Christina Aguilera is an American pop icon who has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. Throughout her 20-year career, there's been no shortage of photo spreads and magazine covers for us to consume, and it's only natural that these images can begin to blend together and feel homogeneous. This is why Paper magazine's cover story on Aguilera stopped me in my tracks. What we see is Aguilera laid bare: clean, clear skin and freckles for days! If not for the inclusion of more recognizable images, in which she's still clean-faced but bearing her her signature thick, black lashes, I may not have recognized her. The magazine's success in presenting the star separate from her pop star persona creates for viewers a more authentic and intimate connection.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
This is essentially one person's snaps from a holiday. But what drew me to Kevin Faingnaert's "travelogue" aside from the obvious — dreamy photographs is his approach to photography itself. Where most people on the road spend every minute behind a lens in fear of missing an amazing scene or whatever other reason, Faingnaert is more philosophical. He keeps in mind that the main purpose of his trip is to experience the place; photography just comes in second. And in doing so, the snaps he's brought home feel more special.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
"I really believe there are things nobody would see unless I didn't photograph them." Those things, referred to here by the late photographer Diane Arbus, are what lies in the seedy underbelly of modern existence, places where forbidden pleasure, heartbreak, and pain bubbles up from the cracks of daily life. In this profile on an exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles titled "Real Worlds," NPR speaks with curator Lanka Tattersall to trace a lineage between the show's three featured artists — Nan Goldin, Brassaï, and Diane Arbus. Each artist proving that beauty is not always pretty.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
This fascinating look at the lives of a few suburban families in the early aughts and again post-2016 by photographer Beth Yarnelle Edwards offers some insight into the evolution of the human condition. I found myself searching the earlier images for clues that hinted at the future selves the subjects would become in the decade or more to follow. In the accompanying texts, the subjects reflect on how their lives have changed since the creation of the first image. For some, their melancholy answers touch on what they wish they'd known "back then." In my opinion, there's no greater avenue to wisdom than time-collected experience and this photo essay exemplifies that idea.
While spring feels more like a tease than a real thing, this fun and quirky photo essay reflects the moodiness of March and the hope for what's ahead. The editing is ace, with subtle moments captured and presented with clarity and humor.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Japan is so far advanced in robotics development that there is a very different perception of it among locals compared to the rest of the world. This photo story narrows in on robots being essential in elderly care. Here, robots aren't so much shown as "the future" as it is what's necessary in Japan's present situation, with their burgeoning elderly population and dwindling workforce. And it doesn't just show us the weird and wonderful white machines that look like people and pets. The technology shown here also aids in day-to-day functions like walking and carrying men and women onto their beds.
Andrew Quilty’s piece in Medium is a must-read for every photographer leaving their backyard and every editor working, period. Thoughtful and engaging, Quilty reflects on the difficulties and privileges of working as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, although the same lessons should be applied to anyone with a camera invited to capture moments. More importantly, he speaks with local journalists about their experiences trying to tell stories from their perspective. Quilty’s images often push past the reductive narratives propagated by news organizations (when Afghanistan gets mentioned at all) and he is honest about the challenges in documenting scenes in a complicated country with radically different customs.
Here are the most moving and breathtaking pictures from the past week.