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Morsi supporters scream as they carry a man shot in the head outside the makeshift hospital in Rabaa Square.
Mosa’ab Elshamy, 23, freelance photographer, Cairo, Egypt."This has been the most intense year of my short career which kicked off during the 2011 uprising. I've been documenting the ups and downs of post-revolutionary Egypt — protests, clashes, elections, celebrations and mourning. The events of this year took a particularly tragic turn after the June 30th million-man protests and the military's removal of Mohamed Morsi. I spent a lot of time in Rabaa Adaweya Square where Morsi supporters camped out for over 40 days protesting his removal before the eventual military crackdown left at least 800 of them dead. The Rabaa Massacre on August 14 and its aftermath was unlike anything I've witness in the past three years when it comes to the scale of force and the casualty rate. More than five journalists were killed on that day, and I was very fortunate to get out of there in one piece. Since then, the country has descended into a state of chaos with weekly, often deadly protests and polarized streets that seem beyond repair."July 27, 2013. Morsi supporters scream as they carry a man shot in the head outside the makeshift hospital in Rabaa Square.Mosa'ab Elshamy
Morsi supporters scream as they carry a man shot in the head outside the makeshift hospital in Rabaa Square.
A brother of one of the victims is comforted by friends outside the room being used as a makeshift morgue.
An injured supporter of ousted president Mohamed Morsi pleads for help at a makeshift hospital in Rabaa. July 27, 2013.
Female supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi are sprayed with cold water to counter the August heat during a sit-in.
Smoke is seen from a tent in Rabaa Adaweya square during the violent dispersal of the camp, where Morsi supporters had camped for 40 days. August 14, 2013.
A man covering his head with a bucket observes the destruction at Rabaa Adaweya camp during the violent dispersal by security forces. August 14, 2013.
A man grieves next to a flag outside the makeshift morgue of Rabaa Adaweya where bodies killed during the violent dispersal of the camp where kept. August 14, 2013.
A volunteer medic helps injured supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi who laid on the ground at a makeshift hospital during the violent dispersal of the camp by security forces. August 14, 2013.
A doctor inspects bodies of Morsi supporters laid at a makeshift morgue in Rabaa Adaweya square during the violent dispersal of the camp by security forces. August 14, 2013.
Men grieve during funeral prayers for the victims of Rabaa Adaweya massacre. August 15, 2013.
Bloodied hands are seen at Ramses square, where violent clashes broke out on the Day of Rage, the first Friday after Rabaa massacre. August 16, 2013.
An injured Egyptian supporter of ousted President Morsi is assisted during clashes on the day the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in the Dokki area of Giza, near Cairo, Egypt, 06 October 2013.
Supporters of Mohamed Morsi brandish a face mask of the ousted president during protests at the Police Academy in Cairo where his trial took place. November 4th, 2013.
The government-built monument in Tahrir square is seen after it was vandalized by anti-military protesters. "No celebration until justice is achieved" was written over it.
Daily power outages in Jabaliya
Children in Gaza
Children playing in Beit Lahiya
A Palestinian refugee boy looks out from a window
Horse race in Gaza Strip
Pottery workshop in Gaza
A Palestinian girl play outside her family's tent in a poverty-stricken quarter of the town of Younis
Younis in Gaza
Younis in Gaza
Younis in Gaza
One Girl's Life
Ramadan in Gaza City
Ramadan in Gaza
Arab Idol winner returns home
A Palestinian refugee girl Nour Soboh 4 years , palys beside her horse in her family house in Bait Lahiya town, North Gaza StripHOLD TO MARIA MANN
Louay Soboh in Gaza
Gaza heat
03_Garment Workers in Deathtrap_ Taslima Akhter_ Nobody knows who are they, what is the relation between them but the crude reality make them closer and may be they are trying to save each other and the last moment of their life from the death trap of Savar Rana Plaza_. Embrace in Death. Near about 438 workers died as building Collapse at Savar Rana Plaza. Most of them are women. Savar Dhaka, Bangladesh, 24th April 2013
01_Garment workers in Deathtrap_ Taslima Akhter_ A eight storied building is collapsed and hundreds workers dead bodies have rescued from the building . Near about 438 workers died as building Collapse at Savar Rana Plaza. Dhaka Bangladesh 25th April 2013
Dead worker Anis phtoto . Anis is now only a name of memory. Anis relatives Kahadiza thinks that he is look like that photos (Two dead Person embracing , photo by Taslima) dead person. Anis worked at Phantom garment at Rana Plaza building. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garments factory were running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far  Jamalpur District. Bangladesh. 6th June 2013
