Bloomberg photographers know they’re shooting for a global media company that cares about the hard news, vital numbers and key players that affect our world. They also aim for the richest possible image to grace all the screens delivering Bloomberg content, from smartphone to PC to terminal to TV.
Time after time in 2012, these shooters came through with striking, pointed, poignant and just plain beautiful images, from the dire impact of Hurricane Sandy to the people voting on Greece’s role in the European Union, from Facebook’s IPO fiasco to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdown.
The stories behind the photos often are as striking as the pictures themselves. In a series of pictures for the one-year anniversary of Japan’s March 11, 2011, tsunami and earthquake, we see a man who appears to be wading aimlessly through puddles.
Photographer Tomohiro Ohsumi says: “When I shot this photo, he was explaining to me where the entrance, bedroom or livingroom of his home were before the disaster. He was walking around as if his home were still there.”
Ohsumi also captured the moment when employees of Nippon Paper Industries Co. restarted their machines at the Ishinomaki Mill, which had had been closed for almost a year.
“For me it was the first time to cover a recovered facility since the disaster,” Ohsumi says. “And I think it might be the first real smile I photographed in the series on the one-year anniversary.”
To capture a laborer looking up from the bottom of a coal mine in India’s Jaintia Hills, Brent Lewin had to negotiate “long scary descents down precarious and slippery makeshift bamboo ladders. At the bottom of these pits, laborers crawl into small tunnels coined ‘rat holes’ to chip away at coal with axes. Following the laborers into these holes was a dark, stuffy and claustrophobic experience.”
Jason Alden, who was named UK Business Photographer of the Year, shot Rebekah Brooks looking straight down the barrel of his lens. Alden describes finding a vantage point amid a media scrum with jostling photographers, a stepladder tumbling over and one crucial moment: “She looked up as I called to her.”
For a package of stories on Greece and its euro crisis, Simon Dawson found an iconic image on the day of an election that was key to the country’s future.
“I had already covered people voting and was looking for something to sum the day up in one picture, something different, symbolic,” Dawson says. “I chanced upon this giant poster of the Greek national flag painted on a face, really striking, and I instantly saw a photo opportunity. I took a frame or two, but I felt something was missing, I needed another element, so I waited for around 30 minutes, when some pedestrians walked past which added to the picture.”
Andrew Harrer describes the challenge of capturing Jamie Dimon in the “very controlled and restricted environment” of a Capitol Hill hearing room. “You have to make the most of it and really try for unique perspectives. After getting several shots from the front and side of the witness table, I put on my shallow depth-of-field 85mm lens and went around to the back, behind Dimon’s chair. I was composing my frame with the camera firmly on the ground and using the live-view function. As I was focusing on the back of Dimon’s head, he turned to his assistant and in an instant I was able to capture the two-second moment, perfectly composed, in the hearing room.”
Hurricane Sandy produced countless stark pictures, but here is one by Scott Eells that conveys the devastation at Breezy Point.
“I entered the area on foot but had to turn around a couple of times, because of standing water or debris, before I reached the area that had suffered the most damage,” Eells says. “Just a handful of residents were there looking over the area of 100-plus homes that were burned down to the foundation. People were standing on the broken brick walls, searching for anything left of value. But as I watched, it was clear that there was little left that was salvageable.
Let’s close with Victor Blue’s description of shooting a tractor in a dry corn field during the U.S. drought, which is as eloquent as the image itself:
“You could see the dust rising up over the fields from miles away. The 2012 drought had burned up thousands of acres of corn and we were in Indiana to see how it would affect the individual farmers who were losing their crop. We followed the plume along the winding country lanes with our subject, Terry Hayhurst, in his truck, past field after field of pale, scorched corn stalks. We made it to a bend in the road and jumped out in the fields of one of Terry’s neighbors. Their crop had absolutely no yield, and they were cutting it down -- months early, in mid-July.”
“I took off across the dry dirt that rose in dust devils around us, and made for the line of parched, still standing plants. I was just ahead of the massive tractor and the disc cutter it pulled, got off a few pictures, and just got my hand over my eyes, before a curtain of earth-colored dust from the cutting enveloped me, and everything went brown. All I could see were the leveled stalks at my feet. After a minute or so it passed, and I took off running to make another picture, and get covered again.”
of 2012, click the links listed below.
Bloomberg's Best Photos 2012: The Newsmakers
Bloomberg’s Best Photos 2012: The Global Landscape
Bloomberg’s Best Photos 2012: The Year in Politics
Bloomberg’s Best Photos 2012: The World at Work
Bloomberg’s Best Photos 2012: Global Technology
Bloomberg’s Best Photos 2012: A Changing World