2019 The Year in Photos

Time look back on the best photography produced by the finest visual journalists in the industry.

So much of the year’s news played out in the streets. Week after week, protesters poured onto the wide boulevards of Hong Kong, where the photographer Lam Yik Fei seemed to be everywhere. Brexit drew tens of thousands into the streets of London. A subway fare increase was the final spark that led to protests in Santiago, Chile, and people heaved makeshift bombs along a bridge linking Venezuela and Colombia.

The tumult of mass gatherings produced some of the year’s most powerful pictures. But a quiet image of two people stood out as perhaps the saddest: Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez lay with his arm limply draped over his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, their lifeless bodies locked together on the banks of the Rio Grande, where they drowned trying to cross from Mexico into the United States

Time look back on the best photography produced by the finest visual journalists in the industry.

© Tyler Hicks / The New York Times

Marib, Yemen, Jan. 23 Saleh Raken, who is about 10 years old, was playing near his home in Baida when a land mine blew off his lower leg. He was accompanied by his older brother Ali Raken.

Full List: The Year in Pictures 2019, New York Times

Rioters kiss in Santiago, Chile © Cherry Guzman

28 October I took this shot on the 10th day of the greatest social unrest Chile has seen, with people demanding dignity and equality when it comes to health, education, pay and free, safe and legal abortion, as well as many other issues. I had got into the habit of going down to the Plaza de la Dignidad in Santiago between 3pm and 4pm to see what was going on with the protesting. That day President Sebastián Piñera had called for calm, saying everything would go back to normal.

That just made people even more furious. There were fires all around the plaza, including one just behind the masked couple standing outside the entrance to the metro station. I decided to take a picture. I think chaos is the best word to describe the atmosphere: there was smoke everywhere and the wind was whipping pieces of burnt paper into mini-tornadoes. There were sirens, flares, and all the noise from the fire engines and ambulances passing by.

People were euphoric, and were chanting against the president and against repression. They were toppling lampposts and traffic lights to stop water cannon getting through and sheltering from rubber bullets behind bus stops. There was real rage in the air. People had lost their fear of protesting and felt it was time to say what they were thinking.

Interview by Sam Jones

Full List: The best photographs of 2019, The Guardian

© Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune

AUG. 20: Fourteen-year-old Tim Bannon, who was born without arms, participates in swimming practice at Ohio Street Beach in Chicago. Bannon competed in the 2019 Life Time Kids Tri Chicago triathlon.

Full List: 2019 Chicago Tribune photos of the year, Chicago Tribune

© Emin Özmen | Magnum Photos

Farmers wave while Turkish military vehicles carrying tanks pass on the way to Northern Syria to join ongoing military operations against Kurdish fighters. Akcakale, Turkey, 2019.

Full List: Magnum’s 2019 Pictures of the Year, Magnum Photos

Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images.

A sequence of two major earthquakes hit Ridgecrest, California, in July, triggering more than 100,000 aftershocks around Southern California. Photographer Mario Tama visited the neighbouring Trona, about 170 miles north of Los Angeles, which had been rocked by the 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude tremors. There, he met Chimene and Johnnie Jackson, who were sleeping outside of her parents’ home on mattresses due to dangerous structural damage inside. Their tenderness on a shared mattress was a moment of respite during a hard week for residents. The town had struggled economically before the tremors hit, causing widespread blackouts, broken sidewalks, rockslides, and loss of drinking water.

The earthquakes surprised geophysicists monitoring fault lines in the state. The Garlock fault had remained relatively quiet for half a century, but researchers found in October that it had shifted .8 inches, sending a warning signal that another large quake could be on the way.

The Most Powerful Moments in Photojournalism in 2019, Artsy

© Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty

Mohammed Mohiedin Anis, also known as Abu Omar, 70, smokes his pipe as he sits in his destroyed bedroom, listening to music on his hand-cranked gramophone in Aleppo’s formerly rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood in Syria, on March 9, 2017.

Anis had recently returned to Aleppo, with plans to rebuild not only his home, but also his large collection of vintage American cars, despite everything being reduced to rubble. When reporters asked him about the gramophone, he responded, “I will play it for you but first I have to light my pipe. Because I never listen to music without it.”

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP / Getty

A demonstrator catches fire during clashes with riot police amid a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on May 3, 2017. The photographer later said that bystanders were able to douse the flames and the man was taken to a hospital where he was treated for his burns.

Full List: Photos of the Decade: 2010–19, The Atlantic

A polar bear near Kaktovik. Image by Nick Mott. United States, 2019.

Claire Seaton, Multimedia Coordinator: “The closer you get to this issue, the more complicated it becomes,” says Amy Martin in the Threshold podcast’s “Sibling Rivalry.” Who can truly lay claim to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Indigenous rights, wildlife conservation and resource sovereignty all come to a head here, and the Threshold team with Amy Martin and Nick Mott dives right in. I’m deeply impressed by the way Threshold weaves the threads of this story together, bringing us closer to the people and the land at the heart of this issue.

Full List: 2019: A Year in Stories, Pulitzer Center

Brave One. Credit: Brent Stirton/Getty

Petronella Chigumbura is a member of the Akashinga, or ‘brave ones’, an all-female anti-poaching unit. They patrol Zimbabwe’s Phundundu Wildlife Area in the Zambezi Valley, where elephant poaching is common.

Full List: The best science images of the year: 2019 in pictures, Nature.com

Photograph by Adam Ferguson for The New Yorker

Workers shovelling talc in Afghanistan’s eastern border, for a report on the country by Luke Mogelson.

