By Meaghan Looram, Director of Photography

The year 2021 opened with the promise of vaccines, and the belief that we would all return to “normal” after the tumultuous year of the pandemic. But the year instead took off with an insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, and saw a summer of carefree gatherings derailed by a fast-spreading virus variant. Governments fell, democracies were challenged, and climate related destruction was unleashed, all while the casualties of the pandemic continued to amass. The vaccine saved some lives, but human passions, hopes and fears did their usual work to create a year that was anything but calm, and is ending with the prospect of a new variant upending plans once again.

This is the story of 2021 told visually, through the eloquent universal language of photography.

This period has underscored the special communicative power of the image, as well as the risks and hardship that photographers take so they can show us the world. As some people retreated to working from home, or keeping their distance, these committed journalists did not have that option. Our writers describe and sometimes interpret the world for our readers, but our photographers literally show our readers the world.

Photographers must be there to do their work, to bear witness firsthand. They must be in the hospital ICU, in the scrum of the protest, at the front line of the conflict, close to the wildfire, inside the homes of the struggling parents, or wading into the floodwaters of the storm. We are the beneficiaries of their courage and their commitment, and the connections they make with others.

We get to see and better understand the world through their eyes. We get access to remote places, shuttered places, dangerous places, private places. And, while once war photographers were the ones expected to confront danger, now because of an unpredictable virus, hostility towards journalists, domestic conflict and fearsome natural disasters, an ordinary-sounding assignment can become risky.

Doug Mills submitted to hundreds of covid tests in order to give our readers uninterrupted access to a White House in transition between two vastly different administrations. Max Whittaker prepped his house and helped his family evacuate before suiting up to cover the firefighting efforts to contain the Caldor fire that threatened his home. A routine assignment to cover a vote on capitol hill was transformed in an instant, and Erin Schaff found herself in the middle of a conflict. She continued to photograph after being physically assaulted by rioters. Jim Huylebroek refused to leave Afghanistan even when it was obviously the prudent thing to do, because he wanted to show the world what was transpiring during the history-making retreat of the American military and the success of the Taliban. Our photographer in Myanmar can’t even reveal his name for fear of being targeted.

But while the news focuses on tumult, life is much more rich than that. We also asked our photographers to document the joy, the optimism, the curious and buoyant moments that remind us of the gobsmacking beauty of the world and all that connects us to one another. The astonishing physical command of an Olympic athlete, perfectly organized in space by a photographer’s composition. The ethereal beauty of the sea’s largest shark as it arches to be fed by a human interloper. The delicate and tender touch of a new mother, the dignity and vulnerability of a person honestly seen.

Photographers are often invisible and unacknowledged. This collection puts their voices at the center of the conversation. As much as it is a representation of the year’s events, it is also a tribute to them.

New York, Jan. 1. Confetti rained down on a deserted Times Square for the New Year’s Eve ball drop. The celebration was closed to the public for the first time in decades as the coronavirus pandemic continued to cast a shadow over the nation. 

Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 6. Crowds rallied near the White House to hear President Trump speak. Mr. Trump, citing unfounded claims of fraud, had urged his supporters to come to the capital to stop the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election win.

Mark Peterson for The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 6. As lawmakers inside the Capitol debated the certification of electoral votes, a violent mob overwhelmed police officers, breached barricades and stormed the building.

Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 6. Officer Eugene Goodman stood firm as rioters pushed toward the Senate chamber. 

Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

For Ashley Gilbertson, this photograph captured the intensity of the moment when a single man stood firm against a massive mob overrunning the United States Capitol.

As they turned a corner, the mob paused. A lone policeman was shouting at them to stop and turn back. Men in QAnon shirts shouted back, and another waved a Confederate flag in front of the officer. He drew his baton to fight them back, but it fell to the ground in the chaos. He unclipped the holster of his pistol and put his hand on the grip, and I put a rioter between me and him as a shield. But the officer never drew his sidearm.

His name, I would later learn, was Eugene Goodman. He acted as a diversion to draw rioters away from the Senate chamber. There weren’t many moments that we can be proud of as a nation from Jan. 6, 2021, but this is one of them.

Washington, Jan. 6. After reinforcements arrived, police officers forced people out of the Capitol.

Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 6. Trespassers faced off against police officers outside the Senate chamber. Hundreds of people were later arrested and charged in connection with the riot.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 6. Supporters of President Trump roamed the hallways of the Capitol. Some of the rioters were prepared for the tear gas deployed by the police.

Mark Peterson for The New York Times

“It was like a scene out of a movie with the chemical agent wafting through the air. It was really surreal. The guy stopped because he was so proud of taking part in this insurrection, he wanted it recorded in some way.”

— Mark Peterson

Washington, Jan. 6. The Capitol mob left behind a trail of smashed windows, vandalized artworks, upended furniture and ransacked offices. Five people lost their lives in the rampage.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Erin Schaff is not a conflict photographer by training. Her background is in covering the Capitol. So when people got inside the Capitol, she felt like they were in her second home.

As soon as I heard the noise of rioters inside the building, I ran towards them. Every step of the way I thought, “This is about to end. Law enforcement will be here. Backup will be here.” And it just didn’t come. It was important to me to stay on the Hill that night and be there for when Congress reconvened. It was really difficult to be in the Capitol after the 6th. I don’t think I’ll ever walk through those spaces without seeing the shadows of a mob. I don’t look at my photos from those days.

Washington, Jan. 13. Members of the National Guard provided a heavily armed presence in the Capitol as the House voted to impeach President Trump for inciting an insurrection against the government.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Union, N.J., Jan. 14. Jamira Eaddy-Onque and Ali Onque embraced their newborn daughter, Anastasia, at a birthing center. Racial inequities in health care have led many Black mothers to seek alternatives to hospital births.

Alice Proujansky for The New York Times

Olney, Md., Jan. 8. Dekeda Brown and her husband, Derrick. Ms. Brown was just one of the many working mothers who found themselves at a breaking point as they struggled to keep their households afloat amid the pandemic.

Brenda Ann Kenneally for The New York Times

Temecula, Calif., Jan. 11. Mercedes Quintana, a working mother who was juggling a job in mental health with caring for her young daughter, took a brief moment to rest while doing her fourth laundry load of the day.

Brenda Ann Kenneally for The New York Times

“That was a moment of exhaustion. A moment unseen but universal. I’m there to show that this woman is doing it all. Even though we work outside the home, we still do the lioness’s share of household chores.”

— Brenda Ann Kenneally

Washington, Jan. 19. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, attended a ceremony at the Reflecting Pool commemorating the 400,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Louisville, Jan. 25. Drivers lined up to be inoculated against Covid-19 at the Broadbent Arena, a venue usually known for its monster truck rallies that was transformed into a mass vaccination site.

Jon Cherry for The New York Times

Los Angeles, Jan. 18. Emilio Virgen, a 63-year-old minibus driver, battled Covid-19 in the I.C.U. at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital. Three days later, Mr. Virgen became No. 207 on the hospital’s list of coronavirus fatalities.

Isadora Kosofsky for The New York Times

London, Jan. 13. John Rule, a receptionist at Rowland Brothers Funeral Directors in Croydon, in south London, took a moment with his mother, Mary Rule, who died of Covid-19. In January, Britain passed a milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

“John was working at the front desk at the funeral home. This was one of the most intimate moments of his life, essentially saying goodbye to his mother. After the photo, he thanked me and he said he was so honored that it was part of this story. Everything that we do as photographers is about trust.”

