In this beautifully shot piece by photographer Andrew Esiebo for BuzzFeed News, the Niger famine is documented through series of vibrant communal dishes, each captured with the same integrity and respect most photographers reserve for a Michelin-Starred restaurant. Each plate is a story of survival and community, as well as proof that a family who eats together remains strong together.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
With Russia being a part of so many headlines in the US since last November, Hassan Kurbanbaev's photo essay on Amuse, "One Summer in Moscow: A Photo Diary," is very intriguing. It's easy to forget about the ordinary citizens coming of age and simply living their lives in the country that caused so much chaos for us in the 2016 presidential campaign. What Kurbanbaev has prepared for us is a sampling of the urban youth in Moscow who are pushing the boundaries of their freedom with a blatant resistance to the old guard. Seeing this budding counter-culture on full display in the nation's capital, it's possible to imagine there could be a sea change on the horizon for Russian politics.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
For those armchair travelers looking for an immersive visual experience, check out this incredible Amos Chapple photo essay on Radio Free Europe. The chronicling of a three-day journey of six Georgian shepherds and 1,200 sheep from the mountains of Tusheti to the plains of Kakheti has it all: adorable sheep dogs who are some of the best in the business, foggy panoramas of the Georgian countryside complete with autumn colors, and dangerously steep descents made more treacherous by snow, sleet and the dire need to get the sheep to a warmer climate as soon as possible.
It is both refreshing and startling to see what untrained eyes see. The children of this Nigerian slum did an awesome job contextualizing their world for outside viewers, oftentimes overlapping visual poetry with stark reality. It is rare that we pick up photo projects from NGOs, but this one, we felt, added depth and nuance to the broader understanding of the world.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Across the United States, symbols of the country's racist history remain prominent in the form of school mascots and teams that reference America's indigenous populations. Under derogatory names such as the Redskins, Indians, and the Redmen, entire communities turn a blind eye to the racial context of these words in favor of school pride. Here, photographer Daniella Zalcman trains her eye on America's heartland to capture the casual complacency of racism in America's school systems.
Philip Montgomery’s images on the opioid crisis in Ohio have been rightly praised — the photos are intimate and evocative of the sadness and banal grief of a generation in suffering. The overwhelming whiteness of the people pictured cannot be ignored. Nor can the fact that the recent round of heroin horror is garnering a markedly different presidential reaction than it did three decades ago. Let’s hope that the declaration of a public health crisis allows for help and rehabilitation for many.
The most obvious thing about Mike Kelley’s photo set is the use of bird’s-eye view shots to photograph a subject that usually makes people look up. The technique might be jarring, but it’s what makes it interesting. It’s making me, as a viewer, see airplanes not as mere transportation but as a story. Had Kelley taken the shots from ground looking up, every piece of the sky will look the same. But because he places the planes in the context of the ground they’re sitting on, we get to follow their life cycle.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
GUYS THERE’S A FARM THAT HAS A THOUSAND DOGS JUST CHILLING. My excitement about this fact cannot be understated. The joy I feel at seeing packs of dogs roaming, being dogs, is indescribable. No matter what kind of week you’ve had, looking at this will make it a good one.
It might sound crazy that it took at least 10 Reuters photographers to get this photo story done. But in the context of the geographical size of the former USSR and the influence of Vladimir Lenin on the failed empire, it starts to make sense. What’s fascinating about this story is how his likeness had to be spread far and wide, as if to say to his people: “Don’t forget who’s boss here.” A few statues of a revered leader is fine. But one photo taken in Ukraine shows 128 Lenin busts in a single place. As far as his ideals of communism go, seeing these photos side-by-side feels eerily autocratic.
Matt Black’s moody and dark portraits of farmworkers in the conservative center of California are a must-see. The faces rising out of a dark background suit the unsettled status of the nation’s immigration debate around DREAMers. The edit includes just enough images to give context to their lives as workers without being heavy handed.