This one's about penguins, so that's enough to win me over. The feature gives us a closer look into the fragility of animal conservation. These people (and a dog) have less than 4,000 penguins of its kind left to care for and you can see how delicately they are handled. It's stories like this that make you appreciate those who do godlike work behind the scenes, such as ensuring the survival of a species.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
The enduring narrative of Appalachian coal mining towns of the early 20th century as predominantly poor white communities was propelled in part by the iconic photographs released by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). This incredible Yes! magazine article by John Edwin Mason — which includes another set of FSA photos that weren't as widely distributed — debunks this stereotype. These images of Appalachia captured by FSA photographers Marion Post Wolcott and Ben Shahn, tell a story about the vast African-American or "Affrilachian" community that was pushed aside. As Mason writes, "Black folks have a gift for complicating the stories that Americans like to tell about themselves." It's about time we tell the full story.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
“There is nothing that won’t surprise anyone, or shock anyone into anything.” Those disheartening words, told to BuzzFeed News by Ethar El-Katatney, executive producer of AJ+, carry with them the reality of conflict that's entered its eight year of bloodshed. In this fascinating, although sickening, look at the exponential decline of viewership on Syria-related stories, it is apparent that image fatigue is playing a major role in the public's waning attention on the conflict. BuzzFeed News reporter Rose Troup Buchanan responds with a fervid plea: "Is anyone still paying attention?"
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
Today marks 50 years since the fabric of American history was stained by the actions of US soldiers in My Lai during the Vietnam War. Although not the first deliberate civilian casualties at the hands of our troops, the scale and barbarity of this massacre rocked the nation when photographer Ron Haeberle's unflinching image of murdered men, women, and children ran on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The photographer couldn't comprehend what was happening around him as the soldiers in his company began their vicious bombardment of terrified and innocent villagers, so he just kept documenting. What we have now is a complete record of the unchecked power and brutality that military actions can breed. I advise caution when viewing these images; they're extremely graphic, but history must be remembered and understood, lest we repeat it.
It’s nice when photo essays make a point to look beyond cliché, especially in inherently photogenic, easy-to-stereotype regions of the world. This essay is compassionate to the people living in a complicated place, pulling subtleties to center stage in a way that feels both self-aware and smart.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Ahhh, walls. Ever since Donald Trump made a big deal about his, I've been fascinated by the reasons people and groups decide to erect them. These photos give us a sense of how suffocating it must be to live in towns that once had endless views of the horizon. Now they are left with a tiny peephole or a trek up the stairs to see the water. Even though there is an understanding that the walls can future-proof their land, these provincial communities — many of which include fisherfolk who have a deep connection to the ocean — now look like industrial zones, thanks to the imposing slabs of concrete.
The calculated focus required to play good pool is wonderfully depicted in this photo edit. The images vacillate between fun wide shots showing pool halls (who DOESN'T love a good poll hall, amirite?) and tight details that highlight the precision practiced. Excellent example of art being true to the subject.
Here are the most moving and breathtaking pictures from the past week.