less than 100 meters away from us.
The blazing fire, smoke and the blast’s shockwave along with shrapnel raining down on us and the wailing of the wounded made us believe that we were witnessing judgment day.
This incident has had a great impact on me. The Images are still fresh in my mind and they keep replaying in my head every time I see a large gathering of people. It even haunts me in my sleep at times.”
1 Oct 2014. Donetsk, Ukraine. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
Bodies of victims killed by shelling lie at a bus stop near a burnt-out bus on a street in Donetsk.
Reuters photographer Shamil Zhumatov: “It was my second day of a month-long assignment in eastern Ukraine. I was still trying to become familiar with the situation and switch my mind to covering a hostile environment.
Our multimedia team was covering the beginning of the new school year in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. We got information by different ways: phone calls from colleagues and through social networks. But everything was unconfirmed rumours as usual. Suddenly, we heard about a school hit by shelling and decided to check it out. On arrival staff of the damaged school and rebel fighters advised that a bus stop nearby also came under fire.
When we arrived at the a crossroad of Kievsky avenue and Polihrafichna street the first thing I spotted was a burnt bus and the covered bodies of victims.
While taking pictures of the first victims, I saw the remains of a rocket from a self-propelled multiple launcher system sticking out from the asphalt in front of a bus. I decided to approach it and take a shot of it with the burnt bus. It was not the easiest move for me - I had to leave a backstreet and walk across a wide open avenue. It was a bit scary for me, just arriving in a combat zone.
As I walked to the bus, I saw more bodies lying behind it among leaves at the bus stop. People were killed by shrapnel while waiting for a bus. A overturned baby stroller was laying near by. I took few shots, trying to keep them wide and less graphic. I left the site after this shot.
In coverage like this, the photographer has to balance respecting the dead with the right of other people to get information.”
13 Jun 2014. LAKE WHITNEY, United States. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Smoke rises from a house days after part of the ground it was resting on collapsed into Lake Whitney.
Reuters photographer Brandon Wade: “I was covering the controlled burn of a house slowly falling into Lake Whitney due to the decaying cliff underneath. Asked to take photos from an aerial perspective, an instructor and I took off from Grand Prairie Municipal Airport around 9am.
The burn, scheduled to start an hour later, was delayed. I love flying, but patience proved challenging as circling for nearly three hours gets boring fast. Once the fire started we only had 15 minutes to take photos because the plane was booked at 1 p.m.
The owners invested their retirement savings in the house and were even advised by geologists that the ground was stable. To watch your investment literally go up in flames must take its toll emotionally. The owners said they don’t expect their insurance to cover the loss.”
16 May 2014. CANNES, France. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
A man is arrested by security as he tries to slip under the dress of actress America Ferrera.
Reuters photographer Benoit Tessier: “I was covering the stars’ red-carpet arrival for the film screening of How to Train Your Dragon 2 at the 67th Cannes Film Festival.
Suddenly Vitalii Sediuk, a Ukrainian journalist also known as a red-carpet prankster, tried to stick his head under actress America Ferrera's netted skirt. No doubt feeling fabulous in her beautiful Couture gown, the moment was clearly ruined for Ferrera.
I had only 10 seconds to realise what was happening and take the shot.
Security rapidly dealt with the culprit amid shocked looks from Ferrera and co-star Cate Blanchett. After a flash of appearing red-faced and confused, the actress continued the red carpet walk as if nothing had happened.”
14 May 2014. LIMA, Peru. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil
A young member of the choir of "Sinfonia por el Peru" vomits before performing with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez at Lima's National Theatre.
Reuters photographer Enrique Castro-Mendivil: “I was covering a concert at Lima’s National Theatre, awaiting the appearance of Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez, who was singing with the young members of the orchestra he was sponsoring, “Sinfonia por el Peru”.
Moments before he showed up, a choir girl in the middle started vomiting. The children were performing for a very refined audience that came to see Florez, and perhaps she couldn't handle it.
When she threw up for a second time, her vomit splashed onto the kids around her. They were all very professional and continued performing until eventually she was told to step off the stage.”