— Lynsey Addario

Washington, Jan. 18 and Jan. 20. Scenes from the inauguration of President Biden. The event was a quiet affair in a city consumed by security fears after the Capitol riot and mindful of safety concerns in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Washington, Jan. 20. President Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, arrived at the White House after his inauguration to find the doors closed. The chief usher, who manages the residence, had been fired hours earlier.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Because of Covid, there was no parade. So the president and first lady walked up to the North Portico, which is something we don’t typically see. And here was just this embrace that was very organic. It was like Joe Biden saying, you’re here, you’re finally here, after eight years as vice president.”

— Doug Mills

Moscow, Jan. 31. Police officers detained a protester as tens of thousands of people rallied across Russia in support of Aleksei A. Navalny, the jailed opposition leader.

Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Chiquimula, Guatemala, Jan. 17. Guatemalan security forces blocked a caravan of up to 7,000 Central American migrants who had surged in from Honduras in hopes of reaching the United States.

Esteban Biba/EPA, via Shutterstock

Brooklyn, Feb. 1. Dara Fleischer and her son Noah, 11, sledding near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. More than 17 inches of snow fell during a wet and heavy storm that was among the biggest in New York City’s recent history. 

Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

Bangkok, Feb. 1.  Students attended an assembly on the first day back to school. The Education Ministry had ordered schools to close for most of the previous month amid an uptick in coronavirus infections.

Adam Dean for The New York Times

Washington, Feb. 2. Officers paid their respects to Brian D. Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained during the Jan. 6 riot. He was the fifth person to lie in honor in the Capitol, which he once protected. 

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

East Los Angeles, Feb. 1. Brianna Hernandez, an apprentice embalmer at Continental Funeral Home, which is popular with working-class Mexican and Mexican American families. As Covid deaths surged, it was one of the most overwhelmed funeral homes in America.

Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Los Angeles, Feb. 20. Maritza Cruz comforting her mother, María Salinas Cruz, after the death of Maritza’s father, Felipe Cruz. An air-conditioning technician, he succumbed to Covid-19 after being hospitalized for 27 days.

Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Meridith Kohut spent two weeks on the front line of the Covid-19 surge in Los Angeles County, documenting its toll on Black and Latino families.

I had been with the family of Felipe Cruz in the I.C.U. when doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him. A few weeks after he died, I visited them at home. I spent hours with them as they remembered Felipe — laughing, crying and going through old photos of him and their family. His wife cooked his favorite dinner and we all ate together. That day, I learned Felipe was an immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a father to three daughters. His family described him as always happy and laughing, always affectionate, kind and helping others.

We sat around the table together and sipped cups of Oaxacan hot chocolate as the sun set outside their kitchen window. When our cups were empty, María broke down and held her hands to her face and sobbed. Maritza jumped up to comfort her.

São Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 11. Vials of a Covid vaccine, developed by the Beijing drugmaker Sinovac, at the Butantan Institute. Scientists in Brazil initially hailed the vaccine but later downgraded its efficacy, dealing a setback to China’s global health diplomacy.

Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Washington, Feb. 10. Members of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff watching video from former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial. The footage showed Jan. 6 rioters beating on the door of an office in which staff members had barricaded themselves.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“Politicians were evacuated, but their staffs weren’t. They had to hide in the building. They thought they were going to die. I think a lot about the congressional staff and the Capitol police officers who still have to go to work there every day and are continually retraumatized by what they experienced.”

— Erin Schaff

Washington, Feb. 13. A staff member for the House impeachment managers kept a tally as senators voted on whether to convict former President Donald J. Trump on the single charge of inciting an insurrection.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Yangon, Myanmar, Feb. 17. Protests against a military coup swelled to hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of days. At one rally, the actress Paing Phyoe Thu held up the three-finger salute, a symbol from the “Hunger Games” series.

The New York Times

Wheeling, W.Va., Feb. 9. A resident at the Good Shepherd nursing home, which was among the first facilities in the country to begin tiptoeing back toward normalcy, thanks to the state’s vaccination campaign.

Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Manhattan Beach, Calif., Feb. 21. Kimiko Russell-Halterman, who is Black, Japanese and white, is among a growing number of Black and mixed-race female surfers who are finding community thanks to their shared reverence for the ocean.

Gabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times

“It was a pretty typical February morning. Cool and crisp. My friend Kimi had recently bought a new longboard. Kimi embodied what it felt like out on the water that day. It was great to gather safely again and be reminded that there is a lot of support for diversifying the line-up.”

— Gabriella Angotti-Jones

Austin, Texas, Feb. 16. Camilla Swindle, 19, rested in a cart as she and other shoppers waited to enter a grocery store after a frigid snowstorm hit the area. The death toll would eventually climb to more than 200. 

Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Austin, Texas, Feb. 16. Residents used their vehicles to charge cellphones and warm up after a storm, which overwhelmed the power grid and caused problems with the water supply.

Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

“A few blocks from me was a public housing development. As I was standing in its parking lot looking at the skyline, two folks came out to warm up and charge their phones. You can see the towering downtown office buildings illuminated, and neighborhoods like East Austin, which is historically underserved, were in the dark.”

— Tamir Kalifa

Brooklyn, Feb. 23. A movie trailer ran to an empty house at the Alpine Cinema. Surveys showed that small percentages of people who watch movies had seen, or even heard of, the films nominated for Oscars this year.

Devin Oktar Yalkin for The New York Times

From the project “What Is Life Without Burlesque?” Stages were still dark a year into the pandemic. Among the performers in New York itching for the return of feathers and harnesses were, clockwise from top left, Veronica Viper, the Maine Attraction, Dandy Dillinger and Nyx Nocturne.

Kholood Eid for The New York Times

“One of my closest friends, Veronica, is a burlesque performer. We had talked a lot about the emotional and financial toll that the pandemic was having on her and her community of performers, and I wanted to capture that. I wanted to show the range of beauty and nuance in the burlesque scene.”

— Kholood Eid

Yangon, Myanmar, March 28. Protesters used slingshots and other homemade weapons in a clash with security forces, as what began as peaceful demonstrations after a Feb. 1 military coup rapidly grew into a resistance movement.

The New York Times

The photographer who covers Myanmar for The New York Times cannot reveal his name. It’s too risky in a country that is on the verge of civil war.

I cannot safely tell anyone I’m a journalist. Anything sensitive you do could cause arrest and torture. I can work as long as there’s the camouflage of people and protesters on the street. As a photographer I want to have my name out there, but it’s more important for me to be able to work than to be credited. I just kept saying, I am more useful doing what I do, which is to document, to witness the events as they unfold while other people are protesting and participating in this revolution. When they started the crackdown they fired real bullets and started injuring people. That day I photographed so many dead bodies. So many wounded. And the crackdown went on until dark. That was a very deadly day. You see these young men with slingshots and homemade weapons that could barely kill a bird, facing a military. They’re fighting for their freedom and democracy.

Yangon, Myanmar, March 14. Pro-democracy protesters held makeshift shields as they prepared for a crackdown by security forces in the Hlaing Tharyar factory district of Yangon.

The New York Times

Yangon, Myanmar, March 27. Family members mourned beside the body of Kyaw Htet Aung, 19, a high school student who was killed when security forces fired on protesters in Dala township.

The New York Times

Munich, March 23. A nurse filled syringes in preparation for a Covid-19 vaccination campaign for employees of hospitals in the Ludwig Maximilians University system.

Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

From the project “The Service Workers Who Kept New York Alive in Its Darkest Months Clockwise from top left: David Santiago, a delivery worker in Manhattan; Arman Threat Sr., a security officer in Brooklyn; Steven Wong, owner of a seafood market in Manhattan; and Olivia Richards, owner of a beauty salon in the Bronx.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Todd Heisler photographed New York’s service workers, so central to New York’s economy and way of life, and yet so often unseen.

