The social responsibility of photography is to give a voice to the voiceless, shed light on issues we wouldn't otherwise see, and preserve a visual account of historical happenings with the added intent of preventing certain events from repeating themselves. These photos taken after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fulfilled the first two responsibilities, but after a week fraught with dangerous rhetoric from both sides of the US–North Korea dispute, many are wondering if history as horrific as this may indeed repeat itself. These images provide the viewer with an account of the devastation of such a weapon, both on the individuals unlucky enough to be in either the blast or radiation zones and civilization itself. One can only hope these images are seen and burned into the minds of those with the power, lest our countries be reduced to shadows like the one that was etched on the steps to a bank in Hiroshima.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
As we stare down the renewed prospect of nuclear winter, it feels like an apropos time to consider the maxim that history is dictated by the winner. This short essay looks at some of the more bizarre ways that warfare has been commemorated (on all different sides of conflict). Some of the exhibits appear to be quite sensational about the events that occurred, while others are essentially display cases.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Whether it's true or not that President Donald Trump thinks our nation's White House is "a real dump," it's my hope that these renovations mean a more comfortable president, which perhaps may lead to a more well-rested commander in chief — which in turn could possibly mean fewer nonsensical early morning tweets. This is really a win-win for America. In the meantime, seeing the Oval Office in this state of emptiness is absolutely fascinating — take a look.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
In this essay, photographer Jim Jocoy captures San Francisco’s punk subculture from 1977 to 1980. Jocoy’s second published book, Order of Appearance, politicized the emerging punk scene that is often viewed as a mere footnote compared to its neighboring scenes. Through bold color that fills the frame with added cinematic styling, Jocoy’s images are play on intimacy, vulnerability, and rawness, depicting those fleeting moments of youth culture.
—Jade Cardichon, photo intern, BuzzFeed News
The ladies' room is a world unto itself, and I am so happy that Maxi has so steadfastly captured the camaraderie, the primping, and the posturing that happens behind closed doors. The series, which has a cinematic feel as each frame feels like a tantalizingly incomplete scene, showcases the range of facilities and functions that the ladies' room encompasses.
It’s not as if it’s so earth-shattering to see manual labor in Chinese factories, but the detail that piqued my curiosity here are Disney plush toys. You know when they say, “This is where the magic happens,” and what comes to mind is a Willy Wonka–esque factory with gigantic, colorful machineries and workers on uppers? When something says “Made in China,” the machines are actual human beings that stuff fluff all day — they can’t be farting rainbows from dawn to dusk. To these workers, creating what is a source of other people’s happiness is to them their means of living.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
Time’s photo essay on the long-simmering protests and devolution of democracy in Venezuela is striking in its attention to the details in between the violence — the bystanders and ephemera of desperation is more the focus than the clashes between protesters and police. You can feel the increasing sense of precariousness in how those on the edges of the opposition are being forced more strongly into the fray.
These days, the conversation around organized religion has shifted from age-old doctrine to the impact of its teachings outside the church walls. It’s for this reason that Michael Wickham’s project, The Devoted, stands out. He photographed religious leaders from different faiths and stripped their churches of their present-day reputation. It’s not unlike preaching from the pulpit but in words that are universally digestible: This back-to basics approach highlights how despite the many issues plaguing their faithful, religion has survived the test of time.
"23 of the Most Powerful Photos of This Week" — BuzzFeed News
Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and breathtaking pictures from the past week.