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Friday 26 June 2015

European hostages: mining the data

Members of French army special force take part in a mock hostage release exercise, on April 15, 2015 on a beach in Arcachon, southwestern France, as part of the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS). (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI FEDOUACH) Members of French army special force take part in a mock hostage release exercise, on April 15, 2015 on a beach in Arcachon, southwestern France, as part of the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS). (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI FEDOUACH)

(AFP Photo / Mehdi Fedouach)


"How many times have I heard this refrain since joining AFP nearly 20 years ago: ‘With millions of stories in our archives, we’re sitting on top of an information gold mine’," writes the journalist Marlowe Hood. "The European Hostage Project is a serious attempt to extract some of that buried treasure. A case study in data journalism, it uncovered patterns in the terrible traffic in hostages from Europe that up to now remained elusive if not invisible."

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Tuesday 9 June 2015

Slow travel to Saint Helena

A statue of Napoleon is seen at the Consulate hotel in Jamestown on the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean on March 10, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / JEAN LIOU) A statue of Napoleon is seen at the Consulate hotel in Jamestown on the British island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean on March 10, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / JEAN LIOU)

(AFP Photo / Jean Liou)


"When Saint Helena appears on the horizon at dawn, after five days at sea, I can’t help but feel privileged. For years I have dreamed of travelling to this remotest of islands, all but cut off from the world out in the South Atlantic," writes AFP's Jean Liou. "A few months from now, an airport will be opening on the British islet. But until then it remains one of the last places on Earth accessible only by boat. And the crossing from Cape Town, a case study in slow travel for our hyper-connected world, only adds to the sense of anticipation."

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Wednesday 6 May 2015

Rallying a ‘Tartan army’ in Scotland

A demonstrator waves Scotland's national Saltire flags at a rally in Glasgow, Scotland on April 25, 2015, urging Scots to put their UK general election vote towards a party that supports independence (AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN) A demonstrator waves Scotland's national Saltire flags at a rally in Glasgow, Scotland on April 25, 2015, urging Scots to put their UK general election vote towards a party that supports independence (AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN)

(AFP / Andy Buchanan)


"'Who is that Scottish woman who appeared in the TV debates?,' a young Englishman, distrustful of politics and reluctant to vote, asked AFP's Alice Ritchie as the general election campaign wound up. "Did he mean Nicola Sturgeon? 'Yes, I might vote for her.' I told him the Scottish National Party wasn't fielding candidates in England. He looked disappointed."

"The energy of the election campaign in Scotland - with candidates of all camps fielding questions from real people on the street - has been a sharp contrast to the stage-managed affair south of the border. It has left many English people a little envious, even if the SNP's nationalist rhetoric and continued commitment to breaking up the United Kingdom has generated hostility."

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Thursday 2 April 2015

Waiting game on a Swiss lake

US Secretary of State John Kerry looks out of the window of his room at the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel during a break in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 1, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI) US Secretary of State John Kerry looks out of the window of his room at the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel during a break in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 1, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)


"For the past week I have been with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Switzerland in the marathon search for a nuclear deal with Iran," writes AFP photographer Brendan Smialowski. "Covering negotiations like these is as much about official photo ops as behind-the-scenes moments and features. As the negotiations dragged on, the ops got fewer and fewer, then dried up completely. But a photojournalist can go hunting for other moments to illustrate the story."

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Tuesday 24 March 2015

Surfing on the Severn

A surfer takes the wave of the tidal bore called Severn bore on the River Severn at Minsterworth in Gloucestershire, South West England on March 21, 2015. The Severn bore is an annual 'supertide' phenomenon on the River Severn. (AFP PHOTO / GEOFF CADDICK) A surfer takes the wave of the tidal bore called Severn bore on the River Severn at Minsterworth in Gloucestershire, South West England on March 21, 2015. The Severn bore is an annual 'supertide' phenomenon on the River Severn. (AFP PHOTO / GEOFF CADDICK)

(AFP Photo / Geoff Caddick)


"The surfers were there, limbering up on the shingle bank, well before the wave came in," writes photographer Geoff Caddick. "The River Severn on the border between England and Wales is world-famous for its bore – a rare phenomenon where the incoming tide forms a wave that rides against the current up a river or bay. I was sent to cover what was billed as a 'five-star' bore, with the Moon exerting an extra gravitational pull due to its alignment with the Sun and Earth after Friday’s eclipse."

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Tuesday 16 December 2014

Welcome to Hell, Victorian-style

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) 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)


"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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Monday 8 December 2014

Brawl at the Hall

Participants land punches during the "Brawl at the Hall
Participants land punches during the "Brawl at the Hall

Backstage ahead of the "Brawl at the Hall" white-collar boxing event (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)


"I picked up the “Brawl at the Hall” assignment in Bethnal Green, East London, late on a Thursday night. An interesting feature about white-collar boxers – City workers who trade their suit and tie for a pair of boxing gloves in the evening," writes AFP photographer Adrian Dennis. "Nine matches on the card. The fighters, a solicitor, a banker and an IT consultant, every one of them brave and committed. Quite unlike a normal sporting venue, with strict rules on where you can sit or venture, it became evident I had complete freedom to work."

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Wednesday 3 December 2014

No frills at Victoria's Secret

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

(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.

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Tuesday 8 July 2014

Back to Normandy: Photographing WWII heroes

bernard-dargols-combo_m.jpg bernard-dargols-combo_m.jpg

(AFP Photo/Joël Saget/Dargols family)


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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