This portfolio was one of many striking photo commissions published in the magazine this year. In July, the photojournalist Adam Ferguson spent more than two weeks in Afghanistan with the contributing writer Luke Mogelson, meeting former isis commanders and reporting on life in the country after eighteen years of war. In March, the photographer Vasantha Yogananthan travelled to the remote mountainous territory of Ladakh, in northern India, to investigate an idiosyncratic solution to the erratic supply of water in the high-desert region: the ice stupa. Built at nearly twelve thousand feet, these massive ice sculptures melt in the spring, providing water to farmers in the area.

Full List: The Best New Yorker Photography of 2019, The New Yorker

© Dannah Gottlieb

Children chant during a climate protest in New York City on Sept. 20. They were among 4 million people who joined the global climate strike that day, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history.

© Natalie Keyssar for TIME

A group of demonstrators take cover during a clash with Venezuelan national police officers on a bridge near Cúcuta, Colombia, on Feb. 23. Clashes along the border stranded aid caravans.

Full List: TOP 100 PHOTOS From the Editors of TIME, Time

Kindred Guardians © Justin Mott

In my early days of living in Vietnam, I photographed a slaughterhouse for pigs, and the sounds and the site are still emblazoned in my mind. I can remember feeling so helpless, and just so many emotions were stirring inside me, like hatred for mankind. After that experience, I cowardly hid from any forms of animal cruelty. I wouldn’t click on articles or any content that showed animal cruelty; I tried to block it out of my life.

When I turned 40 last year I knew something was missing in my life. I knew I had to get back to doing stories that mattered to me, and I was slowly starting to open myself up emotionally to learning about animal cruelty and to doing my part. I had an idea for a larger book project about the bond between humans and animals in need that they help. I had heard about the last two remaining northern white rhinos, so I did a little bit of research, secured access, and booked my tickets to Kenya to start this project: thus Kindred Guardians was born. continue to article

Full List: Best of 2019: Top 50 Photographs From Around the World, My Modern Met

© Adalberto Roque, AFP / Getty Images

A resident cries in front of her destroyed house in Havana, Cubaon Jan. 28, 2019. A rare and powerful tornado that struck Havana killed three people and left 172 injured, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said.

Full List: Memorable moments: See a photo from each day of 2019, USA Today

© Noel Guevara, Greenpeace

March 7: A crab is trapped inside a discarded cup near Batangas City, Philippines.

Full List: 2019: The year in pictures, CNN

© Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

Lety Perez, a Guatemalan migrant, embraces her son Anthony while praying to ask a member of the Mexican National Guard to let them cross into the United States, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on July 22, 2019. Perez and her 6-year-old son had travelled some 1,500 miles from their home country, only to be stopped mere feet from the United States.

Full List: Top 25 News Photos of 2019, The Atlantic

© Marlena Waldthausen

A farmer burns down waste on his fields in the Lucknow region of Uttar Pradesh, India. Burning down fields and waste is a huge contributor to growing pollution in the region — 22 of the 30 most air-polluted cities worldwide are located in India. More than 1.2 million people died of the consequences last year. Still, the topic was not at all part of the election campaign.

Full List: Women Photograph: 2019 Year in Pictures, Women Photograph

© Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Protesters stand off against police during an anti-government rally in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan District, Aug. 25, 2019.

Full List: Here Are The Most Powerful Photos Of The Decade, Buzzfeed News

© Photograph by John Stanmeyer

Aisha Barka and her daughter, Mariam, hadn’t eaten in days when they arrived in an Eritrean refugee camp in 2008, driven from their home by drought, which killed all their animals. After the Eritrean military began abducting young men, people fled for safety across the border into Ethiopia.

Full List: The Best Photos of 2019, National Geographic

© Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP

Rosa Tomas, 27, and her 1-year-old son, Dionisio Eduardo, stand in front of their destroyed home in Buzi, Mozambique, after the area was hit by Cyclone Idai, which killed hundreds.

Full List: A remarkable year in photographs, Washington Post

© AP Photo / Rodrigo Abd

Fishermen prepare to begin harvesting crabs in the oil-contaminated Lake Maracaibo near Cabimas, Venezuela, on July 5, 2019.

Full List: Top AP photos of 2019 range from the epic to the intimate, Associated Press

For a personal touch and view, I want to add something from Tolstoy for ending, which I believe summarizes greatly what’s going on with us and our world;

Though hundreds of thousands had done their very best to disfigure the small piece of land on which they were crowded together, by paying the ground with stones, scraping away every vestige of vegetation, cutting down the trees, turning away birds and beasts, and filling the air with the smoke of naphtha and coal, still spring was spring, even in the town.

The sun shone warm, the air was balmy; everywhere, where it did not get scraped away, the grass revived and sprang up between the paving-stones as well as on the narrow strips of lawn on the boulevards. The birches, the poplars, and the wild cherry unfolded their gummy and fragrant leaves, the limes were expanding their opening buds; crows, sparrows, and pigeons, filled with the joy of spring, were getting their nests ready; the flies were buzzing along the walls, warmed by the sunshine. All were glad, the plants, the birds, the insects, and the children.

But men, grown-up men and women, did not leave off cheating and tormenting themselves and each other. It was not this spring morning men thought sacred and worthy of consideration not the beauty of God’s world, given for a joy to all creatures, this beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to harmony, and to love, but only their own devices for enslaving one another.

From Leo Tolstoy, Resurrection. Chapter I. Maslova in Prison.

Hoping for a better year… 2020.




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We must all do better. If it is design that got us here, design can get us out. // Designer & maker @ 1984.design