Best of the Web: The best of the best from 2013
noun (plural selfies)
• a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website
Last year, Oxford Dictionaries named “selfie” as the international word of the year. To me this is a reflection of the digital culture we are living in. Everyday more screens bombard us with a seemingly endless stream of images. The estimates vary but millions of photographs are shared and uploaded to the Internet everyday. Cameras have become ubiquitous. They are in our computers, our toys, our phones. There is a growing iPhoneography movement. Time magazine even named David Guttenfelder as its Instagram photographer of the year. Now, more than ever, photography is accessible to everyone. A photograph has the magic of encapsulating an entire theme or story or idea in a single frame, and of all the photographs taken last year, these year-end galleries represent the cream of the crop, the best of the best.
The Los Angeles Times’ Year in Pictures gallery shows life in the Southland through the eyes of L.A. Times staff photographers. Focusing on subjects as varied as a lone Cypress overlooking the Pacific and stars speckling the desert sky, not to mention the landscapes, lives and stories of the famous and the infamous, Times photographers brought their unique perspective to reveal a Los Angeles that is diverse, vibrant and often beautiful.
The year-end galleries focusing on the national and international scene paint a picture of a mostly turbulent year. Often the common thread was imagery of conflict and disasters, both natural and man-made. Many of the year-end galleries were made up of staff photographers, contractors and wire photographers, the differences in the galleries showing the sensibilities of each publication.
The New York Times’ year-end gallery is a selection of staff and wire photographs that trace out the events of 2013 in monthly segments. One of the most striking images from the selection is Reuters photographer Hamid Khatib’s image of a 10-year-old boy carrying a mortar in the weapons factory where he works.
The Wall Street Journal’s year-end gallery takes a different approach. The much-larger gallery can be searched by category, date, region and viewer rating.
For the New Yorker’s year-end gallery, Photo Editor Elissa Curtis asked photographers to pick an image and explain why that photograph moved them. The New Yorker gallery and Time magazine’s top 10 photo gallery both chose Taslima Akhter’s incredibly sad and beautiful image that shows a couple’s final embrace after being buried in a garment factory collapse near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Time magazine’s selection of 2013’s best photos are accompanied by extensive captions that expand on the events that led up to the image.
As an added bonus, here are a couple year-end galleries outside the realm of photojournalism.
National Geographic’s 2013 year in review shows the best images from National Geographic, covering a wide range of topics, including space.
Red Bull sponsors athletes who test their limits. The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2013 pushes the boundaries of adventure sports photography.
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