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11 Incredible Photo Stories You Absolutely Can’t Miss

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

Posted on April 7, 2017, at 5:47 p.m. ET

1. "The Photos Coming Out of Syria After a Suspected Chemical Attack Are Horrifying" — BuzzFeed News

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Kate Bubacz's roundup of images from the recent suspected chemical attack on Syrian civilians is difficult to view, but it's a must. The tremendous amount of pain, death, and suffering of these people, many of whom are infants and children, is on view right here in plain sight. Have a look at these images and ruminate on what you've seen.

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

2. "Above Canada and Greenland With NASA's Operation IceBridge" — Atlantic

Mario Tama / Getty

Mario Tama’s images from Canada and Greenland are mesmerizing expanses of blue and white, capturing the remoteness of the north. The only humans seen in the images are in aircraft or research stations, as far removed from the landscape as astronauts in space. The Atlantic edit allows the viewer the luxury of seeing without narrating too much, so that one feels a sense of wonder at the unknown.

—Kate Bubacz, senior photo editor, BuzzFeed News

3. "For 30 Years, a Son Chronicled His Mom’s Heartbreaking Struggle With Cigarettes" — Huffington Post

James Friedman

James Friedman’s work in the Huffington Post is a moving elegy to his late mother. The photos showing her life and eventual death from cigarettes are unflinching in both love and warning. The series shifts from glamour shots of her youth to images of her ill in the hospital without regard for chronology, allowing a greater understanding of Dorothy and of her relationship with her son.


4. "These Shockingly Beautiful Birth Photos Were Named the Best for 2017" — BuzzFeed

Katie Mathis / Elizabeth Farnsworth / Kourtnie Scholz / Cat Fancote

Childbirth can be pretty damn messy. BuzzFeed's parents editor Mike Spohr highlights the most beautiful birth pictures of 2017 that celebrate the miracle of childbirth and prove once again that women are the strongest organisms on planet Earth (as if we needed proof).


5. "These Photos Show What It’s Like Being a Child Bride in the Country of Georgia" — Washington Post

Myriam Meloni

As you scroll from portrait to portrait in Myriam Meloni's collection of Georgian child brides, you can't help but wonder at the thoughts behind their wistful expressions. In a country like ours, where feminism has a stronghold, it's jarring to see such young girls entering into matrimony and motherhood before they've even graduated high school. Do they have dreams that don't involve being at the service of others? If they do, is there any recourse for such aspirations? One of the most striking images shows the child of a child bride hiding her face in a blanket as if to escape the reality that may be her own in 12 years' time.

—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

6. "Rare Captures of the Wildlife With Which We Share Our Cities" — Feature Shoot

Laurent Geslin

The first photo alone is enough to hook you to this series: WHY is there a bear by the dumpster?! It’s bizarre to me personally since we don’t have native bears in Australia. But what’s really intriguing about Laurent Geslin’s “Urban Wildlife” project is that not a lot of us are conscious that we share our cities with animals that aren’t pets or in zoos. Just like some human beings, these wildlife are native-born and raised in the urban landscape. And I just love how Geslin photographed these dwellers the same way he’d treat an animal in, say, a safari.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

Antonio Faccilongo
Antonio Faccilongo

Photographer Antonio Faccilongo’s photos border on claustrophobic. He spent time chronicling individuals who either reside or hang out in old atomic shelters under Beijing. For residents, these bunkers are a fraction of the price of traditional real estate, making them an attractive option for lower-income workers. It's estimated that a million people live in these spaces, and Antonio's images show the cross-section of people who frequent these austere, often dilapidated habitats: a college girl in a trendy camel-colored coat, beret, and manicured nails; a real-estate agent in a full suit playing pool with work buddies; a 3-year old child who calls the shelter home; and a student at work in a subterranean school.


8. "Evidence of Strained Ties on China–North Korea Border" — Reuters

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

We’ve seen the photos of soldiers eyeballing each other at the Demilitarized Zone of the Koreas so, so many times that we forget the hermit kingdom shares a border with another country. These photos show how the Chinese border looks and how different it is from South Korea’s. It’s fascinating (and saddening) to see a city that once had a glimmer of potential and how political breakdowns can get in the way of these plans. Unfortunately for North Korea, everything, even an ordinary citizen’s life, all boils down to politics.


9. "From Slavery to Freedom: Revealing the Underground Railroad" — New York Times

Jeanine Michna-Bales

Jeanine Michna-Bales' work in the New York Times brings to life the Underground Railroad in a way that is evocative and complex. The landscapes feel weighted with emotion as they are seen in series rather than as individual images, the progression from the South to the North subtly noticed in shifts in geographical elements.


10. "Surviving Sexual Assault in India" — Time

Smita Sharma

Time's coverage of Smita Sharma's photo essay "It's Not My Shame" forces the viewer to engage with the crisis that is India's rape and victim-blaming culture. Smita delicately photographs rape survivors. She's careful to keep them semi-obscured, often in darkness, which preserves their anonymity but also metaphorically hints at the pall of their violent encounters. There are also photographs of mothers whose daughters did not survive. Their rapes and murders were brutal. The details are laid bare next to each portrait without any effort to advise viewer discretion. When detailing the systematic violation of human rights one should never be discreet.


11. "23 of the Most Powerful Photos of This Week" — BuzzFeed News

Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

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

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.