Missing Workers Suroj’s Mother is weeping. All the time she pass in a trauma and cries for her son . Rana Plaza has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far 1st June 2013. Savar , Dhaka. Bangladesh
Missing workers Rehana’s two son Parvej (7) and  Palash (5) and her husband Jahedul at their home district Joypur hat. Rehana  is missing after the Rana plaza collapse. Rehana was a helper of New Wave Style Garment. After Rahana’s missing news her son’s become so quite. All the time they ask many questions to their father ,Jahidul, about their mother and waiting for mother. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garment factory were running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far. Panch bibi, Joypur Hat, Bangladesh. 2nd June 2013
Shahanaj a rescued worker  from rana plaza rubble , She is suffering for hand pain because she has fracture in her hand.  Rana Plaza has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers died. 1st June 2013. Savar , Dhaka. Bangladesh
Mother of Poly Akther is weeping. Her daughter is died in the rubble. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garment factory was running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far.1st June 2013. Savar , Dhaka. Bangladesh
Halima, Dead worker from Rana Plaza. Halima’s husband Anis also dead.Halima’s sister in law Khadiza think that Halima is look like Taslima’s photo of that two person. But finally Anis mother say they are not. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 7th June 2013
After identification of dead body of Al Amin (18), a  worker from Rana Plaza and brother of missing worker Shaheen Reza, his family gets this letter from Al Amins pocket that his girl friend write to him. Al Amin was a good student. He gave SSC ( School secondary Certificate) exam and after his death the result has been published and he has got grade A.  After giving exam Al amin think he can earn and support family. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garment factory were running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far. Panch bibi, Joypur Hat, Bangladesh. 2nd June 2013
01. Missing worker Morjina (19.) Morjina and her sister Rojina both were worker . Morjina is missing and her sister Rojina lost her hand. 7th June 2013
Rehana (19) lost her two leg after rescuing her life from the rubble. She is in CRP hospital now. After rescuing her doctor do a operation and cut her two leg to save her. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 7th June 2013
Mother of dead worker Anis . Anis ( Anis relatives Khadiza thinks that Anis is look like that photo of two dead Person embracing , photo by Taslima. But his mother said this is not her son) worked at Phantom garment at Rana Plaza building. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garments factory were running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far  Jamalpur District. Bangladesh. 6th June 2013
Rojina (25) lost her hand under the rubble. To save her own self Rojina first started cutting her hand. Rojina and her sister Morjina both were worker . Morjina is missing and. Rojina is alive. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garments factory was running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so far Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.14th June 20139. Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.14th June 2013
1. Shanta (18) is a missing worker from Rana Plaza. Her mother does not know which factory she worked. Shanta her mother (Shahida 30) and her youngest brother Shawpon are the member of their family. Shanta’s father died 5 years ago. Shanta was the only earning member of her family. After Shanta’s missing her mother sold some furniture to pay the rent of house. And Shanta's mother hangs this photo in their small room (House). Though the photo is damaged but for her mother it is precious. Rana Plaza, the 8- stored building where 5 garments factory was running, has collapsed on 24th April 2013 and 1131 workers dead so farSavar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.14th June 2013
After 42 days, cleaned up Rana Plaza. Rana Plaza collapsed on 24th April 2013. 1st June 2013. Savar , Dhaka. Bangladesh
Both of them name is Khadiza. Both of them lost their husband under the rubble of Rana Plaza. After publishing the DNA report they go to Graveyard to see their beloved persons grave. Jurain Grave yard. Dhaka. Bangladesh.7th November 2013
Mosa’ab Elshamy, 23, freelance photographer, Cairo, Egypt."This has been the most intense year of my short career which
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Mosa'ab Elshamy
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From the Front Lines, Regional Photographers Make All The Difference