I want people to look in their eyes and see beyond their uniforms and trades. They are the people that kept New York running. They are New York. I felt particularly close to these workers because I was out working so much and you develop a kinship with the people you see out in the street, especially during the pandemic when there weren’t so many people out there. These are workers who are often overlooked. Suddenly they’re deemed essential workers, and they’re behind masks and closed doors and continuing to do that work but now at risk because of Covid.

Old Bridge, N.J., March 29. Marie Fabrizio, 95, kissed her son, Dan Fabrizio, 59, for the first time in a year after a pandemic lockdown was finally lifted at her assisted living home.

Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

“This was the very first time anyone could get inside the facility. The son was the only one of her children who lived nearby. We were there the moment they first saw each other. He immediately just completely broke down. She, too, was really excited to see him.”

— Bryan Anselm

South Orange, N.J., March 12. A student joined class remotely during a sit-in to protest school closures. A year into the pandemic, many schools in the state remained shuttered over safety fears.

Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Buxton, N.C., March 10. Sandbags offered some protection as waves lapped at homes in the Outer Banks. In 2018, the town paid to rebuild its beach to counter a rising ocean, but most of the sand has washed away.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Atlanta, March 25. Park Cannon, a Democratic state representative, was arrested after she knocked on the office door of Gov. Brian Kemp as he signed a law to restrict voting access.

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

Comitancillo, Guatemala, March 14. Friends and relatives carried the coffin of Iván Gudiel Pablo Tomás. Mr. Pablo was one of 13 migrants who were killed as they trekked north to the United States; 12 Mexican police officers were charged in the massacre.

Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, March 18. Vilma Iris Peraza, 28, a migrant from Honduras, sobbed after she and her two children, Adriana, 5, and Erick, 2, were deported by surprise from the United States to Mexico.

Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Daniel Berehulak has photographed refugees and immigration all over the world. This year, he was at the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

One of our contacts mentioned that the Americans were doing mass deportations, they were flying people from Brownsville to El Paso and not telling them anything along the way, then putting them on a bus and walking them back over the international bridge. When journalists met them at the crossing point they asked, “ Where are we?” When someone answered, “Mexico,” it hit them that they had been brought back over the border and that the whole journey, of borrowing money and dealing with coyotes and smugglers. had been for nothing. Their dreams were shattered and they were back in Mexico.

Atlanta, March 18. Cynthia Shi embraced her boyfriend, Graham Bloomsmith, outside Gold Spa, one of three massage businesses where a gunman killed eight people. Six of the victims were of Asian descent, prompting alarm in the nation’s Asian communities.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Los Angeles, March 15. The photographer Sandy Kim enjoying dinner with her parents. The Times invited Asian and Asian American artists to capture what love looked like in a time of hate.

Sandy Kim for The New York Times

Sandy Kim, when asked to portray love, photographed herself with her parents. They had been there for her during her recovery from addiction.

I was an opiate addict and during that time I just pushed my family away. I was ashamed. The photo is showing me back in the family. I got clean two and a half years ago. For this dinner, I said to my parents, can we just act natural? I put it on a timer and they basically just did what was natural. My mother was a chef so she loves cooking, and I’m the only child. She just wants me to taste everything and be sure I try all her dishes. She was having me taste a fried fish, a dish kings and queens used to eat.

New Delhi, April 23. As India recorded as many as 350,000 infections per day — more than any other country had since the pandemic began — bodies were brought to a crematorium ground for Covid-19 victims.

Atul Loke for The New York Times

Atul Loke was in Delhi, waiting outside of hospitals, seeing people gasping for air, needing oxygen and waiting in ambulances.

Somebody mentioned that there was a mass cremation on the outskirts of South Delhi. I didn’t know until I got there what the scale was. Normally, traditional cremation grounds will have eight to 10 spaces where you can cremate the person. It takes almost two or three hours to burn completely, and then it needs time to cool off. Then people collect the ashes and do their rituals according to their faith. I think there were 50, 60 dead bodies burning. The traditional cremation land was full so they converted the adjoining parking lot into a mass cremation ground. There was no space to even walk around, and still dead bodies were coming. I went to a house and asked if I could go up to the terrace. That’s when I shot this picture. The fires were becoming more visible because it was getting dark.

New Delhi, April 29. Covid patients receiving oxygen at a gurdwara, a place of worship for Sikhs. A second wave of the coronavirus devastated India’s medical system; drugs and oxygen were in short supply.

Atul Loke for The New York Times

Jinggangshan, China, April 22. Tourists dressed as Red Army soldiers on a sightseeing tour, curated to show a sanitized version of the Communist Party’s history. “Red tourism” flourished ahead of the party’s centennial. 

Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Arthur, N.D., April 16. Revelers on the crowded floor at the reopening of Arthur’s Barn. As vaccinations increased and virus cases dwindled, Americans began to return to the things they did before — with some uncertainty.

Tim Gruber for The New York Times

Puyallup, Wash., April 9. Princesses greeted visitors at the annual Daffodil Festival. Across the country, people began coming together again for annual traditions and rites of passage.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Warri, Nigeria, April 24. Debra Emiko and her daughter Mala Elizabeth Emiko lamented that there was little fish to catch. Fisherwomen in the region began calling to account oil companies that have made billions in profits while leaving environmental ruin in their wake. 

Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

When Yagazie Emezi went to the Niger Delta in May, the oil from a spill several months earlier was still present, slicking her boat and staining it brown.

The Niger Delta is beautiful. You can only imagine how much more beautiful it was without the devastation of oil pollution. In some areas you can tell there were mangroves, but there is nothing there now. I have heard stories of freshwater dolphins once upon a time in this area, how the water was blue. You also hear stories of how the fish were once plentiful. As a witness I can say it is devastating. But I do not know what it’s like to pull up these nets filled with mud and very little fish. Unless our livelihoods rely on fishing, we can’t understand the full level of devastation they must feel. I wanted to capture them in the act of pulling up their nets. Natural nets for fishing are not this color. Even though the nets have been cleaned and mended, they are stained by past oil spills.

Philadelphia, April 4. A picnic at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park as the city started to gradually lift coronavirus restrictions.

Hannah Beier for The New York Times

Brooklyn, N.Y., April 21. The photographer Deanna Lawson at her studio in Gowanus. Ms. Lawson is best known for her strikingly intimate portraits of Black people, often surrounded by unexpected objects.

Lyle Ashton Harris for The New York Times

“This was in her studio. You see the work above. I think there’s a hint of a printer, some rolled photographs. I wanted to create a scene with the focus on the artist herself, but also to give hints of the work she actually does.”

— Lyle Ashton Harris

Menomonie, Wis. April 12. Birthing season on John Govin’s farm usually attracts about 12,000 visitors, but in 2020 only drive-through viewings of the animals were offered and attendance plummeted. This year, the crowds came back. 

Erinn Springer for The New York Times

Svalbard, Norway, April 23. Removing snow from an antenna dome at the Svalbard Satellite Station. The station, 800 miles from the North Pole, keeps satellites connected and plays a crucial role in supporting research on climate change.

Anna Filipova for The New York Times

“I live in the Arctic. I always try to reveal unseen stories, to create a sense of wonder. I hope my work will help strengthen the presence of women in science and environmental photojournalism, where the feminine perspective has been underrepresented.

— Anna Filipova

Noborito, Japan, April 28. From left, members of the Japanese band Chai: Yuna, Yuuki, Kana and Mana. They said their adoption of the color pink was a way of repudiating societal expectations about cuteness. 

