For every collection of images put together after yet another mass shooting, there's an editor praying that this will be the last time they'll ever have to cover something like this again. On the evening of this horrifying event, it was BuzzFeed News photo editor Laura Geiser who was tasked with the solemn duty of organizing these pictures in a timely manner. Her curation is leveled and focused, offering witness so that we can better comprehend the tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
Greg Constantine has been covering the plight of the Rohingya for years, but nothing prepares you for these images. The wide shot showing thousands of people pressed together to receive food is just as jarring as the simple detail shot of a man explaining how he fled his homeland and walked across a border, drawing out the ordeal in the mud. They are stark and unsparing in their examination of the current mass humanitarian crisis.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
Journey with photographer Adam Reynolds into a decommissioned nuclear launch site that was designed by the US to wipe the Soviet Union off the face of the Earth, perhaps along with everything else on the face of the planet too. There's a bittersweet humor that threads each of these pictures together — a sentiment of comic relief that America wasn't reduced to atomic ash, coupled with the uneasy realization of how close we really got.
It's heartbreaking to see the state of anxiety and uncertainty over health care in Alex Thompson's images. The stress on their faces of Kansas residents brings home one of the overlooked costs in our prolonged health care debate.
The common story of people on the fringes of society getting pushed aside or forgotten by the bigger power players is literally what reality is for the Nenets in Russia. This group lives on the Yamal Peninsula, which translates to “the edge of the world,” and not just climate change but also industrial development is placing them at a disadvantage. Photo essays like this bring their story into the mainstream. And without them, they can easily fall of the face of the Earth without anyone knowing they ever existed.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
At the intersection of fine art and medical science, these pictures chronicle the miraculous transformations of wounded soldiers following the battles of World War I. Many of these men returned home with scars and facial injuries, but with the help of sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd and surgeon Harold Gillies, they were granted a second chance at normalcy.
“Terrorist” and “rehab” are two words you’ll never see in a single sentence in the Western world. In this photo series, those words take new meaning as you scroll through the photos and see hotel-like facilities for what’s supposedly prison. Really, I’ve seen hostels that are less livable than what photographer David Degner was shown when he toured this rehab facility in Saudi Arabia. While his whole experience looks and feels like propaganda — with his every move being watched and photos being censored — the fact that terrorists are given more hope in life than some of the more upstanding citizens in other societies is a genuinely shocking insight into another world.
Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and breathtaking pictures from the past week.