Over the week, thousands of photographs have poured out of Texas documenting the historic flooding, which has ravaged entire communities and taken the lives of at least 49 individuals. Perhaps no collection of images is more poignant than this one, curated by our own Kate Bubacz, which paints a wide perspective of the scene on the ground and the lives that have been changed forever by Hurricane Harvey.
—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News
Most of the photo essays you'll see on Hurricane Harvey highlight the devastation and flooding that has ravaged the Texas landscape. In contrast, this essay brings to light a specific predicament that is often forgotten about in the hysteria of coverage: animals. Pets, farm animals, street animals...they are all affected by natural disasters. BuzzFeed News' Gabriel H. Sanchez eloquently put together this photo essay on the plight of helpless animals, while also showcasing the beauty of a community coming together. And don't worry, these photos are not (super) sad — they are all safe!
—Sarah Kobos, photo editor, BuzzFeed
In this fascinating profile on a photo exhibit at New York's Ricco/Maresca Gallery, Hyperallergic discusses the legacy of 19th-century wedding photography, offering historical context for those ubiquitous wedding shots that plague our social media timelines today. As a newlywed myself, I deeply regret not having my dark and sober carte de visite portrait made on my wedding day. Oh well!
While some might consider this piece to be verging on poverty porn, it accomplishes what photojournalism has always strived to do — tear down walls and present realities of the world that will oftentimes make viewers uncomfortable. By spending a week in the underbelly of the city, Benjamin Haas has uncovered the inner truths among all the glitz and glamour of Hong Kong. Public housing here is dire and hardly a priority in an economy that caters to the rich, and until some effort is put in to alleviate this plight, journalistic work like this will continue to be relevant.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
Refinery29's Take Back the Beach series and interviews aim to foster the body-positive dialogue that is necessary to become a culture that nurtures healthy body image. The women are captured on the beach in swimsuits, answering questions about the things they've been told about their body and how they view and discuss other women's bodies. For some, their poses and expressions give the impression that although they are working toward body confidence, they have a ways to go toward total self-acceptance. Projects and conversations like this can steer us in the right direction.
—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News
While not a photo story per se, this collection of pictures from an art exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art describes the ever-evolving narrative of self-portraiture in art photography. What's known today as the ubiquitous "selfie" has a long and vibrant history dating back to the very origins of the medium. The pictures shared here are excellent springboards into some of the most renowned and treasured artists of the last several centuries.
Won Kim has an interesting take on travel photography. Whereas the stream of photos we find on social media showcase well-staged snaps against grand sceneries, he turns his camera toward what we normally don’t get to see. This project is all about how backpackers do it, and to me, they drive home the singular mentality these travelers live by — that this is what it takes to experience the world.
The edit of this series of photos by Sebastián Liste seems to explore the trickle-down effect of violence, corruption, and death on the children of certain Latin American countries and the people they grow up to become. Abandoned girls find themselves turning to prostitution to survive and quite often becoming mothers before long. The boys in this series find shelter and escape in a crumbling, empty factory, but the cycle of despair and violence in which they are trapped leaves them without much hope. It is said that Liste goes to areas other people won't go, but his images take us there too. It's not much, but at least the injustices haven't gone unnoticed and the stories haven't gone untold.
In this beautiful collection of pictures from the life of the late Princess Diana, we are able to comprehend just how benevolent of a human being she was. From pictures of Diana as a young girl to her prolific humanitarian efforts in adulthood, Diana was an absolute inspiration on living your best life through acts of kindness and charity. On the 20th anniversary of her death, these virtues are more important today than ever.
Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and breathtaking pictures from the past week.