The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario
Chickens are seen in the midst of plants covered by ash from Mount Sinabung near Sigarang-Garang village
Heavily Polluted Guanabara Bay To Be Site For Water Sports At Rio Summer Olympics
Finland’s Arttu Kiramo performs jump during men’s freestyle skiing moguls qualification round at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor
Aerial view of flower fields near the Keukenhof park in Lisse
Holy Week Processions In Seville
A pro-Russia villager argues with Ukrainian soldiers after troops were being blocked by villagers at a checkpoint in Slovyansk, Ukraine.
Locals Preparing for Voting in Ladakh
Chinese man attacks primary school students with knife, injures 8
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the KPA Naval Unit 167
“Dolly” Brothel Remains Open Despite Closure Of Red-Light District
The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera
Tensions Remain High At Israeli Gaza Border
A man carries a child as another lies dead after two explosions on a beach in Gaza.
Air Malaysian Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine
Liberia Battles Spreading Ebola Epidemic
Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
Ebola in Sierra Leone for the Washington Post
China’s Face-kini Becomes Unlikely Global Fashion Hit
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State, near Mosul
Children affected by the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Tensions Remain High Between Rival Factions As Hong Kong Pro Democracy Rallies Continue
Afghan National Army (ANA) officers take part in a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC) in Kabu
One World Trade Center Window Washers Trapped In Dangling Scaffolding
St. Louis County Police respond after grand jury announcement
Student Protestors Continue To Occupy Admiralty Site
A surfer drops in on a large wave at Praia do Norte, in Nazare
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
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.”