Jan 06, 2014

Photographs by non-Western photographers are featured prominently among the best documentary images of 2013. Taslima Akhter’s haunting “Final Embrace,” taken in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as well as a powerful Mosa’ab Elshamy photo from the violent Rabaa Square protests in Cairo both made TIME's Top 10 Photos of the Year. Meanwhile, EPA photojournalist Ali Ali’s consistently strong images of daily life from the Gaza Strip earned him the distinction of being the most represented photographer in TIME's 365 gallery.

Although it has become more prevalent in recent years, the practice of regional photographers working for Western news organizations dates back decades. Here, TIME showcases work made over the past year by the aforementioned three, examining the wider context, evolution and issues that relate to regional photography.

"Once upon a time, there was a tendency to send Western photographers to cover breaking stories around the world,” Santiago Lyon, AP’s Director of Photography, tells TIME. "There was a view that foreign photographers spoke the language of photography in a way that was understood by the viewers and readers in the countries where the images were being published."

For many magazines, there was a certain cachet in having a French or American photographer tell a story.

“That said, there's a long tradition of working with local photographers,” Lyon says. “When you look at what the AP did in Vietnam, it had a network of local stringers, some of whom, including Nick Ut, went on to make photographs that have remained in the collective memory.”

Nick Ut—APNick Ut—AP 

Over the past four decades, shifts in technology have made working with regional photographers more viable. Before the advent of the Internet, getting a picture for a story was a complicated exercise involving film development, print-making and machinery designed to transmit images over the wires. Today, cameras are more advanced, with more automatic functions and digital-file transfer processes that make it easier to capture properly exposed, in-focus images and distribute them from the far corners of the world.

The digital revolution has also “leveled the playing field," Lyon says, "in that the spread of visual information meant that photographers all over could more easily see the work of great historical or contemporary photographers.”

Regional threats to journalists’ security, meanwhile, have also intensified. Photography is more readily viewed by interested parties who in turn attempt to control the flow of information through harassment and intimidation. While issues of safety affect all journalists, the local journalist has to remain in place, and many attacks in recent years have been on regional contributors.

With local photographers better equipped to provide quality imagery — and, in a sense, better able to blend in with their surroundings — increasingly budget-conscious news organizations employ them more and more often.

Working with local photographers not only saves money in the short-term, but can also provide significant long-term payoffs. News agencies and photography organizations like World Press Photo, for example, often train and mentor regional photographers, providing a bridge between established news outlets and fledgling practitioners of the craft.

“What larger organizations offer to local photographers is more than a financial transaction, but a dialog that improves their ability to communicate and tell stories effectively," Lyon says. “In Iraq [where five AP-trained regional photographers were part of the agency’s 2005 Pulitzer-winning team] and more recently in Egypt, what attracted these photographers was that they were telling the story of their country in a powerful way.”

Having a deeper connection to what one covers can also, however, be problematic.

“If a member of the Muslim Brotherhood is giving us photographs,” Lyon says, “that would be problematic. If there is any doubt as to the provenance of an image or the circumstances under which it was taken, it can undermine our journalistic cause.”

Susan Meiselas, Director of the Magnum Foundation, finds the work produced by photographers at or near their own home indispensable. Each year, a third of the foundation’s Emergency Fund goes to regional photographers.

“I want to know from within what the world looks like and feels like,” Meiselas says.

For a 1990 book she edited, Chile from within, for instance, Meisalas chose to compile the work of local Chilean photographers who bore witness to the turbulence and the military coup that convulsed their own country in the 1980s, instead of including her own photography.

“There are times when insiders have a privileged view and there are times when outsiders can see what insiders cannot perceive” says Meiselas. "It’s not always a simple matrix.”

Meiselas cites Taslima Akhter, a Magnum Foundation Fellow whose photograph from Rana Plaza affected us so deeply in 2013, as a case in point.

“Taslima was special,” she says, “because of that very specific moment that she recognized [and photographed] and her deep connection to the conditions that led to that moment [the Tazreen factory fire in November 2012 and the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013]. She was already documenting there before the catastrophe, [before they were on international radar,] and she continues, as an activist and photographer, to document them in the aftermath and maintain that awareness."

Phil Bicker is a senior photo editor at TIME.

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