But it can lose much of its power that way — the power to seize us, to shake us awake, to interrupt the everyday. There is always a new image. Scenes of the present become instantly the past. Put together at the end of a year, though, their essence is restored. The images here compel us to look closely, look twice, look slowly. And in doing so, we can ask ourselves: How do we react to what we see — not only in the moment we look at it, but in our daily lives?
How does that reaction prepare us for the way we will face the future? Empathy is the minimum, but we need to step into the world with more than that. What about art teaching us indignation? What about rage and historical responsibility? At first glance, these photographs are a retrospective of the year we are about to leave behind. If we look even more closely, we realize these are in fact photographs about the future. There is the disturbingly sad gaze of a baby girl being embraced by her mother, a victim of the opioid crisis.
Every 15 minutes in the United States, a baby is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Imagine their future. There are young palms raised high during a student protest, shortly after the Parkland school shooting. How do we articulate that future? There are approximately two million people in prison in the United States, the majority of them black and brown. An African-American male is more likely to go to prison than to college.
It is impossible to look at the searing image of Amal Hussain, 7, photographed at a hospital in northern Yemen, and not think of the future she will not have. She died in November. What is the future for other children in Yemen? What many of these pictures have in common is not only the tragedies they depict, but also the fact that underlies those tragedies, which is that while some die or are killed, while some fall prey to addiction, while their countries fall into the hands of authoritarians, others may profit.
Pharmaceutical companies profit, arms companies profit, Facebook profits. We see here the dispossession that enables the few — all those suits and ties — to silence the many. The image begs us not only to think about how asylum seekers are treated in this country, but also to consider how undocumented immigrants can be locked into a narrative that diminishes their agency, one that reduces their fierceness and dignity to victimhood, at best. Look at yourself, looking. Then look at her gaze again.
And remember it, because she is the future. Hava Beitermurzayeva with her son. She left Russia in to marry an Islamic State soldier she met online. When she was discovered by Russian authorities in a camp in Syria, she was sent back home.
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No shirt, no problem for Gary Atlas in Brooklyn, running on the Coney Island boardwalk on a day when the high temperature was 16 degrees. The cross-country skier Oddvar Bra, who became a legend in Norway for tying for first despite breaking a pole during the world championships. The Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was one of over women who spoke at the sentencing hearing of Dr. Lawrence Nassar for sexual assault. A guanaco herd in a new park.
Volunteers collecting unclaimed bodies, most thought to be of Islamic State fighters killed in the battle that forced the group from the city. Students leaving Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a year-old armed with a semiautomatic AR rifle attacked the school, killing In a continuing drought, a woman waited her turn at a water distribution point.
The region has become measurably drier and hotter because of climate change.
Alaska: A group of Native Americans at Fort Tongass.
A diver inspecting a cage of southern bluefin tuna in the Great Australian Bight, an open bay renowned for its sea life and targeted for natural-gas drilling in Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine in midair. He won the Olympic gold medal in the freestyle skiing aerials competition. Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, after telling House investigators that her job had occasionally required her to tell white lies. Atresia Burden at the extravaganza known as the Bronner Bros. Residents gathered to honor a militia fighter killed in the Syrian civil war.
Veneration of the dead has become an effective tool for recruiting soldiers. President Trump held notes during a White House meeting with people who had survived or had family members killed in school shootings. Mohammed Anizy at the wedding hall he runs. Festive wedding celebrations, once banned by the Islamic State, were returning to the city. Many there burn coal to stay warm.
Rahab Ibrahim, one of over girls kidnapped from school by Boko Haram in More than of her former classmates are still missing. The March for Our Lives rally, one of hundreds of protests held across the world calling for action on gun violence. Nakosha Smith, a member of the Caramel Curves, an all-female motorcycle club that meets almost every weekend.
What the cellphone has wrought: discarded phone booths that were once a staple of British streets. Members of the Munduruku tribe sorting fruit. Kusum Thapa, 17, doing her schoolwork in a chhaupadi hut. In areas of Nepal, women and girls are banished to such huts when they are menstruating. Two brothers at a refugee camp near the Venezuelan border. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have sought refuge in Brazil in recent years.
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Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the larger neo-Nazi groups in the United States, burned a swastika after a rally in a nearby town. Bill Cosby arriving at a courthouse during his retrial on charges of sexual assault. He was convicted later that month. Aerospace workers in uniforms styled after those of the Chinese Red Army. China celebrated a record 69 years of Communist rule this year. The movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was escorted from a police precinct house in handcuffs after being booked on sexual assault charges. A day of record-setting heat. In the lower 48 United States, the period between May and July ranked as the hottest ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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1968: The year in pictures
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