MEXICO. Antunez. January 11, 2014. Autodefensas militias take the town of Antunez. A gunman from Templarios cartel is shot dead by vigilantes during a shoutout. Jerome Sessini
The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario
Jan. 8, 2014. The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario, partially frozen over from the “polar vortex.”
Chickens are seen in the midst of plants covered by ash from Mount Sinabung near Sigarang-Garang village
Jan. 12, 2014. Chickens are seen in the midst of plants covered by ash from the Mount Sinabung volcano near Sigarang-Garang village in Karo district, Indonesia’s North Sumatra province.
Heavily Polluted Guanabara Bay To Be Site For Water Sports At Rio Summer Olympics
Jan. 21, 2014. Kids play along the shoreline of the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay in the Ilha do Governador neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Feb. 5, 2014. Members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel in Bangui.
Finland’s Arttu Kiramo performs jump during men’s freestyle skiing moguls qualification round at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor
Feb. 10, 2014. Finland’s Arttu Kiramo performs a jump during the men’s freestyle skiing moguls qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor.
Feb. 24, 2014. South Sudanese women wait in line for food distribution in Juba.
March 28, 2014. Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock inside court in Pretoria, South Africa, as members of his defense team, foreground, talk over benches.
Aerial view of flower fields near the Keukenhof park in Lisse
April 9, 2014. Aerial view of flower fields near the Keukenhof park, also known as the Garden of Europe, in Lisse, The Netherlands.
Holy Week Processions In Seville
April 14, 2014. A penitent from ‘El Museo’ brotherhood walk to the church to start a procession in Seville, Spain.
April 21, 2014. President Barack Obama makes a face as he reads the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House is Washington.
A pro-Russia villager argues with Ukrainian soldiers after troops were being blocked by villagers at a checkpoint in Slovyansk, Ukraine.
May 2, 2014. A pro-Russian villager argued with Ukrainian soldiers after troops were blocked by villagers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Slovyansk.
Locals Preparing for Voting in Ladakh
May 6, 2014. Election workers carry voting machines and their overnight bags as they leave a central collection point to head for a polling station in Leh, Ladakh, India. India held a nine-phase election from April 7 – May 12, with over 800 million eligible voters.
May 13, 2014. A man kisses his son, rescued after an explosion in a coal mine in Manisa. At least 157 miners were killed in collapsed coal mine in the western Turkish city after an electric fault.
Chinese man attacks primary school students with knife, injures 8
May 20, 2014. In this screen shot of a surveillance video, a man wields a knife to attack a young student at the Wulitun Primary School in Macheng city, central Chinas Hubei province. The 35-year-old attacker went on a rampage wounding eight schoolchildren with one seriously injured, state media reported.
May 25, 2014. Pope Francis prays at Israel’s separation barrier on his way to a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the KPA Naval Unit 167
June 16, 2014. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front) stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.
June 17, 2014. A Brazilian supporter poses for a picture before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil vs Mexico match at the FIFA Fan Fest public viewing event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Dolly” Brothel Remains Open Despite Closure Of Red-Light District
June 19, 2014. Indonesian commercial female sex workers cover their face as they sit behind the glass inside a brothel as its activity still runs after being closed by Surabaya’s new Mayor at ‘Dolly’ red-light district in Surabaya, Indonesia.
The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera
July 12, 2014. The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz.
Tensions Remain High At Israeli Gaza Border
July 15, 2014. Israeli soldiers sleep next to armored personnel carriers near the Israeli-Gaza border near Sderot, Israel, operation ‘Protective Edge’ enters its eighth day of airstrikes.
A man carries a child as another lies dead after two explosions on a beach in Gaza.
July 16, 2014. An Israeli airstrike on a beach in Gaza City killed four young boys. Two explosions, separated by about 30 seconds, hit the area.
Air Malaysian Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine
July 18, 2014. Miners search a field for debris and human remains from an Malaysia Airlines plane in Grabovka, Ukraine.
Liberia Battles Spreading Ebola Epidemic
Aug. 15, 2014. Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola ward in Monrovia, Liberia.
Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
Aug. 17, 2014. Tear gas reigns down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air after a demonstration over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in Ferguson, Mo.
Ebola in Sierra Leone for the Washington Post
Aug. 19, 2014. Residents of the town of Kailahun, Sierra Leone gather along a river at dusk.
China’s Face-kini Becomes Unlikely Global Fashion Hit
Aug. 20, 2014. Chinese women wear face-kinis as they stand in the water on the Yellow Sea in Qingdao, China. The locally designed mask is worn by many local women to protect them from jellyfish stings, algae and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Aug. 25, 2014. Michael Brown Sr., yells out as the casket is lowered during the funeral service for his son Michael Brown in Normandy, Mo.