Shina Peng for The New York Times

Washington, April 28. President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked on. It was the first time that two women sat on the dais behind the presidential podium.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Brooklyn Center, Minn. April 12. A standoff between the police and hundreds of protesters a day after the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black man who was shot by an officer during a traffic stop.

Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Brooklyn Center, Minn., April 17. Katie Wright, seated at center, grieved at a memorial near where her son Daunte Wright was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer. 

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Victor J. Blue went to Minnesota to cover the trial of the police officer accused in George Floyd’s death. Then, the police killed another Black man, Daunte Wright.

Daunte Wright’s mother was visiting the memorial that had sprung up right where he was pulled over by the police. It was a place she would commune with family and friends.

It seemed to give her a measure of comfort to engage with the people who were so upset and enraged over her son’s killing. I was struck by how she navigated this role she was thrust into, as a symbol of this movement. She appeared many, many times with other families who had lost children to police violence. Not just the emblematic ones, but families that had received little public attention. She handled it with a level of grace I found kind of amazing.

Minneapolis, April 20. Michael Carothers and his girlfriend, Krystal Eisenbraun, reacted after a jury convicted Derek Chauvin, a former police officer, in the murder of George Floyd. 

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Chattanooga, Tenn., April 7. After months of quarantining in Los Angeles, Bethany Mollenkof was eager for her newborn daughter to reunite with her grandparents at Easter. 

Bethany Mollenkof for The New York Times

“I had a baby at the height of Covid and my family was unable to travel to Los Angeles to be with me. In April my parents held her for the first time. She is wearing a dress I wore as a baby. One of my mom’s best friends made that dress.”

— Bethany Mollenkof

Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2. An American soldier sat aboard a Chinook helicopter as U.S. troops began their withdrawal from the country, loading up ammunition and supplies from Kandahar Airfield.

Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, May 9. A girl was reunited with her mother after a bombing at Sayed Ul-Shuhada school. The mother lost a 13-year-old daughter in the attack, which killed at least 90 people.

Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times

Kiana Hayeri has lived in Kabul for more than seven years, and has covered a lot of bombings. But this one, outside of a school, was probably the hardest.

The day before this photo was taken, there was a triple explosion outside of a school in Kabul City. Because I am a woman I was able to enter the space without causing too much distraction. There was a humming sound, which was the sound the women were making crying quietly. But the room was silent otherwise. At this mosque they were burying two girls who were killed the day before. The sister arrived late because she had passed out earlier that morning, so they had taken her to the hospital. The area around the school is one of the poorest areas of Kabul.

Mexico City, May 3. Train cars lay amid tangled wires and twisted metal after a subway overpass collapsed, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens more.

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

On the Gaza border, May 13. Israeli troops fired artillery toward Gaza as Israel launched an intense air and ground assault against Palestinian militants.

Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Petah Tikva, Israel, May 13. An apartment that was hit overnight by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants fired large barrages of enhanced-range rockets that reached far into Israel.

Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Gaza, May 14. Nagham Tolba cradled the body of her 15-year-old brother, Mahmoud, who was killed when he was hit by shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike.

Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

“This photo is one of the most difficult scenes that I photographed in the last war in May 2021, because the people in the photo are my relatives. It is Mahmoud Tolba, 15 years old, and he is the son of my cousin. Nagham Tolba, who embraces Mahmoud, is his only sister, hugging his body and crying. Mahmoud was walking in the street when the bombing occurred.”

— Samar Abu Elouf

Adam Ferguson went to Mexico to make portraits of migrants who were waiting and hoping to enter the U.S.

The subjects are all making the exposure themselves, so they are collaborative portraits, which is a technique that has been used in the fine art space but not often within the context of journalism. I wanted to give these migrants who don’t have any agency and are in these precarious situations fleeing violence and poverty — I wanted to see them in a quieter and more intimate space. Instead of being depicted as victims, I wanted them to participate. I used a medium format camera and cable release, and explained that they’d be in control of the moment of capture. It was about me stepping back a bit and giving them a stake in that process, and I thought that would be an interesting way for an audience to engage with the migration issue.

Bogotá, Colombia, May 5. A red flare was lobbed toward a riot officer as anti-government demonstrations over tax reform escalated into outrage against police brutality.

Federico Rios for The New York Times

Knoxville, Tenn., May 8. Students from the Studio Arts for Dancers school prepared to go onstage at the Tennessee Theater, which opened to a limited audience after a year of virtual performances.

Shawn Poynter for The New York Times

Poca, W.Va., May 6. Children playing basketball at their home in front of the John Amos coal-fired power plant. President Biden proposed an infrastructure plan that included measures to close such plants.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Washington, May 25. Gianna Floyd, the daughter of George Floyd, whose killing by a police officer in 2020 set off nationwide protests, walked into the West Wing of the White House after her family met with President Biden on the anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Los Angeles, May 17. Newton Nguyen, 22, one of the best-known food stars on TikTok, filmed a point of view shot of his pepperoni pizza creation.

Adam Amengual for The New York Times

Brooklyn, May 1. Krithika Varagur, left in a white dress, hosted a 1950s-inspired dinner party in Brooklyn Heights. New Yorkers slowly became reaccustomed to social activities after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.

Victor Llorente for The New York Times

Cheongju, South Korea, May 2. Golfers played a floodlit round at TGV Country Club. Known as “white night” golf, the nocturnal phenomenon reflects the challenges of nabbing a tee time in the country’s dense cities.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Mekelle, Ethiopia, June 23. Tigrayan rebel forces surveyed the wreckage of a downed Ethiopian Air Force plane as the country’s civil war raged on.

Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Finbarr O’Reilly found that the biggest challenge in covering the conflict in Ethiopia in the northern Tigray region was one of access.

Since the war had started about nine months prior to our visit in June and July, the government of Ethiopia had imposed communications and media blackouts. There was no journalistic way to verify reports of atrocities, mass killings, massacres and widespread sexual violence by Ethiopian and allied Eritrean forces fighting the Tigray and rebel army. But we managed to get in to cover elections and traveled north to Tigray, not expecting to have much more access than journalists had had up to that point, which is very limited. But as it turned out, the war tide was turning in favor of the Tigray. They had inflicted a series of catastrophic losses on the Ethiopian Army. And the Ethiopian Army retreated, pulled back and called the unilateral ceasefire. We could actually go in and confirm at these prisoner of war camps that there were indeed thousands of Ethiopian troops that had been captured, and were being held in the mountains.

Mekelle, Ethiopia, June 27. A woman at a school that was being used to house several thousand of the nearly two million people displaced from their homes since the start of the civil war in Ethiopia.

Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Kamloops, British Columbia, June 19. A line of children’s clothing signifying the children who died at a residential school, one of many where the Canadian government forcibly enrolled at least 150,000 Indigenous children to assimilate them into Western ways.

Amber Bracken for The New York Times

For decades, the Canadian government swept up the children of Indigenous people and put them in residential schools to wipe out their culture. Amber Bracken photographed the aftermath.

The Kamloops community had been doing its own investigation into the location of unmarked graves at residential schools, and had found 215 little persons that had not been accounted for. Those outfits represent the children who died from abuse or neglect when they were in the residential schools. The nation decided to put in these crosses. It was right next to a very busy freeway. It had been gloomy and rainy all day when I was on my way out there. By the time we got to the highway there was a rainbow. The end of the rainbow was in the orchard where the bodies were found. You could feel the rawness of the moment for people who came to pray or offer respects.

Surfside, Fla., June 27. Reading Hebrew psalms near the site where the Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed. Many of the 98 victims of the disaster — one of the deadliest structural failures in U.S. history — were Jewish. 

Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

“This was the third day after the Surfside collapse. The sun was just rising. These women were reading Jewish psalms alongside the barrier near the remains of the building. Throughout the day you would see people crying or dropping off flowers.”

— Scott McIntyre

Upland, Calif., June 3. Students at Encore High School lined up for a photo booth on prom night. The prom season showed that American high school rites of passage were durable, flexible, pandemic-proof.

Maggie Shannon for The New York Times

“I visited four proms across California. I was hoping to work on something joyful, showing communities coming back to life. So many running hugs, where they would run and jump into each other’s arms. I saw people grabbing wallflowers and bringing them onto the dance floor. The joy was infectious.”

— Maggie Shannon

Darby, Montana, June 16. Skating in the Bitterroot Mountains. Jeff Ament, the bass guitarist and a founder of Pearl Jam, is seven years into his mission to bring high-end skateboarding parks to every city and town in Montana that will have one.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Washington, June 19. A joyful scene as residents gathered on Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It took on new significance this year when President Biden designated it a federal holiday.

Kenny Holston for The New York Times

“It was a more celebratory, happy, prideful vibe this year, whereas in 2020 it was more of a heavy protest sort of vibe. I was just trying to do my best to depict that feeling. There was more dancing and smiles and happiness, as opposed to clenched fists and signs.”

— Kenny Holston

Guatemala City, June 6. Kamala Harris on her first foreign trip as vice president. She delivered a blunt message to undocumented migrants hoping to reach the United States: “Do not come.” 

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Eugene, Ore., June 19. Sha’Carri Richardson became a track and field sensation at the U.S. Olympic trials, winning the women’s 100-meter race. But the American sprinter missed the Tokyo Games after testing positive for marijuana.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Fair Bluff, N.C., June 18. This rural town has been repeatedly hit by hurricanes and flooding, but it could not afford to clear its abandoned downtown. Climate shocks are pushing some places to the brink of insolvency.

Mike Belleme for The New York Times

Bella Coola, British Columbia, June 1. A grizzly bear named Arthur was sedated before a helicopter flight back into the wilderness. Researchers are tracking orphan cubs reared in a shelter to see whether they can thrive after “rewilding.”

Alana Paterson for The New York Times

Tehran, June 18. Voters waiting to cast ballots in Iran’s presidential election assembled behind plastic sheeting that was installed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

Jerusalem, June 13. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, approved a new coalition government that ended his long and divisive reign.  

Dan Balilty for The New York Times

Mazatlan, Mexico, June 11. Nearly 100,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, which is plagued by a drug war without end. Families seek clues among the dead, who are a testament to the country’s inability to staunch the bloodshed.

Fred Ramos for The New York Times

Queens, June 30. Counting absentee ballots, which determined the outcome in the Democratic mayoral primary election in New York. The city’s first mayoral contest to be determined by ranked-choice voting was eventually called for Eric Adams.

Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The Bronx, June 25. Tawfiq Congo got a hug at a graduation ceremony at Sheltering Arms Harriet Tubman Early Childhood Education Center, celebrating the end of a school year unlike any other.

Amir Hamja for The New York Times

Magaras, Russia, July 8. Volunteers battled a forest fire in Siberia. The region is usually known for its bone-chilling cold, but recent summer temperatures have reached as high as 100 degrees.

Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

Manhattan, July 7. An onlooker emptied a box of shredded paper from an office building on Broadway during a ticker-tape parade in honor of New York City’s essential workers.

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Brooklyn, July 2. Dancing the night away at a Soul Summit party at Elsewhere in Bushwick. Before the Delta variant of the coronavirus began raising anxieties, New York’s nightlife felt almost normal again.

Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times

“New York City was feeling pretty optimistic about what the summer was going to look like. We wanted to encapsulate this feeling of excitement, about what happens from dusk to dawn. People were dressing so much more colorfully, even compared to prepandemic. Then Delta arrived. It wasn’t the summer we were expecting.”

— Gabriela Bhaskar

Los Angeles, July 14. Protesters gathered outside a courthouse during a conservatorship hearing for the pop star Britney Spears. The singer was seeking an end to her father’s legal control of her life and finances.

Bethany Mollenkof for The New York Times

Herat, Afghanistan, July 12. A passenger in a car awaiting clearance at a security checkpoint. The Taliban would soon seize Herat, the country’s third-largest city.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Tyler Hicks went to Afghanistan when the Taliban were beginning to close in on larger cities but were nowhere close to Kabul.

This photograph was taken at a checkpoint where Afghan police were inspecting vehicles arriving from nearby Taliban controlled villages. As cars were stopped and checked I turned and saw that a family who was fleeing that area was packed into a car with a girl looking out the back window, back toward where they had come from. I could see the concern in her face and to me that’s what stood out about this moment. Although only one person is seen in this photograph, her face says everything about what was soon to come. You can always tell what’s coming by the mood of the population. There was an urgency among the people that was obvious. This is when it became clear to me that there would be no turning back the events that followed.

Heimersheim, Germany, July 18. Volunteers helped clean a mud-covered house after catastrophic floods swamped towns in the Ahr valley.

Lena Mucha for The New York Times

Crow Reservation, Montana, July 19. Susan Birdinground and her grandson, Spencer Scott, sought relief by a fan as an unrelenting heat wave sent temperatures soaring into the 100s.

Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times

“It’s very difficult to take photos of people dealing with the heat. There are these tropes of kids playing in water. I wanted something different. This woman was very kind to let me in during Covid. It was 114 degrees. By the time she knew they needed another air conditioner, there weren’t any.”

— Tailyr Irvine

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 20. Performers at a memorial for President Jovenel Moïse in the garden of the Museum of the Haitian National Pantheon. Mr. Moïse was assassinated in a nighttime raid at his home.

Federico Rios for The New York Times

“You can tell by the faces how powerful the feeling was, how deep they were feeling the murder of their president. That was one of the moments when I felt the sadness of the Haitian people.”

— Federico Rios

Orlando, Fla., July 8. Zaila Avant-garde, 14, made history as the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, correctly spelling the word “Murraya” to clinch the title.

Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Enumclaw, Wash., July 21. Kyle Cunningham, a flight crew member, helped land a hot air balloon. A new program aimed to introduce the aging sport of ballooning to a younger and more diverse class of aeronauts.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

New York, July 22. The singer and songwriter Lorde, who made her third album, “Solar Power,” after a four-year break. “I went back to living my life,” she said of her hiatus.

Justin J Wee for The New York Times

Justin J Wee has been a longtime fan of Lorde. He has a tattoo with the lyrics from her song “Team.”

I was listening to her perform in Sydney when she sang that song. I felt so safe in that space.

And that was the moment that I decided to come out to my family.

This image was made in a studio. I had two big 4-by-8 sheets of plexiglass rigged by crazy stands, and then I collaborated with Sunnie Kim, a florist, to create this meadow. Lorde’s new album, “Solar Power,” is a lot about the sun, about nature. I put a yellow gel on the backlight. She has sound-to-color synesthesia, so when she hears music, she sees color. I wanted Lorde to feel the care we had all put into making this photo together.

I knew I would lose money on this shoot and that’s OK with me. For me to take a photograph of my hero and to be able to do it in exactly the way I wanted to do it is priceless.

Tokyo, July 29. A smattering of spectators braved the heat to watch a quarterfinal in BMX racing, in which riders pump through a rolling track in a frantic 40-second sprint.

Alexandra Garcia/The New York Times

Tokyo, July 17. A view of the new National Stadium from an observatory in the Shibuya district. The 68,000-seat stadium was the main venue for the Olympic Games, but the pandemic kept it largely empty of spectators.

