Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

Entries feed - Comments feed

A traumatised girl stands amid the bodies of more than 100 of her compatriots who were trampled to death. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

Witness to genocide: Rwanda's horror

KIGALI, April 11, 1994 --- I watch soldiers kill off the wounded in the hospital. With bayonets. Two young men are added to the bodies already piling up all over the courtyard. The morgue is flowing over.

I am witnessing a scene of indescribable violence and horror. I am authorized to be here, to observe, describe and tell the story, but without a notebook and without asking any questions. Later, I write. Badly, because the words won’t come.

Annie Thomas, who at the time of the genocide in Rwanda working as an East Africa correspondent, was one of the few journalists to witness the horror of what was happening. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

Continue reading...

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.

Continue reading...

A homemade gas mask. (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

The protests against President Nicolas Maduro and those in power started more than a month ago. Initially, there were stark contrasts between protesters and those trying to control them -- on the one hand, you had the tactical and trained efficiency of the police and National Guard. On the other, you had the protesters -- unruly, unorganized and emotional. Fast forward a few weeks and things have changed. Such distinctions have blurred. (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

Continue reading...

John Kerry waves while he boards his plane in Amman on March 27, 2014. (AFP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool)

"Life on the road with Kerry is a whirlwind of fast-changing schedules, nail-biting last minute decisions and complex logistics, requiring quick-thinking, immense wells of patience and above all flexibility from his loyal and dedicated staff," writes AFP's US State Department correspondent Jo Biddle. "But it's also a rare fly-on-the-wall privilege to witness diplomacy in the making, with an almost front-row seat as Kerry helms his own path into the foreign policy annals."

Continue reading...

US President Barack Obama speaks in front of Rembrandt's masterpiece "The Night Watch

News conferences with the US president don't normally get attention because of the backdrop, but when Obama met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte this week in front of one of the world's most famous paintings, photographers had a little fun.

Continue reading...

Super Typhoon Haiyan survivors (L-R) Virginia Piedad, Elsie Indic, Ma. Catalina Consuelo, and Maricel Martinez, pose February 16, 2014 for a photo along the road they marched down on November 18, 2013 (above). (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez/Ted Aljibe)

AFP’s bureau chief in Manila, Karl Malakunas, recently returned to the central islands of the Philippines that were devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan to find out what had become of some of the survivors, including the women in this award-winning photo.

Continue reading...

At an anti-Maduro protest in Caracas, February 22, 2014. (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

Juan Barreto is an AFP photojournalist based in Caracas. For the last several weeks, he has been documenting the ongoing violent protests against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Continue reading...

A demonstrator is detained in Caracas, March 13, 2014. (AFP Photo/Leo Ramirez)

Leo Ramirez, a photographer working for AFP in Caracas, was covering a protest last week when he saw dozens of people get chased down and arrested by police on motorcycles. Venezuelan authorities are still trying to contain violent protests that have been going on for more than a month against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Continue reading...

Paramilitary police in Rio de Janeiro show off their body armour. (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

“I was shooting photos of a special battalion that’s being trained to deal with demonstrators during the World Cup in Brazil,” writes AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, based in Rio de Janeiro. “I looked around and saw this guy standing there, sweating profusely, wearing full riot gear.”

Continue reading...

A protester holds a placard displaying a portrait of Berkin Elvan. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

"It feels like things could explode at any time -- with one crisis following another, it's very tense," writes AFP’s Istanbul bureau chief Philippe Alfroy.

Renewed unrest on the streets of Turkey following this week’s death of a teenage demonstrator is likely to add to pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by an escalating corruption.

Continue reading...


A year since his death, Hugo Chavez still maintains a powerful presence in Venezuela. Graffiti of his eyes has sprung up everywhere -- a reminder that Chavez is part of Venezuelans' daily lives, whether they like it or not. It doesn't matter if you are pro- or anti-government, it can feel like Chavez still controls what happens in the country.

Continue reading...


Marco Longari is an AFP photographer based in the Johannesburg bureau. He recently went on assignment to Chad to photograph the nation’s efforts to fight elephant poaching.

Continue reading...


Bangkok-based AFP photojournalist Nicolas Asfouri recently visited a refugee camp for Afghans living in Pakistan, where he made this series of images of children. Most of the camp's residents, exiled by the chronic instability of their own country, have no intention of going back to Afghanistan.

Continue reading...

(AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

AFP photographer Bulent Kilic, usually based in Istanbul, is in Kiev covering the dramatically worsening events in Independence Square. He says it feels as much like a war as it does a protest. 

Continue reading...


The Great Odyssey is one of the biggest dog-sledding races in Europe. AFP photographer Jeff Pachoud talks about how he got this image, which won first prize in the "Sport Feature Single" category of this year's World Press Photo Awards.

Continue reading...

A rebel (left) walks past members of the pro-regime Syrian National Defence Forces in Babbila on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo/Louai Beshara)

It’s an incredible scene: Syrian pro-regime forces mingling amicably with rebel fighters in a southern Damascus suburb.

The powerful images of one of the ceasefires around the nation’s capital were captured by AFP photographer Louai Beshara and reported on by journalist Rim Haddad from the agency’s Damascus bureau. Here, Haddad tells the story behind the truce, a rare bright spot in a devastating conflict that has lasted almost three years and claimed more than 140,000 lives.

Continue reading...

Anna Wintour, actresses Lupita Nyong'o and Naomi Watts attend the Calvin Klein Collection show during Fashion Week. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week/AFP

AFP's Jennie Matthew recently moved to New York after 10 years reporting and editing news in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here she reports from this year's Fashion Week in the Big Apple. (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week/AFP)

Continue reading...

Villagers flee an eruption from the Mount Sinabung volcano, on the island of Sumatra, February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo / Chaideer Mahyuddin)

Mount Sinabung, a volcano on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, exploded spectacularly at the start of February, spewing out huge clouds of red-hot ash and rocks and leaving at least 16 people dead.

Jakarta photojournalist Adek Berry headed up to the volcano the day after the eruption...

Continue reading...

A Central African soldier puts away his knife after using it during the lynching. (AFP Photo / Issouf Sanogo)

In the Central African Republic, a country torn by religious violence and tit-for-tat killings, lynchings are a near-everyday occurrence. But no one was expecting Wednesday’s attack, carried out by uniformed soldiers after a ceremony in the capital Bangui, where the President of the Republic had just celebrated the rebirth of a national army.

AFP journalist Anne Le Coz reports from the horrific event. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

Continue reading...

Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) government soldiers walk past dead bodies in Mathiang on January 31, 2014. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

"Driving into Bor, the road is empty of all traces of normal life. Ragged bits of clothing and the skeletons of burnt trucks lie abandoned by anti-government forces that occupied the town for weeks. The smell of death is everywhere," writes Nairobi-based AFPTV journalist Nichole Sobecki after visiting South Sudan. (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

Continue reading...

- page 1 of 8