Amid the mass protests and media frenzy that have descended on London during President Trump's state visit, this collection of pictures captures not only the recent history of US–Britain relations, but also puts into context just how unorthodox this president's relationship to the UK has become. There's a certain monotony that threads each of these pictures together, but when compared to the scene that unfurled in London this week, it's difficult to imagine ever returning to such civility.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
Given the media saturation of images from combat zones and military occupations, Tod Seelie's series made at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin military base is the true meaning of surreal. At first glance, we see typical war imagery: explosions, big guns, tons of ammunition shells, armed services members in the midst of military operations, and local civilians trying to stay clear of the fighting. What sets these images apart are the smiling tourists in their running sneakers and fanny packs, cameras in hand to capture the action and, in some images, shooting the big guns themselves. This is a military base tour meant to be authentic, complete with government contracted “role players." The images hinge on bizarre, two worlds colliding that don't belong together. War is hell, but on this tour, no one seems to notice.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
This photo essay intelligently and poignantly addresses the visuals around mass shootings, with Ryan Jones writing honestly about his experience covering the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. The depressing frequency of mass shootings means that the photos themselves start to blur even if the pain and grief do not. As we consume more and more images of things that used to be shocking, it becomes harder to connect with each event individually. This essay serves as a reminder of why it’s important to try to do so.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
In presenting to us Bruce Polin's stunning photos of people in a park, LensCulture gives us access to the mind of an inquisitive photographer. The words are like a master class on portraiture, and the photos show how determination and patience are essential in getting the best out of the medium. This, and his ease around strangers, gives the entire work a homogeneous feel.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
Who doesn’t love pools, especially during the summer when sand inevitably gets into everything we bring to the beach? Focusing on the commodification of water and the privatization of public pools, photographer Stephan Zirwes offers an elegant yet impactful approach to beautiful photography with a strong meaning behind it. Known for his luxurious aerial-view images, Zirwes embraces color, lines, shapes, and perspectives in his latest photo series, Pools. This series is bound to leave you yearning for a pool day, or waist-deep in the internet researching the hundreds of ways we can all conserve water.
—Neah Gray, photo intern, BuzzFeed News
If there's anything you should take from this Reuters essay, it's this nomadic family's treatment of animals. Each frame shows the true meaning of a simple life and the closeness of human beings to nature. The animals are not just part of the landscape but intrinsic to their way of life. They are family, and their lives are valued as such — so those who aren't as in touch with nature as this family is wouldn't understand.
Michael McElroy's photos of 88 Acres of Anarchy, an anarchist skate park in Ohio, documents a counter-society that has existed basically unto itself since the mid-‘90s. The images read like Burning Man meets Mad Max, where skating clearly takes center stage, but are accompanied by hard partying, impromptu bonfires and destruction, and freedom from (nearly) all rules. There's tension in many of McElroy's images, and it's clear that with complete freedom comes an unpredictability that in his photographs reads as bedlam.
Here are the most moving and breathtaking pictures from the past week.