This photo essay by Gabriel Sanchez takes a playful look back at some of the ways in which gender roles were bent at the turn of the century, before it was common to see women in slacks and men in the kitchen. Fittingly, the edit acknowledges the range of reasons that one would switch roles, from the theatrical to economic, political, or far more personal reasons.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
The circus isn’t just a spectacle of entertainment for 23-year-old Johanna-Maria Fritz, it’s a way of bringing people together. At age 17, Fritz began her journey traveling the world to document the devotion shared among the circus community. With these photographs, taken in Iceland, Fritz documents the commitment these individuals share in order to support themselves. The performance becomes intimate, a show of just how dynamically powerful the human body can be.
—Jade Cardichon, photo intern, BuzzFeed News
Daniel Adams showcases racism through a series of conceptual photographs that aim to debunk stereotypes and recognize the experiences that these individuals have faced. The use of props, lighting, and color are incredibly striking and help display each individual's specific story.
As 19th-century photographers set out for the American West in search of its innate beauty and unspoiled landscapes, the work of artists and photographers to the east of the Mississippi reveal a notably less romantic, but equally stunning, perspective of America. Here, Hyperallergic profiles a new exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, East of the Mississippi, and examines the relationship between the America's East and West through a collection of daguerreotypes, albumen prints, cyanotypes, and a number of other early photographic processes. Both history buffs and art lovers will find this one an absolute joy.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
What a super cool photo series on the chill lifestyle that Bali is known for! Sarah Brownlow captured the true essence of the island’s skateboarding subculture. The undersaturated tones in her photos make the place even more inviting. It also fits in well with her story, on how as the outsider living on foreign soil she eventually embraced and was embraced wholeheartedly by these skateboarders.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
Dear World took the opportunity, one year later, to showcase some of the harrowing encounters of the family, survivors, and responders of the Pulse nightclub massacre. To say these stories are heartbreaking is an understatement — the stark horror of the experiences that night shed a strong light on the resilience of every person touched by the tragedy. The accounts range from witnesses living with survivor’s guilt to a mother recounting the split second her son was here and then gone. The importance of sharing and remembering these narratives is paramount right now as we celebrate LGBT Pride Month, and these portraits are a powerful display of the resounding strength some were forced to call upon.
—Brandon O'Dell, video support specialist, BuzzFeed
Cassi Alexandra’s portrait series captures the rawness of grief that radiated through Orlando after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Some of her subjects were directly affected that night; others only had a personal connection to the nightclub or the community. By showing both, Alexandra highlights the unity that arose from the tragedy without overselling the idea.
I grew up in a country where the city traffic is dotted with “moving art” similar to these trucks in Pakistan, and I tell you, their presence adds a lot of color (not just literally) in an otherwise drab urban scene. Whether or not you think these Pakistani truck owners are actually creating art, there’s no doubt they spend a remarkable amount of time pouring their creative juices into something they can be proud of. And even better, people notice them…which is more than other artists can say for their work.
Michael Santiago’s series on his father is a moving elegy to the man — and a reminder of how powerful personal projects can be. Santiago didn’t start out with a project in mind, seeking instead to connect to his family while he attended school in another state. By focusing on connection over story, the resulting images are beautifully revealing and intimate.
Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and beautiful pictures from the past week.