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Sewer technician Tim Henderson shovels the fat as he works in the intersection of the Regent Street and Victoria sewer in London on December 11, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS)

(AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)


Welcome to Hell, Victorian-style


"I squeezed through the hole in the middle of the road," writes AFP photographer Adrian Dennis after taking a grisly trip into the belly of London's sewers. "Near the bottom of the ladder, I struggled to get my boot through the 'goo' and onto the last rung before stepping off backward into waist-deep 'porridge'. My harness unhooked, the sewer technician whispered, 'Welcome to hell!'"

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The Savur Mogyla monument to Red Army soldiers fallen in World War II near the eastern Ukrainian city of Snizhnee on December 7, 2014 (AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG)

(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)


Dead soldiers in the snow


"It was bitterly cold on the hilltop, with an icy wind whipping up gusts of snow. We had come to attend a ceremony in memory of fallen pro-Russian rebels -- held at the vast Savur-Mogyla World War II memorial," writes AFP photographer Eric Feferberg. "It is a truly Dantean complex that was partly destroyed in fighting between Ukrainian government troops and separatists in July and August. Being there, you had both a sense of real beauty and nostalgia, and of utter desolation."

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A Syrian woman in the government-held side of Aleppo in a street protected by huge canvas which residents have stretched across it to make it hard for rebels to see them. November 18, 2014 (AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)

(AFP Photo / Joseph Eid)


Cafes and snipers, from Beirut to Aleppo


"I had imagined Aleppo to be like Berlin at the end of World War II – smoking ruins, with haggard people stumbling through a ghostly silence," writes AFP's Sammy Ketz, who travelled to the divided Syrian city at the end of November. "Instead I found myself back in Beirut during the civil war – where life and death, buzzing cafes and snipers, exist side by side."

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Brazilian model Adriana Lima during the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London on December 2, 2014 (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

"As the time of Christmas stockings draws near, my gift came early with the Victoria's Secret 2014 show," writes AFP's Leon Neal, sent to cover the celebrity-packed lingerie show in London. "But I knew this was a serious event on the photographer’s calendar, not to be taken lightly however frilly the subject." For it is a fact of the news business: smiling, scantily-clad supermodels often drive more sales than headline politics, sports or entertainment.

(AFP Photo /Leon Neal)


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Bhopal gas disaster survivor Akbar Khan, 70, sits inside a steam box as part of rehabilitation using traditional Ayurvedic treatment at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic on December 1, 2014  (AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Akbar Khan survived the Bhopal gas disaster 30 years ago -- but it left him with acute breathing, heart and joint problems. Steam baths are one of the Ayurvedic methods used to treat thousands like him, at a clinic in the Indian city. "It's difficult to photograph a tragedy after so many years," writes AFP's Indranil Mukherjee. "You’re trying to find an original angle and the best lighting to bring out the survivors’ emotions. But at the same time, you have to be extremely sensitive. After all, they’re having to relive the trauma of an event in which they lost a part of their life."


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Health workers dance to try to cheer up an Ebola patient at Kenama treatment center run by the Red cross Society on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo / Francisco Leong)

Health workers dance in front of a severely ill Ebola patient at a treatment center run by the Red Cross Society in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on November 15, 2014. "The scene lasted two minutes", said AFP reporters Ann Chaon and Céline Cléry, who witnessed it. "A way to distract the patients — and try to bring some relief to their sorrow and fear. A moment of grace in a world hungry for it, in these dark days of Ebola. And we, too, were grateful for it."


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Shuruq (R), a nine-year old Syrian girl without legs,  plays on a swing with another child in a park in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on November 3, 2014 (AFP Photo / Baraa Al-Halabi)

"I came across Shuruq by chance one day, while walking in a playground in Aleppo", writes photographer Baraa Al-Halabi. "The nine-year-old little girl was playing with her brother, two sisters and mother. Since she has no legs, her big brother was pushing her on the swing".

"Aleppo was once Syria's economic capital. The town has been ravaged by more than two years of merciless fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces. Daily bombings by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have left thousands of people dead and caused mass destruction. Shuruq's mother says she lost her legs when a bomb destroyed her home".

(AFP Photo / Baraa Al-Halabi)


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Militants of Islamic State group are seen just before and after an explosion from an air strike on Tilsehir hill near the Turkish-Syrian border on October 23, 2014 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)


A black flag torn down


Bombs launched by Western aircraft strike an Islamic State group position on the Tilsehir hill, west of the Syrian town of Kobane, on October 23, 2014. AFP video reporter Mostafa Abulezz tells the story behind these impressive images.


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A local Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 17, 2014 (AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)

A Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police while he was covering a protest in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 17, 2014. AFP photographer Alex Ogle tells how he shot this striking image.

(AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)


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Alleged Islamic State group militants stand next to an IS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Kobane, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis

Black flag over Kobane


Fighters keep watch under the black flag of the Islamic State group on a hill to the east of the Syrian town of Kobane. AFP photographer Aris Messinis shot the picture early in the afternoon on Monday, October 6 from the Turkish village of Mursitpinar, just across the border. Its unusual composition and the fact that the militants' silhouettes seem out of proportion to other elements led some AFP clients to call the agency to check it was real.

It was. Here is the explanation.


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A guest is pictured in the street before a show during the 2015 Spring / Summer Milan Fashion Week on September 21, 2014 in Milan (AFP Photo / Gabriel Bouys)
AFP Photo / Gabriel Bouys

The street stars of Milan fashion week


"A big fashion show is like a Hollywood film premiere: the A-list stars take their time getting there. But outside, the crowds arrive well in advance to get noticed, and snapped posing at a top world fashion event", writes the AFP chief photographer for Italy Gabriel Bouys. "This year, just for once, I slipped away from the catwalks and took my camera backstage, and outside, where I discovered a buzzing parallel world I had no idea was there."


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Israeli civilians stand near Mount Bental, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, as they watch through binoculars the fighting between Syrian government troops and Islamist rebel fighters on September 2, 2014 (AFP / Menahem Kahana)
AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

War as spectator sport in the Golan Heights


"It is before dawn on the Golan Heights and a squad of Syrian government troops are engaged in fierce combat with rebels of the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front", writes AFP Jerusalem-based photographer Menahem Kahana. "The clashes are taking place just metres from the barbed wire fence that separates the Syrian side of the strategic plateau from the Israeli-held sector. I am watching from an abandoned Israeli army bunker, around 100 metres from the demarcation line. This is war, taking place right before my eyes, and yet it could almost be another world. I am not a target, and none of the fighters cares remotely what is happening on the Israeli side."

"I have the strangest sense of being in a movie theatre."


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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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