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James Foley in Aleppo, November 5, 2012. (AFP Photo/Nicole Tung)

James Foley: focus on humanity amid suffering


Colleagues remember the American reporter James Foley, a beloved companion who was executed by jihadist militants. (AFP Photo/Nicole Tung)

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A relative reacts after seeing the bodies of three Palestinian children, killed in an explosion in a public playground on the beachfront of Shati refugee camp. July 28, 2014. (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

Heartbreak: Reporting on Gaza’s child victims


AFP Middle East correspondent Sara Hussein recently completed an assignment in Gaza, where more than 1,280 Palestinians have been killed -- including more than 240 children.

WARNING: This blog includes distressing images from inside a morgue.

(AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

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Rwandan inmates crowding the main yard at the local prison in Gisovu. (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

AFP Johannesburg photographer Marco Longari visited Rwanda prisons in 2001, where he photographed some of the nation’s suspected “genocidaires”, accused of taking part in the 1994 massacres. It is only now that he is able to publish his images.

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Paris-based photojournalist Joël Saget wanted to do something different to mark the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy.

He came up with the idea of juxtaposing contemporary photos of them with pictures taken in wartime. The result is a moving tribute to these heroic men.

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Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini (left) shows the mark after he was bitten by Uruguyan striker Luis Suarez, on June 24, 2014 during a Group D match at the World Cup in Brazil. (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba/Daniel Garcia)


Bitten: Trying to capture the Suarez chomp


Leila Macor, an AFP journalist based in AFP's Latin America headquarters in Montevideo, on how the agency's photographers covered the Luis Suarez's infamous bite.

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The Argentine national football team trains in Cidade do Galo, near Belo Horizonte, as seen from the hillside where journalists swarm in hopes of garnering some information. (AFP Photo/Juan Mabromata)

Espionage in Brazil: Spying on Messi


"I’m not sure who first discovered this vantage point, but for the Argentine press it's been a veritable gold mine," writes AFP correspondent Mariano Andrade. "Because in Argentina, it seems like everyone wants to know even the smallest detail about the 'Albicelestes', as the national team is known there, and much of the training takes place in private. To feed the insatiable thirst for information back home, Argentine reporters and photographers swarm this hill from the crack of dawn and try to spy on their national team.

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London-based AFP photographer Leon Neal this month covered the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. This is a version of his blog that first appeared on his personal site.

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Seminarians of the International Seminary of Saint Pius X vie wearing their cassocks for the ball during a football game on May 25, 2014 in Riddes, Western Switzerland (AFP / Fabrice Coffrini)

AFP Geneva photographer Fabrice Coffrini knew about the ultra-conservative take on Catholic faith that put the Society of Saint Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, at loggerheads with the Vatican. But when he went to see the brotherhoods he discovered that they also play a devilishly good game of football.


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(AFP/Kauan Oliveira de Lima)

Photographing football in the City of God


"In the favelas of Brazil, kids play football. All the time. Everywhere. With battered footballs, on dusty wastelands, kicking them against walls. In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup, I was looking for a way to illustrate this Brazilian passion for soccer," writes AFP's Brazil photographer Christope Simon. "And what could be better than to ask a bunch of these kids to let me see their passion through their own eyes?"

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Women carring placards in support of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram attend a street demonstration in Lagos on May 14, 2014 to mark the one-month anniversary of the girls' abduction. (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Expei)

Horror and hashtags: Covering Boko Haram


"AFP in Nigeria has been attracting a lot of interest in recent weeks after we received videos from the Boko Haram militants who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from their school last month," writes Lagos bureau chief Phil Hazlewood.

"They first claimed responsibility for the mass abduction in Chibok, Borno state, on April 14, while a week later they showed about 130 of the 223 girls still missing, and indicated that they had all converted to Islam."

(AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Expei)

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The original image from December 10, 2013. The girl, whose name was not known at the time, waits for private water vendors to unlock a tap. (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

When AFP Photographer Marco Longari took this picture in 2003, to illustrate how hard it is for millions to get clean water, his life intersected with the young girl crouching by the wall for the briefest of moments. He had no way of knowing, but that one shot would inspire a man in the UK to start a clean-water foundation that would raise millions. A decade later, Longari travelled back to Kenya to meet the girl in the picture.

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(AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

"US Secretary of State John Kerry and his staff practically live on their airplane. Or they might as well," writes AFP photographer Saul Loeb, who captured this shot of Kerry having an impromptu kick-about on the tarmac at the airport in Cape Verde. "The specially modified Boeing 757, or C-32A in US Air Force parlance, ferries the Secretary, his staff, security and members of the press all over the world. So, when spending this much time on the road, any chance you get to stretch your legs and get some fresh air, you have to take advantage of that."

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A woman holds a gold-plated Desert Eagle handgun. (AFP Photo/Karen Bleier)

"AFP received an accreditation to cover the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the biggest pro-gun lobby, in Indianapolis," writes correspondent Ivan Couronne. "But 'accredited' is not the same as 'welcome', at least as far as the leaders of the association are concerned."

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Ayrton Senna adjusts a rear-view mirror on his Williams-Renault before the San Marino Grand Prix, on May 1, 1994 on the Imola circuit in Italy. (AFP Photo/Jean-Loup Gautreau)

Twenty years ago today, Brazil's Ayrton Senna was killed in an infamous race at the Imola Formula One Grand Prix in Italy.

Christophe Simon, currently AFP's photo editor in Brazil, remembers the event as the nightmare culmination of "a cursed, sinister weekend". (AFP Photo/Jean-Loup Gautreau)

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A relative of a condemned man displays his portrait. (AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki)

This week, an Egyptian court sentenced 683 alleged Islamists -- including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie -- to death. AFP Egypt correspondent Sarah Benhaida was at the courthouse and met the relatives of some of the condemned men.

"A group of women yell themselves hoarse in front of a swarm of photographers and cameramen. They are the wails you might hear from mourners at a funeral. Arms in the air, they question God. They question the justice system. They accuse the media," Benhaida writes. (AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki)

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(AFP Photo/Ye Aung Thu)

Ye Aung Thu is an AFP photographer in Yangon. He recently visited a remote village where women are famed for wearing bronze coils tightly around their necks, a traditional sign of beauty now largely kept alive as an attraction for curious tourists.

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The earthquake tore this road in two. April 2, 2014. (AFP Photo/Aldo Solimano)

Aldo Solimano, a photographer who works for AFP in Iquique, northern Chile, found himself amid a massive earthquake and a huge story -- but without his camera.

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A staff member at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme examines a 14-year-old male orangutan found with air gun pellets embedded in his body, in Sibolangit district, northern Sumatra island, April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo/Sutanta Aditya)

Sutanta Aditya, a photographer who works with AFP, took these astonishing photos of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan being treated at conservation centre in western Indonesia after the primate was found with air gun pellets embedded in his body. Here Aditya describes how he saw the creature being treated.  

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Garcia Marquez on his 87th birthday, March 6, 2014, in Mexico. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

A giant of international literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died April 17, was also a journalist. In the 1970s, he founded the Alternativa magazine, which would go on to inform a generation of Colombian activists before it closed under a mountain of debt.

It was there that Kelly Velasquez, who is currently an AFP correspondent in Rome, met Garcia Marquez. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

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A woman shows ID belonging her daughter who was killed in Beichuan, Sichuan, in May 2008. (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)

The nature of news means journalists frequently are in contact with people experiencing the depths of sorrow or despair. For photographers and video reporters, trying to capture such painful emotions can prove a particular challenge.

Should they remain impassive while a father rages as he holds the lifeless body of his daughter? Should they hesitate before taking a photo? How do you respectfully document people’s grief?

In this blog, some of AFP’s photographers explain the issues and their techniques for documenting tragedy.

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