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Tuesday 30 December 2014

Blank Space


amazeballs aerial shot of #SF #GoldenGate up in #KarlTheFog via @independentcbh: image via Lil Mike SF @lilmikesf, 29 December 2014

A blank space at the deep heart's core
makes the far seem near or is it the near
collapse of the wind in the sails of another
loose aggregation of calendar pages
fluttering into the same bin as some disposable flimsies
at the treatment station

Site of the 9/11 attacks in New York: photo by Lucas Jackson/AFP via the Guardian, 29 December 2014

Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola ward in Monrovia, Liberia, on 15 August 2014. ‘Ibrahim died in the blue room where he fell. He had struggled to his feet to move away from the corpses, to a different classroom in the Ebola holding centre. As he staggered toward the door, he lost his balance, fell backwards, and his head hit the concrete floor with a loud popping sound. I’m still haunted by the memory of his wife Omu rushing in, standing over him, unable to caress or comfort him, unsure what to do.’: photo by John Moore 15 August 2014 via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

A South Sudanese man from the Dinka ethnic group stands among cattle in Yirol on 12 February 2014
. ‘After some weeks in South Sudan spent documenting the conflict destroying the world’s youngest country, I started looking for the other side of Africa, the one where man and nature live side by side. I took this image in a cattle camp during the blue hour. Man, animals, smoke and light living together, recalling the ancestral nature of the human being.’: photo by Fabio Bucciarelli/AFP. 12 February 2014 via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

Police block a road in Kiev, Ukraine, on 24 January 2014. ‘After two months of relatively peaceful but persistent protests, the situation in late January turned markedly confrontational. I arrived back in Kiev only the night before, and the icy scene that greeted me that morning was otherworldly. Walls of burning tyres periodically doused by police water hoses created an ether of steam and smoke that filtered the winter light. I climbed atop a barricade to peek over and through the haze saw this line of police officers looking back at me.’: photo by Brendan Hoffman, 24 January 2014 via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February. Protesters stand behind burning barricades during a face-off against police in Independence Square. Hundreds of armed protesters charged police barricades, despite a truce called just hours earlier by the country’s embattled president: photo by Bulent Kilic, 20 February 2014 via The Guardian, 30 December 2014

 Donetsk, Ukraine, 26 July. Members of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service search for bodies in a field near the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the rebel-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine. The airliner was believed shot down by a missile, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 passengers and crew: photo by Bulent Kilic, 26 July 2014 via The Guardian, 30 December 2014

A woman cries as she stands on the road with her luggage after she left her home near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, on 2 August 2014. ‘It took hours to arrive at the village of Grabovo, the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. We were waiting for officials from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to photograph them at the scene. Then I saw this young girl crying. She was leaving her home. I took just one picture as she didn’t want me to take more. I understood from friends that she had just lost somebody in the village she was leaving.’: photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

Ukrainian protesters launch a fire attack on police in Grushevsky Street, Kiev, on 22 January: photo by Vladislav Sodel/Kommersant, 22 January 2014 via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

Residents emerge to receive food aid distributed by the UN Relief and Works Agency at the besieged al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria: photo by UNRWA/Reuters, 31 January 2014 via The Guardian, 28 December 2014

Sanliurfa, Turkey, 23 October. Islamic State militants stand during the explosion of an air strike on Tilsehir hill near the Turkish border at Yumurtalik village in October: photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP via the Guardian, 28 December 2014

Islamic State militants were being photographed the moment an air strike explosion goes off on 23 October 2014. ‘I was in the village of Yumurtalik on the Turkish side of the border. Isis were on a hill about 1km away from me on the Syrian side. It was about 6.15pm and there was about 10 minutes left until sunset. A friend who was with me said: “Can you imagine an air strike now?” Five minutes later, this is what happened. I was already photographing members of Isis when an aircraft bombed the hill. Within 30 minutes it was dark and we had to leave the village, it wasn’t safe at night.’
: photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP via the Guardian, 28 December 2014

Did they just Micro Nuke #Syria? #kobani FYI Thermobarics are red. Neutron bombs use aluminum casings & are white: image via Malice Magic @malicemagic, 27 October 2014

Suruc, Turkey. Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following airstrikes by the US led coalition, seen from a hilltop outside Syria: photo by Vadim Ghirda/AP via The Guardian, 17 November 2014