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

“It was special to me because I’m from Tokyo. The streets were filled with people. But at the venue, there were no spectators. It was so quiet. I shot this from a rooftop that is popular with young people. I saw them reflected on the safety glass and thought that might be kind of interesting.”

— Hiroko Masuike

Tokyo, July 27. Simone Biles, the star U.S. gymnast, performed a vault in the team event. She left the competition shortly after, saying she was not mentally prepared to continue.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Tokyo, July 29. Sunisa Lee of the United States performed on the beam in the women’s individual all-around competition. She went on to win gold in the event. 

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Tokyo, July 26. David Tshama Mwenekabwe, a middleweight boxer from the Democratic Republic of Congo, headed to the ring to fight his first ever Olympic bout.

James Hill for The New York Times

Chippewa Falls and Menomonie, Wis., July 8 and 23. Across America, state and county fairs were back after a pandemic hiatus. Left, a boy and his sheep at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, and blue ribbon hay at the Dunn County Fair.

Erinn Springer for The New York Times

“I visited five county fairs in Wisconsin. I love seeing the bond the kids have with their animals, and the livestock auctions are a celebration of their work. The agriculture exhibitions are really interesting because there are these unique, organic crops, all grown by the next generation of farmers.”

— Erin Springer

North Philadelphia, July 28. Gine Ramirez, 36, with her daughter Bonnylin Sapp, 6, who was attending classes in a virtual school. The pandemic set off a kindergarten exodus, with more than one million children failing to enroll in local schools.

Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15. Taliban fighters met little resistance as they entered the capital, effectively sealing control of the country as its president fled and a government backed by the United States collapsed.

Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Jim Huylebroeck had lived in Kabul for seven years. The takeover by the Taliban was the story of a lifetime. There was no way he was leaving.

There were rumors that Kabul would fall. The police and military started laying down their weapons. The president had fled. We went to the west of Kabul where the Taliban were pushing in, and when we arrived there were crowds of people lining the streets, cheering them on. Seeing that kind of support in the capital was just really something. We jumped back in the car with our driver and then we saw this Humvee, which is an icon of the war. It is America. And there is the Taliban sitting on top. I’m like, “Stop the car, I need to get this frame.” I jump in front of this Humvee, which is stuck in traffic like everyone else. I shoot a photo. By this time, I had gotten the confidence that it was OK, that the Taliban wanted Western journalists to continue doing their jobs.

Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15. As the Taliban returned to power, Afghans desperate to escape waited for one of the last commercial flights out of the country. Ultimately, more than 123,000 people were evacuated during a monthslong operation.

Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 22. With the U.S. withdrawal deadline looming, mayhem persisted outside the Kabul airport as American Marines stood guard. Even some Afghans holding special immigrant visas were turned away to give priority to U.S. citizens.

Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Victims of a suicide bombing outside the airport in the waning days of the evacuation. An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed 13 U.S. service members and scores of civilians.

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Dover Air Force Base, Del., Aug. 29. President Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III witnessing the transfer of the remains of the 13 service members killed during the attack. 

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20. Before the city fell, Khalil Haqqani appeared at a mosque to help establish Taliban authority. When the Taliban declared a caretaker government, they appointed many loyalists, including Mr. Haqqani, from their rule in the 1990s.

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

“This was the first Friday prayers after the Taliban takeover, in Kabul. At the end, Khalil Haqqani stood up and gave a speech. It was totally surreal; the guy carried a $5 million bounty on his head. But there he was, cradling his American-made rifle, celebrating the Taliban victory. The war was over.”

— Victor Blue

Houston, Aug. 24. Brishna Yousafzi, center, with her brothers Huzzaif, left, and Murtaza at their new apartment in Houston. Their father’s work in Afghanistan as an interpreter for the U.S. military had imperiled his family of nine.

Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Meyers, Calif., Aug. 30. Crews near Lake Tahoe battled the raging Caldor fire, which devoured over 220,000 acres and destroyed more than 600 homes in the state. 

Max Whittaker for The New York Times

Max Whittaker lives close to where the Caldor fire began. He had to suddenly evacuate his family and then come back to cover the fire.

I’ve covered wildfires in California for 20 years. I’m totally equipped. I’m dressed like a firefighter; I wear all the same safety equipment. These fires are fast-moving and hard to keep a handle on. This was the second time the Caldor fire exploded, and at that particular time it was defying all expert predictions. The first time it blew up was when we evacuated, and then it slowed down and appeared to be beginning to get under control. But unfortunately the winds picked up, and it moved to terrain that funneled it toward Lake Tahoe. This firefighter is monitoring the house to make sure it does not burn and is keeping a defensible perimeter around it.

Echo Summit, Calif., Aug. 30. Glen Haydon, a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, in his truck after it was damaged in the Caldor fire. Wildfires occur every year in the West, but climate change is affecting their intensity.

Max Whittaker for The New York Times

New Orleans, Aug. 18. Sarah Bourgeois, a nurse at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, tended to a 2-month-old Covid patient on a ventilator. The crush of cases grew so dire that the state called in a federal “surge team” to help.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Portland, Ore., Aug. 12. Michael Silva, a firefighter, helped a homeless woman named Mary with ice packs and water as a heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to the city.

Tojo Andrianarivo for The New York Times

Marrero, La., Aug. 30. Floodwaters surrounded a statue of Jesus at St. Pius Church in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which came ashore as a Category 4 storm, causing widespread power failures and killing at least 26 people in the state.

Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

Toirac, Haiti, Aug. 17. The remains of a church where at least 20 people died when the building collapsed in a magnitude-7.2 earthquake. More than 2,200 people were killed and 12,000 injured in the quake.

Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

“Working in Haiti can be hard and complicated during the best of times. This time there was an earthquake and a tropical storm. This used to be a church. People had gathered there to celebrate the life of someone who had passed. Chairs, hats and bits of clothing were scattered throughout the grounds.”

— Adriana Zehbrauskas

Les Cayes, Haiti, Aug 19. Rosedana Innocent with her cousin Wildane Muse at a tent camp for displaced people set up at a soccer field in Les Cayes, one of the cities on Haiti’s southern peninsula worst hit by the quake.

Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Yosemite National Park, Calif., Aug. 16. Shelton Johnson played an Indigenous flute in front of Sentinel Rock. One of Mr. Johnson’s duties as a park ranger is to tell the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, Black U.S. Cavalry men who protected Yosemite at the turn of the 20th century.

Chanell Stone for The New York Times

Orleans, Mass., Aug. 20. Swimmers remained oblivious as a white shark patrolled Nauset Beach. The waters around Cape Cod have become host to one of the densest seasonal concentrations of adult white sharks in the world.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

“This photograph was taken with a drone, which offered the best perspective of how close the human population was to white sharks on Cape Cod. It was nerve-racking to watch a shark swim so close to people and not have the ability to let them know.”

— Tyler Hicks

Silverthorne, Colo., Aug. 20. A herd of goats owned by Lani Malmberg, a provider of fire mitigation services, leaped into action at a new pasture. Their job: to eat enough vegetation to prevent the spread of future blazes.

Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

New York, Aug. 10. The Empire State Building cast a shadow over Midtown Manhattan. The skyscraper, long a symbol of the city’s resilience, saw its attractions, shops and offices dwindle in the coronavirus pandemic.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Tan-Awan, Philippines, Sept. 30. A fisherman fed whale sharks in Tan-Awan, a small town in Cebu. Hand-feeding keeps the gentle giants around for the benefit of tourists, a practice denounced by conservationists.

Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times

Hannah Morales did her first underwater shoot to capture images of the whale sharks that come every day at dawn for shrimp.

