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Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Todd Heisler has contributed his first major essay for the New York Times since joining the paper’s photo staff earlier this fall. The story is an intimate look at one man’s successful surgery to bypass a brain aneurysm.

Heisler left the Rocky Mountain News, another fine photo paper, shortly after winning the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Featuer Photography for a lenghty series on the grief-stricken families of Marines killed in the war in Iraq.

Like any good essay, Heisler pulls of the informational pictures in “Rescuing a Brain,” but he also manages to capture the emotional moments and some telling detail shots, such as one nice floor scene showing splattered blood, a discarded shoe and a doctor’s bare foot working what appears to be some sort of foot pedal. The essay comes with a graphic content warning, but it’s not greusome in the least.

Michele McNally has already assembled a great photo staff at the Times, and Heisler is no doubt a great addition.

And if you have time, be sure to check out the paper’s Year in Pictures, and a longer list of year-end best ofs at the A Photo a Day blog.
-Jay DeFoore

**Image _© Todd Heisler/The New York Times