8 Visual Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

Here are some of the most interesting and powerful photo stories from across the web.

"28 WTF Pictures From Vladimir Putin's Crazy Life" —BuzzFeed News

Who knows what the exact relationship is between Putin and Trump? (Are they dating? Just friends? Frenemies?) The point is, Putin remains to be a fascinating figure in history and it's understandable that one would need to hang out with him a few times to get a grasp on such a complex character. These pictures feel like a roundup of the greatest hits of the Russian president, from the funny to the WTF.

—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News

"How One Woman Used Her Camera To Defy A Dictatorship" —Dazed

This piece narrates the stories behind Paz Errazuriz’s extensive body of work that made her one of the most influential photographers in Chile. As many photojournalists gravitated towards bloodshed and violence during the Augusto Pinochet years, Errazuriz’s work became even more distinct. Her approach is a deep dive into what makes one human in the face of struggle. By documenting those on the periphery of society — showing everyday people rather than military pursuits — her photography is not merely a historical record, but one that resonates with the generations of people that came after.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

"Phuket Celebrates Vegetarian Festival With Blood, Swords, And Spirits" —Coconuts Bangkok

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a vibrant nine-day commitment that celebrates the Chinese belief that abstinence from meat will help one obtain an overall well-being both mentally and physically. Photographer Guy Houben captures the dedication shared among these participants through the act of piercing their own body to invite gods to enter their body.

—Jade Cardichon, photo intern, BuzzFeed News

"Over 100 Years Later, Photographer Alice Austen Is Finally Being Recognized As An LGBTQ Icon" —Artsy

Alice Austen was a pioneer of photojournalism, not only through her tremendous archive of over 8,000 photographs that she left behind, but in her utter disregard to the patriarchal boundaries placed upon working woman in the 19th century. Still, many aspects of Austen's personal identity have been excluded from her legacy, including her sexuality and relationship with a close female friend, Gertrude Tate. As Artsy reports here, this too is changing.

—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News

"On Tour’s Mountain Roads, Beer, Baguettes and, Briefly, Bikes" —the New York Times

I love this behind-the-scenes look at the culture around the Tour de France, despite the fact that I know literally nothing about cycling. Pete Kiehart’s work makes you feel like you’re a part of the forest revelry, and it’s hard not to be charmed by the personality of the partygoers.

—K.B.

"Hopes And Expectations: The Journey Of A Fake Girlfriend" —Reuters

As fascinating as the partner-for-rent story is, I am even more intrigued by how the photographer felt following the story of this couple. In a way, Muyi Xiao is part of their story. She was there when they traveled home, when they signed the contract, when they established boundaries. She even got to meet the mother! How the mother didn’t suspect anything of the set-up is a curious one. I guess in the end, it didn’t really matter. It’s a story that may seem bizarre to everyone else but is growing in prominence in conservative places like China, making it worth telling.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

"What Happened to Ukraine’s 5,500 Lenin Statues?" —the New York Times

To a certain degree, a ruling party is only as strong as its symbols of power. In 1991, there were over 5,500 statues of Soviet theorist and politician Vladimir Lenin across all of Ukraine. Today, there are virtually none standing. In this fascinating profile by the New York Times on the work of photographer Niels Ackermann, we journey across Ukraine in search of the nation's past, present, and future.

—G.H.S.


"23 Of The Most Powerful Photos Of This Week" —BuzzFeed News

Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and breathtaking pictures from the past week.