To mark the end of 2011, I thought I’d just blog a quick post on my ‘pictures of the year’ -inspired The Guardian’s selection of ‘development photos of the year‘, as well as by the fact that one of my pictures was selected by them as one of their Photographs of the Year earlier this week. (I’m as amazed and bemused by this as I have been about all the other media attention that this picture has attracted this year, and humbled to be included in such a selection, especially given what an incredible year it’s been in terms of major global news events).
So, for what it’s worth, here are my ‘photos of the year’ – selected mainly from ‘creative commons’ images that have crossed my desk at work during the course of 2011, plus a few more famous ones. Hope you enjoy, and here’s to more momentous photographs in 2012!
Haiti, one year on
Ruins of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, one year after the quake, by Hoyasmeg
Receiving oral rehydration salts at cholera observation centre by Amanda George/British Red Cross
The 12th of January 2011 marked ‘year-on’ point from the Haiti earthquake. Cholera and other diseases remain huge problems in Haiti, as do shelter and land-rights issues.
Members of a British search and rescue team climb over debris from the tsunami, whilst searching for trapped people as snow falls in Kamaishi, Japan, Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP Photo
A family’s photo album lies among the debris left when the tsunami bore through the city of Otsuchi in north-eastern Japan. Photo: Kathy Mueller/IFRC
Hundreds of refugees from Libya line up for food at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border, 05/03/2011. UN Photo/OCHA/David Ohana.
In a tragic accident in Ajdabiya, Libya, on 4 June 2011, three-year-old Shada Yonis brought a hand grenade into the living room as the family and some children from next door were watching TV. She pulled out the arming pin. Her father Yonis Sala grabbed it and tried to save his children by covering himself over the grenade. He was killed along with Shada, and five-year-old Shema. Three other children and Shada’s mother were seriously injured. Visible in this photo is the shape of Yonis Sala where he took the shrapnel. Sean Sutton/Mines Advisory Group
Tim Hetherington’s last photograph, taken shortly before he was killed in an explosion in Misrata, Libya, along with fellow photojournalist Chris Hondros, on 20th April 2011. Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos
The death of Osama Bin Laden
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Picture: Pete Souza/White House
South Sudan independence
South Sudanese men wrestle as they celebrate independence in Juba on July 9, 2011. Photo by Tim Freccia / Enough Project
Pakistan, one year on from the floods
Daddla Junego, 11 years old, lives in Garhi Haleem village in Sindh, Pakistan, with her mother and 12 other family members in a one room house. She goes to the local school, one of many to have been recently repaired thanks to UK aid following last year’s devasting floods. Vicki Francis/DFID
Horn of Africa drought and famine
A woman holds a prescription for oral rehydration salts that she has been given for her sick child, who has diarrhoea, at a temporary health clinic in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Picture © UNICEF/Kate Holt
Children climbing a tree in the Dadaab refugee camp, north-east Kenya. Picture: Alistair Fernie/DFID
Margaret, a resident of Kataboi Village in Turkana, northern Kenya, is one of 60,000 vulnerable people benefitting from an innovative ‘hunger safety net programme’, supported by British aid. Picture: Marisol Grandon/DFID
Tiru with her baby daughter, receiving nutrition support in southern Ethiopia, thanks to CARE International. Picture: Tanya Axissa/DFID
Looking to the future
Dominic Ekomeva, 43 – Looking to the future. Picture: Rankin for Oxfam
“This drought has taken my manhood. I don’t feel manly anymore because I don’t own anything that I am proud of. All I have left is a few goats and I think they will die soon. I left three lying down this morning – they are so weak that they can no longer stand. There is one baby but its mother has no milk for it. It’s really tough. I have been forced to seek degrading jobs like selling firewood. A man should never have to do such jobs, but I had no choice. I have to feed my family.
My family used to live by the lakeside. I came here to find a job with the Catholic mission. With the money I made I bought five goats. They were healthy and quickly multiplied. Things were good then, we were all eating well and the boys were in school. Everyone had cows, donkeys, goats and sheep. At that time I had more than 200 goats. I felt brave to have all those animals. I felt like a man. I could sell one whenever I wanted, I could buy whatever I wanted. I could have tea and sugar whenever I wanted. I could buy wheat flour.
I felt like I could do anything. There was grass everywhere and there was water. It was green as far as you could see. Everyone was busy taking care of something because there was a lot of work to do. I knew one for thing for sure – in those days my children would never go hungry.
In our culture we believe that a beautiful lady needs ornaments. I used to buy my wife and daughters necklaces. I would exchange two female goats for one large necklace. Who will buy my daughter her necklaces now? She doesn’t have enough. My daughters are beautiful and their father should be able to buy them ornaments.
I know that I will feel like a man again. One day, when my boys finish their education and my daughters get married. Then I will be a man again.”