Sept. 10, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry looks out over Baghdad from a helicopter. Kerry flew into Iraq on that day for talks with its new leaders on their role in a long-awaited new strategy against Islamic State jihadists to be unveiled by President Barack Obama.
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State, near Mosul
Sept. 15, 2014. A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near Mosul, Iraq.
Children affected by the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Sept. 21, 2014. Berlinda, stands at the screen door while others talk outside in Monrovia, Liberia. Berlina mother died of Ebola in an ambulance on the way to Redemption Hospital. The photographer did on Dec. 11, 2014 from an apparent heart attack at the age of 58 while on assignment on Ebola in Liberia.
Sept. 24, 2014. Syrian Kurds go back to Syria at Mursitpinar crossing gate at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey.
Sept. 30, 2014. A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine walks with her cheek pierced by a metal rod ahead of a street procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in the southern Thai town of Phuket.
Tensions Remain High Between Rival Factions As Hong Kong Pro Democracy Rallies Continue
October 5, 2014. A pro-democracy protester sleeps on a concrete road divider on a street outside the Hong Kong Government Complex in Hong Kong.
Oct. 17, 2014. Dr. Marius Kruger (C) and member of the Kruger National Park keeps the head of a rhino up during a white rhino relocation capture in South Africa.
Afghan National Army (ANA) officers take part in a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC) in Kabu
Oct. 22, 2014. Afghan National Army (ANA) officers take part in a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC) in Kabul.
One World Trade Center Window Washers Trapped In Dangling Scaffolding
Nov. 12, 2014. A scaffold carrying two workers hangs 69 floors up at One World Trade Center in New York City. The workers were washing windows 69 floors up soon after One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, opened.
St. Louis County Police respond after grand jury announcement
Nov. 24, 2014. A St. Louis County Police tactical team arrives on W. Florissant Avenue to disperse a crowd as the Beauty Town store burns in Dellwood, Mo.
Student Protestors Continue To Occupy Admiralty Site
Nov. 30, 2014. Police arrest a pro-democracy protester on Lung Wo Road outside Hong Kong’s Government complex in Hong Kong.
A surfer drops in on a large wave at Praia do Norte, in Nazare
Dec. 11, 2014. A surfer drops in on a large wave at Praia do Norte, in Nazare, Portugal.
Women mourn their relative Mohammed Ali Khan, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar
Dec. 16, 2014. Women mourn their relative Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar. At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday after Taliban gunmen broke into a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years.
Although historians consider this among the most peaceful eras of human history, in the past year we nonetheless bore witness to numerous violent crises and conflicts.
The Syrian Civil War approached its forth anniversary while once unimaginable full-scale combat between Russian paramilitaries and Ukrainian armed forces broke out in Donetsk. Horrific religious conflicts continued to fester in Central African Republic and Nigeria, as famine spread across South Sudan. In Iraq, in came the Islamic State, and back for the third time went U.S armed forces with a new airborne assault. The Ebola epidemic devastated communities in western Africa and terrified those living in international travel hubs around the world. Terrorist attacks on civilians continued in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and drug violence swelled throughout Latin America. Massive protests broke out everywhere from Hong Kong to Brazil, including in our own backyards as thousands filled the streets in the U.S. to march against a justice system faltering the prosecution of racially motivated crimes and police use of excessive force.
To say the least, 2014 was subject for an abundance of brutal pictures. The rise of the auto-documentary impulse, the prevalence of tools that make anyone anywhere around the world an amateur photographer, has nearly overwhelmed our visual ecosystem (our social networks) with unverified images of blood and gore. Thus, more important than ever before is a focus on the work of far-flung professional photographers filing images on trusted news wires. Their photos are marked not only by aesthetic excellence, but by journalistic integrity. They captured the epic, searing moments of peak conflict, but were also more apt to find quieter, subtle moments that revealed the bigger picture, the long-lasting implications of the day’s headlines, and the glimmers of hope. At an unprecedented rate, many of them gave their lives doing so—the Associated Press alone lost four contributors in the field this year, including the remarkably talented Anja Niedringhaus.
To narrow the tens of thousands of photographs running on the wires each day down to 52 of best, or most important, memorable, et al, in chronological order, could seem like an absurd task. A vast majority of what gets filed has nothing to do with these tragic, at times earthshaking events. Like clockwork, as in years past, Holy week in Spain, Holi color run in India, tulip season in Holland, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, the Olympics, the World Cup, the supermoon, extreme weather patterns, and the massive swells off the coast of Portugal proved themselves veritably gold-mines for colorful, exuberant wire photography. These images add balance, rhythm, maybe some levity to our gallery above, which undeniably features many discomforting images that are difficult to see. Combined, they are meant to show the interconnectedness of the our world and the far-reaching consequences of our behavior. As Ken Jarecke wrote in a perpetually quoted phrase in the pages of this magazine nearly 25 years ago, “If we’re big enough to fight a war, we should be big enough to look at it.”