The small town of Tan-Awan, in Cebu, built what became the largest non-captive whale shark tourism interaction in the world. Fishermen from the town lure the whale sharks by feeding them shrimp. This guarantees a wildlife encounter for tourists, who over the last 10 years have brought money, jobs and industry to the town. Because of the whale sharks, there is now a high school in the town. I met a fisherman who was finally able to build himself a concrete house instead of one made of straw. But conservationists warn that the feeding alters the natural behavior of this endangered species. When the pandemic ended the presence of tourists, the town went into debt so it could continue feeding the whale sharks. Losing them would mean the money would never come back.

Manhattan, Sept. 2. An enthusiastic — and masked — audience applauded the return of the musical “Hadestown” at the Walter Kerr Theater, 18 months after the pandemic shut all of Broadway’s 41 theaters.

Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

Austin, Texas, Sept. 1. Protesters joined an abortion rights rally at the Texas State Capitol after the Supreme Court refused to block a state law prohibiting most abortions after six weeks.

Montinique Monroe for The New York Times

Millburn, N.J., Sept. 2. Wedding dresses were left covered in mud at HighLine Fashion, one of several businesses ravaged in flash floods after the remnants of Hurricane Ida struck the region, killing at least 43 people.

Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

New York, Sept. 24. “I’m more interested in directing because I’m more interested in helping others,” said Denzel Washington, who directed “A Journal for Jordan” and plays the titular role in Joel Coen’s noir “Macbeth.”

Dana Scruggs for The New York Times

Queens, Sept. 11. Emma Raducanu, the British tennis phenom, won the women’s singles final at the U.S. Open, defeating Leylah Fernandez of Canada in straight sets.

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

“After the photo op with the winner and the trophy, I hung out a little longer. I was following her and someone said, “Let me have your cup!” And she said, “No!” She grabbed it like it was a little baby. That’s why I call myself a moment thief. You’ve got to wait and grab it.”

— Michelle V. Agins

Manhattan, Sept. 13. Ella Emhoff, center, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, chose a red creation by Stella McCartney for Adidas for her first Met Gala appearance.

Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

Manhattan, Sept. 11. Firefighters paused to remember those lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Moments of silence and remembrances were held across the nation to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

From the project “9/11 Survivors Are Still Getting Sick Decades Later Carrie Benedict Foley, left, whose husband, Daniel, died in 2020 at 46 from pancreatic cancer; and Barbara Burnette, 58, who learned she had lung cancer in 2017.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Hilary Swift’s brother is a firefighter in New York and he had friends who had died from 9/11-related illnesses. She wanted to know more.

I brought up this idea of doing a portrait project and ended up photographing 23 people.

I was 8 years old when 9/11 happened. Even though I wasn’t there, it shaped my life. It shaped our entire generation’s life. The fact that people are still getting sick from this is really scary. The war is still going on for them. The attack on the country is still a part of their everyday lives. I thought it was important to talk about that and to highlight the struggles that these people face every day. It was hard. It was very sad. There are a lot of bitter feelings and a lot of angry feelings. The E.P.A. told people it was safe to be down there when it was really not safe to be down there. But they were also so kind to me. The people who are sick don’t want to be forgotten.

Colorado Springs, Sept. 12. Members of the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, headed to the airport to deploy to Iraq on a nine-month tour of duty.

Michael Ciaglo for The New York Times

Jerusalem, Sept. 3. The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine at  Temple Mount, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims. In a shift, Israel has allowed increasing numbers of Jews to pray there, potentially stoking conflict.

Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Brooklyn, Sept. 14. Dasani Coates, 20, spent much of her life living with her parents and seven siblings in homeless shelters. In 2021, she reached a milestone: She started classes at LaGuardia Community College.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Dasani was 11 and her family’s housing situation was precarious when Ruth Fremson first photographed her.

She was 20 when we met again to take these photos. I hadn’t told her to wear lavender. I didn’t know her hair was going to be blonde. Yellow and purple are complementary colors. The color was perfect. She always had a beautiful face. So alive. So many expressions play out on her face. We spent the bulk of an afternoon walking around Brooklyn together coming up with a portrait that felt right to both of us. What struck me was that she had her mother’s and her sisters’ names tattooed on her arm and her chest. That’s what Dasani is all about. I look at her and see the power of family. The strength of family ties is remarkable. That is something that stood out a long, long time ago.

Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 19. Migrants were chased by a Border Patrol agent on horseback as they tried to cross the Rio Grande. Thousands of Haitians migrants arrived at the border in hope of claiming asylum in the United States.

Paul Ratje/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Potosí, Bolivia, Sept. 6. Men mined for zinc, lead and silver high on Cerro Rico, ominously known as “the mountain that eats men.” Rich in raw materials, Bolivia is now drawing interest from the green energy sector.

Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Paris, Sept. 15. Workers rolled out silvery fabric on the Arc de Triomphe for the installation of “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,” a piece envisioned by the artist known as Christo that came to fruition a year after his death.

Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

Brooklyn, Sept. 24. Portraits from Bushwig, New York’s annual drag weekend extravaganza. Clockwise from top left: Jasmine Rice LaBeija; Arthur Bramhandtam; Sherry Poppins, left, and Qhrist Almighty; and Patsy InDecline.

Camila Falquez for The New York Times

“I honestly felt I was in my dream Met Gala every time I was in front of one of these magical alien beings. I showed up with four backgrounds I had painted myself the weekend before and had a whole stage outside. I like taking things outside of their context.”

— Camila Falquez

Delta, British Columbia, Sept. 25. Shore birds on the tidal flats near the proposed site of a new container terminal. Members of the Lummi Nation and other Native groups in the area fear the project could pose a serious threat to their fishing waters.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

La Palma, Canary Islands, Oct. 30. A house peeked through an ash-covered landscape more than a month after the Cumbre Vieja volcano first erupted, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Baghdad, Oct. 10. A demonstration in Tahrir Square to commemorate activists killed by security forces and militias. An estimated 600 activists were killed during protests that began in 2019 to demand jobs and basic public services.

Andrea DiCenzo for The New York Times

Dhiam Dhiam, South Sudan, Oct. 21. Amour Abach, 16, wore a mask at a school housing children displaced in floods. With much of the country under water, coronavirus safety measures and vaccines were a tough sell.

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

“I was traveling with UNICEF through this very flooded area of South Sudan. It was the first time people had been given masks and they were trying them on. There is so much flooding, malaria, hunger. Covid is not first and foremost on peoples’ minds.”

— Lynsey Addario

Paliau, South Sudan, Oct. 26. Jok Atem Deng, 31, struggled with a bout of malaria in Paliau, one of dozens of flooded villages across Jonglei state. The floods destroyed crops and livestock, worsening hunger and spreading disease.

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Franklin, Tenn., Oct. 21. A life-size bronze statue depicting a soldier from the U.S. Colored Troops was placed in Franklin’s main square, a historical counterpoint to a nearby statue of a Confederate soldier.

Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

When the new statue went up, Sarahbeth Maney could feel the bond among those who showed up, and its importance for the community.

Franklin has a deep-rooted history of racism and there’s so much history from the Civil War in Tennessee. To see both sides of that history displayed that day was special. The crowd was also diverse, which was surprising to see – the different age groups and backgrounds of the people that showed up that day to show their support for the Black community. I had just recently moved to Virginia from the Bay Area, and I felt that, walking through Franklin, I was absorbing so much Civil War history. I wasn’t used to that in California. That was a different experience for me, especially as a mixed-race Black woman. The statue was erected in front of a building where enslaved people were auctioned, so in a way it was a moment of rewriting, reclaiming and rebuilding that history, which was powerful. I think it serves as a metaphor for something bigger.