People run for shelter from a hailstorm on the beach at the river Ob in Siberia, Russia, on 12 July 2014. ‘It was a very hot day which is unusual for a summer in Siberia. My girlfriend and I decided to go to a city beach. When we got there the weather started rapidly changing for the worse and when we reached the water there was a very strong wind. I turned on the camera on my mobile phone just to shoot the trees, which were swaying wildly. Suddenly it started hailing. I continued taking photographs until we were literally being bombarded and then we rushed back to the car.’: photo by Nikita Dudnik/AP, 12 July 2014 via the Guardian, 28 December 2014

Unidentified next-of-kin entering the holding area at Changi T2 for relatives of the missing @AirAsia #QZ8501: image via The Straits Times @STcom, 27 December 2014

Screen at Changi T1 showing the details of the
@AirAsia #QZ8501 bound for Singapore from Surabaya that lost contact. @AirAsia #QZ8501: image via The Straits Times @STcom, 27 December 2014

Airport staff holds up a sign at Changi's T2 to direct family members & friends seeking info on @AirAsia #QZ8501: image via The Straits Times @STcom, 27 December 2014

A member of the Indonesian military looks out of the window during a search and rescue (SAR) operation for missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501, over the waters of the Java Sea on December 29, 2014
: photo by Juni Kriswanto/AFP via the Guardian, 30 December 2014

A view from an Indonesian search and rescue aircraft over the Java Sea of debris that may come from the missing AirAsia flight
: photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP via The Guardian, 30 December 2014

Lovely day in the Bay area. #goldengate #sanfrancisco: image via Backpack Films @BackpackFilms, 26 December 2014


TC said...

Taylor Swift: Blank Space (MattyBRaps & Ivey Meeks Cover)

Taylor Swift performs Blank Space at 1.25 speed in the Timewarp Yen Devaluation Library

Michael Peverett said...

Of course it's a "great photo", but if someone doesn't want you take more photos, then isn't it obvious that you should throw away the one you did take?

manik sharma said...


I came across Kilic's photography via the Guardian as well. Striking imagery. While in 2014 the old got lonelier, in 2015 the young may find themselves completely lost. Before long we shall all be at the treatment table - each page of the calendar being our only expected turn of fortune .

Hazen said...

Extraordinary volley of photos for closing out the year, Tom. Like riffling through the pages of The Book of Life on Earth, año 2014, the final, freaky chapters. May we all survive the next one, and not become disposable flimsies.

billoo said...

Er..this is probably not a good time, but I'm going to say it anyway: have a Happy New Year, Tom!


TC said...

Many thanks and a very happy new year to all.

An extremely quiet eve here as it happens, 51 degrees F indoors at dusk, all the old animals huddled for warmth on or upon the even older person of the matron of the house, under her many blankets, said the benumbed oldest person in the house, by way of many hunt and pecking errors.

Michael, I hear you about that picture. A matter of discretion, simple human respect and affording the dignity a private anguish deserves at such a moment. But the photojournalism of Bulent Kilic is distinguished by great compassion along with a respect for the agony of history; you don't see him covering the Brangelina or Clooney nuptials, or the Victoria's Secret fashion show. He goes where the suffering is, and where, if one is fully human, one must suffer to go. So I can't imagine him taking your comment lightly, or ignoring it. But when Bulent Kilic says:

"I took just one picture as she didn’t want me to take more."

-- I suppose I took him to be saying, I took this one picture, she knew I was taking it, she did not object, but after that one, she said, Enough.

To a war photographer, every picture might be the only one, or the last one, so you'd want to make every shot be the one you'd hold up to eternity.

For me the most haunting shot of this year or maybe many a year is the shot posted by Chris Gunness of UNRWA of the crush of the 18,000 besieged Palestinian refugees in the shattered al-Yarmouk camp outside Damascus:

Viz: "Residents emerge to receive food aid distributed by the UN Relief and Works Agency at the besieged al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria: photo by UNRWA/Reuters, 31 January 2014"

Chris posted it as his home page image through the worst days of the Israeli horror campaign in Gaza. The scene at al-Yarmouk eerily resembles the grey graveyard of Shujaya after the worst raids.

In my remote sense of the shape of the writhing, pained body which is current human history, the images of al-Yarmouk and Shujaya seem almost interchangeable.

Because they depict the heart of the matter -- the matter of whether or not there is any heart left, in this "sphere"...
that is, the sphere which is ostensibly "ours".