Childbirth can be as unpredictable as it is miraculous. I don't think any expecting mother anticipates the whole ordeal to be easy, but as these pictures show, sometimes the plan changes and the only thing a mother can do is follow baby's lead. In these incredible pictures, the miracle of childbirth is shown in graphic and eye-opening clarity, and an unusual circumstance becomes a joyous celebration as new life enters the world.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
Since cultural authenticity and a desire to live truthfully never goes out of style, it's always a good time to introduce new generations to Kwame Brathwaite's portrait series "Black Is Beautiful." The portraits feature black women of different sizes, confidently styled in bold, African prints, embracing gorgeously lush, natural hairstyles. What began as a fashion show in 1962 called Naturally '62, grew into a movement, and led to Brathwaite starting a modeling agency and creating these strikingly beautiful portraits, currently on display through April 1 at the Museum of the City of New York. Also genuine was Brathwaite's intentions with the series: “My goal was always to capture the beauty of black women, to restore black pride and the spirit of black women.”
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
Pictures that so perfectly encapsulate the wonder and triumph of the human race are few and far between. On Tuesday, the world looked on as the SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket delivered a payload into outer space and returned to Earth, landing perfectly upright in a spectacular fashion. That payload was a red Tesla roadster with a single mannequin bumping David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Pictures like this one, taken from a camera strapped to the roadster's hood, are guaranteed to inspire an entire new generation of brilliant minds.
Sad Wall Street Traders are a decade-old visual meme, but Sam Hodgson manages to avoid all clichés in this photo essay about the vagaries of capitalism. It is hard to capture the anxiety and real-world implications of this week's global roller coaster carried out largely by algorithms, making the human elements that Hodgson focuses on all the more poignant.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Sustainable infrastructure is one of the major issues that persistently haunts the Olympics. So much so that photo essays of decaying venues are published in multitudes in the lead up to the games, and in Pyeongchang specifically, the IOC has pushed organizers to develop sustainably. This series of photos comes as somewhat of a foreshadowing of the fate of the Olympic facilities. As much hype as there is around the biggest sporting event in the world, once the fanfare is over, the success of the venues as a thriving business lands on the laps of the locals. But as these photos show, there's just less and less interest in winter sports.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
The strength of a Polaroid image has always been its instant gratification. And there was a time when being able to capture your moment and immediately share it was a novel idea. Photographer-researcher Kyler Zeleny has been collecting lost polaroid images from estate sales, eBay, and thrift shops and has amassed over 6,000 of them. After trying without much luck to reconnect the lost Polaroids with their subjects, he began the online archive, "Found Polaroids." The clever archive invites visitors to create and submit narratives around the images, immediately satisfying our need for context. The true stars are the images themselves, many of them lovingly captured portraits. Although these images have been lost or discarded along the way, it's clear they used to mean something, and now with Zeleny's help they still do.
This is an incredibly insightful piece into mass farming in China. By looking at the images alone the readers are already given plenty of information to grasp the enormity of the situation. The copy explains how China has to cope with both its massive population, and more importantly their sudden shift into a western diet. The success of this piece lies in the presentation of production lines as GIFs, but also the way it holds back in some frames and lets you pause to really see the details in the stills. These images make it so abundantly clear that this is what it takes to feed 1.4 billion mouths.
This photo essay is wonderfully comprehensive in the scope of the challenges facing Cape Town, which is on track to run out of water in a few weeks, and also irritatingly beautiful. The images truly look like scenes out of a slow-moving nightmare, and the angles and thoughtfulness of approach stand out in this short essay.
This is one of the most beautiful, elegant essays on Guantanamo Bay, allowing a wider-than-usual perspective on what it means to have a US Army base and prison near a Cuban city. Carlos Barrias shows surprising visual similarities between the two, connecting two societies who generally coexist without acknowledging each other.
Here are the most moving and breathtaking pictures from the past week.