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10 posts tagged Tahrir Square

Photograph by Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

"I saw a man crossing the road. Then — bang — he was shot. I didn’t yet know if he was alive or dead, but it felt so natural to run towards him. He was surrounded by people trying to help. And then I saw this hand," TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev says. He had arrived in Tahrir Square on July 3 — just as the military announced that Islamist President Mohamed Morsi had been deposed — and spent the week photographing violent clashes in the streets of Cairo.

The man, who is not pictured, but whose blood is seen in the image above, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and had been shot as he was on his way to put a poster of Morsi on the barbed wire outside the barracks of the Republican Guard, the last known location of the deposed president. The photograph is featured in this week’s issue of TIME and in the LightBox Pictures of the Week gallery.

Kozyrev had been documenting the turmoil in Egypt since the early days of the Arab Spring in January 2011. (Much of the work has also been featured on LightBox.) The events of the last week, however, were entirely unexpected to him and reflected a different environment than what he had witnessed before. Much of the idealism and inspiration of the initial uprising has been tainted by escalating levels of violence from all sides.

"It’s not just revolutionaries throwing stones. They’re using everything. They have guns on both sides and they can be very aggressive with foreigners," Kozyrev says of the conflicts. Many photographers now come prepared with gas masks and helmets; some even bring body armor. "It’s a rough environment, it’s more challenging for us caught in the middle. But every time I am back I feel like I’m witnessing something important."

Such a violent, complicated situation can be difficult to document visually. Sometimes it calls not for the most graphic or gruesome image, but the most suggestive one.

"I believe the picture of the bloody hand tells more about how fragile and how dangerous this situation is in Cairo right now."

—Eugene Reznik

See more of this week’s best photos on LightBox.

Photography by Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

Having covered the Arab Spring since 2011, Yuri Kozyrev returned to Egypt in the first days of July — on assignment for TIME — to capture the abrupt, almost neck-snapping changes that exploded in Cairo after the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

See more photos here on LightBox.

Nov. 28, 2012. Cairo, Egypt. A protester finds cover behind a destroyed vehicle at the scene of clashes with Egyptian police near Tahrir Square. (Photo: Moises Saman—Magnum for TIME)

Throughout 2012, TIME’s unparalleled photojournalists were there. At a time when so much hangs in the balance, bearing witness can be the most essential act — and that’s what we do. Here’s the best of our commissioned photojournalism from 2012. See more on LightBox.

As a photographer, I have exquisitely bad timing: In nearly 23 years of marriage, my wife points out, I have only taken about 10 pictures of her with her eyes open. Instagram helps make my images look better, but it can’t fix bad timing.

In my job, I get to hang out with some of the best photographers in the world, and over the years, shooters like Yuri Kozyrev and Franco Pagetti have patiently explained to be what makes a good picture — composition, lighting, the whole nine yards. I’ve also looked over the shoulders of TIME’s photo editors, the best in the business, and learned a few things.

But photography is a mystical art, and for all my knowledge, I could never take a great picture.

Until now.

The image you see here, taken in Cairo last week, is the best picture I have taken. It may be the best picture I will ever take. If you will indulge a little arrogance, it is perfectly composed, perfectly lit, and perfectly captures a moment of high drama.

It was a fluke.

It happened as TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel, photo editor Patrick Witty, Cairo correspondent Ashraf Khalil and I were making our way to Tahrir Square. We’d heard that the protests against President Mohamed Morsi’s recent emergency decree were growing, and there was a sense of something big about to happen. As we turned into one of the entrances to the square, we stopped to watch a street battle between young men (some mere boys) and the Egyptian riot police. This was taking place some 200 yards from us, so we felt relatively safe. I pulled out my iPhone, and started taking some shots.

Suddenly, things changed. The young men turned away from the police and started running up the street, directly toward us. It took me a moment to realize why: the police had started to fire tear-gas canisters into the crowd.  Ashraf and I have been gassed enough times over the years to know what to do next: get the heck out of there. Patrick was a few yards away, out of the firing line.

I grabbed Rick and pushed. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the smoke trail of a canister coming in our direction. I told Rick to close his eyes, and kept shoving him through a panicking crowd. There was no strategic thinking going on, we just needed to get out.

We did, but not before we’d taken a blast of the gas in our faces. All things considered, it wasn’t the most noxious gas I’d encountered: Ashraf agreed it was a mild dose. (The really nasty stuff can burn skin.) By the time we got to the square, the effects of the gas were already clearing.

It wasn’t until much later that I looked at the pictures I’d taken, and realized that I had somehow captured the moment the gas canister landed at our feet. I have no recollection of taking that picture, but there it was, perfectly framed and lit. Instagram helped sharpen it up. Rick and Patrick liked it, and the photo editors back in NYC decided to run it in the magazine.

So there it is: the best picture I’ve ever taken, published in TIME Magazine, no less. And it’s a total, utter fluke.

Bobby Ghosh, Editor-at-Large

(Follow Bobby on Instagram @ghoshworld)

A mural near Tahrir Square serves as a backdrop to the continuing revolution. Painted over and re-painted, it endures as a reminder of history and hope for the future.

See more photos here.

Egyptians celebrate the election of their new president in Tahrir Square.

On Sunday, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy was announced as the winner of Egypt’s first democratic presidential election. Daniel Berehulak captured the tension and euphoria surrounding the announcement in Cairo.

See more photos here.

Supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy celebrate in Tahrir square after the Brotherhood claimed victory in the presidential vote. 

Days after the country’s first democratic presidential vote, the question of who won remains a matter of contention.

See more of Yuri Kozyrev’s photos from Egypt here.

From suicide bombings in Afghanistan and the U.S. pullout from Iraq to the Ashura rituals in India and Russia’s elections, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week. See more here

Daniel Berehulak—Getty Images

From renewed riots in Egypt and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s capture to the pepper spray outrage at University of California-Davis and the Kabaddi World Cup, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week. See more here

Newsha Tavakolian

Six women photographers from across the Middle East have pooled their resources, contacts and talents to not only strengthen their work, but also to expand their reach. See more here

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