Washington, Oct. 27. Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, both Democrats, traded ideas in the Capitol basement as lawmakers hashed out a social policy and climate plan.

Al Drago for The New York Times

Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 2. A couple at a pool party during Dinah Shore Weekend, an annual festival for queer women that made a triumphant return to Palm Springs after a two-year hiatus.

Michelle Groskopf for The New York Times

“Dinah Shore Weekend is a yearly queer women’s festival. I had a great time sneaking around and taking photos and trying not to disturb or make people feel uncomfortable. I thought these two looked so gorgeous. They gave me a fierce, powerful glance and for a moment we connected.”

— Michelle Groskopf

Manhattan, Oct. 21. Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for mayor of New York, spoke at the opening of the Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck in Midtown.

Andrew Seng for The New York Times

Manassas, Va., Oct. 30. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate in the race for governor of Virginia, met with supporters on the final weekend of campaigning before Election Day.

Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Churchill, Manitoba, Oct. 29. One of the several hundred polar bears that congregate around Churchill each year, waiting for sea ice to form in order to hunt. As the ice forms later in the year and melts earlier because of climate change, the bears’ hunting season has dwindled.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Damon Winter watched the polar bears waiting for the sea to freeze so they could hunt seals on the ice.

The warmer it gets, the longer they wait for the ice. Every day they wait, they lose body mass. If the freeze happens too late, the first-year cubs can starve to death because there are not enough nutrients on shore. If they’re off the ice for a certain number of days, it’s really detrimental.

The whole story is really sad, knowing the fate that awaits them in the years to come. The writing is on the wall for them. And for this way of life. They’ll have to keep pushing farther and farther north. I was photographing this from a rented pickup truck. You can’t get out and walk because polar bears could be behind a rock. You could get attacked. You don’t get a full sense of how large and powerful and intimidating these creatures can be. They look so soft and fluffy.

Churchill, Manitoba, Oct. 31. Jasper Hunter, 10, ventured out on Halloween evening. Polar bear attacks are a real danger, so townspeople drive behind trick-or-treaters to protect them.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Bruzgi, Belarus, Nov. 16. Migrants desperate to reach the European Union camped in squalor near the Poland-Belarus border. They were caught in a standoff between Belarus, which encouraged migrants to come, and Poland, which fought to keep them out.

James Hill for The New York Times

James Hill went to a border in Belarus where migrants hoped to get into the European Union.

That day the migrants had tried to force their way across the border into Poland. They threw stones and sticks and put big pieces of wood over the razor wire. They were hosed down by water cannons from the Polish side. In the hours afterward, they made camp by the border, getting firewood and setting all these fires. It was like a scene from the cinema, but of course it was very real. It was a very bruising day. You see the weariness of losing this battle. People from all over the world are trying to get into Europe and they’re taking different routes. With so many migrants trying to get in, there are always people looking to profit. Many of the migrants said that they had spent more than $5,000. It’s a dramatic human story but it’s also one of big business and geopolitics.

Washington, Nov. 15. President Biden signed into law a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill to invest in the country’s transportation and energy systems, which he said would better position America to compete against China and other nations.

Al Drago for The New York Times

Kinney County, Texas, Nov. 17. A group of migrants after being apprehended by officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Ranchers signed up with the department to allow the state police to patrol their properties and arrest people for trespassing.

Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Brunswick, Ga., Nov. 24. Wanda Cooper-Jones leaving the courthouse after a jury found three white men guilty in the murder of her son Ahmaud Arbery, whose killing helped inspire racial justice protests last year.

Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Manhattan, Nov. 2. Health care providers mobilized nationally for a fresh wave of Covid inoculations, featuring smaller shots in smaller arms, as children ages 5 to 11, like Otto Linn-Walton, became eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

James Estrin/The New York Times

Brooklyn, Nov. 7. Runners in Bay Ridge during the New York City Marathon. The race, canceled in 2020, returned for its 50th running with fanfare and optimism, serving as a metaphor for the city’s recovery.

Amr Alfiky for The New York Times

Amr Alfiky was asked to shoot the New York City marathon in the Bay Ridge neighborhood.

I was stoked. I hang out in Bay Ridge a lot. There is a big Arab community. People look familiar. Sometimes I get tired of speaking English all the time. I was looking for a place to shoot, a restaurant or coffee shop, and I found this place. I was searching for the right place because I wanted to show human interaction. After I took the essential photos, I went back and the owner and a bunch of friends were outside cheering and chanting and smoking hookah.The first two waves had just passed. There’s a little bit of symmetry and human interaction. That was so New York. So Bay Ridge. So Brooklyn.

The Bronx, Nov. 2. A voter cast a ballot in New York City’s mayoral election. The Democratic candidate, Eric Adams, won handily, but his party was left reeling from startling losses statewide.

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Riverside, Calif., Nov. 12. The football team at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, dominated their opponents to become championship contenders in their division, electrifying a campus that had seen more than a few athletic defeats.

Adam Perez for The New York Times

Oxford, Mich., Nov. 30. Students during a vigil after a gunman shot 11 people at Oxford High School, killing four students. A 15-year-old boy was charged in the attack, and so were his parents, who bought him his gun.

Nick Hagen for The New York Times

Roxbury, Conn., Nov. 21. Stephen Sondheim, the driving force behind some of Broadway’s most beloved shows, at home a few days before he died at 91. He was the theater’s most influential composer-lyricist of the second half of the 20th century.

Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

“I photographed him in a big chair in a room that was like an auxiliary living room. I wanted something intimate, with him leaning back or lying down, because you’re vulnerable in that position. It feels personal.”

— Daniel Dorsa

Manhattan, Nov. 28. Tributes celebrating the life of Stephen Sondheim poured in after the death of the revered songwriter. Broadway actors performed “Sunday,” from “Sunday in the Park With George,” in Times Square.

Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Flathead Reservation, Mont., Nov. 25. Michael Irvine hunts with his son Michael and grandson Andrew. The Irvines, members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, hunt each year on Thanksgiving and meet for a meal, but do not celebrate the history of the holiday.

Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times

“Every Thanksgiving my family goes for a hunt. That’s my father, my brother and my nephew. We were hunting for white-tailed bucks on the Flathead Reservation where I grew up. We are Salish and Kootenai. We’re not gathering because of the pilgrims. We’re gathering in spite of them.”

— Tailyr Irvine

Manhattan, Nov. 25. Tamona Skinner, 5, at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which returned with all its helium-filled pomp and corporate-branded holiday cheer. Last year, the event was downsized drastically and had no spectators.

Anna Watts for The New York Times

Hondzonot, Mexico, Nov. 13. The Little Devils softball team, or Las Diablillas, a group of Indigenous women who play barefoot and wear traditional Mayan dresses, have helped upend sports culture in the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Marian Carrasquero for The New York Times

Manhattan, Nov. 18. After the United States reopened its borders on Nov. 8 to vaccinated foreign travelers for the first time in 18 months, international tourists began trickling back to New York, including to Times Square. 

Gabby Jones for The New York Times

Dawson Springs, Ky., Dec. 13. A storm system that spawned multiple tornadoes, including one that flattened most of this small town, killed dozens of people across five states and left a deep scar of devastation.

William Widmer for The New York Times

Avdiivka, Ukraine, Dec. 1. Members of the Ukrainian military’s 25th Airborne Brigade on the front lines. After eight years in the trenches,  soldiers were resigned to the possibility that the Russian military, which dwarfs their own in power and wealth, would soon come.

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 4. Children flew homemade kites on a hillside graveyard. The first Taliban government had banned kite flying, and Afghans feared that the pastime and other activities would be outlawed again.

David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

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