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7 Photo Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

Here are some of the most interesting and powerful photo stories from across the internet.

Posted on December 26, 2021, at 10:59 a.m. ET

We made it! I guess? This will be our last photo story roundup until next year — I mean…next week, probably. It's been a long journey through 2021, but then again, aren't they all? This week, we published our annual series of the most powerful photos of the year, which is always a daunting edit. Lots of good images landed on the cutting-room floor, but we hope you enjoy the collection. We also have a feel-good edition of the post because we don't want to reinforce the narrative that only grim news can be beautiful.

HuffPost has a heartwarming story about finding inclusive spaces within the skateboarding community, with great photos by Erik Carter. Alessandra Sanguinetti's newest project on Wisconsin is way less dark than the headline makes it seem, offering an almost whimsical look at the zeitgeist inspired by American Gothic. The Atlantic took a deep dive into the world of orcas, and we cannot resist the version of New York seen in the work of Sarah van Rij and David Van Der Leeuw, brought to us by the British Journal of Photography. Finally, don't miss our story on the Picture Collection, which is perhaps the best IRL place for visual discovery.

Don't forget to sign up for our photo newsletter, JPG, for more sneak peeks and exclusive interviews.

"Here Are the Most Powerful Photos of 2021" — BuzzFeed News

Debris is pictured from the theater of an American Legion building
Shawn Triplett / Reuters

"27 Photos to Remind You That 2021 Wasn't Completely Terrible" — BuzzFeed News

Free Britney supporters celebrate after hearing that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge formally ended Britney Spears' conservatorship
Irfan Khan / The Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

"Sarah van Rij and David van der Leeuw’s Love Letter to New York City" —The British Journal of Photography

Close-up of someone walking on the sidewalk from the legs down, with illustrated lips on top of the photo, and police on a roof
Sarah van Rij and David Van Der Leeuw

"Girl & Queer Skate Sesh Is Making the Sport Inclusive" — HuffPost

Person wearing a Fresh Prince shirt standing against a fence with a skateboard
Erik Carter

"The One Place Left on Earth Not Ruled by an Algorithm Is Free to the Public " — BuzzFeed News

A group of avalanche images laid out on top of each other
Taryn Simon

"Swimming With Orcas During Polar Nights" — The Atlantic

An orca is pictured in the fjords of Skjervøy, northern Norway
Olivier Morin / AFP via Getty Images

"A Photographer Revisits the Book That Taught Her About Dying" — The New Yorker

A group of children in white robes at Sunday choir
Alessandra Sanguinetti / Magnum Photos

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.