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8 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 October 9, 2021, at 12:05 p.m. ET

This week, we thought about some of the larger themes in life, like whether or not photos can get people to care about the world. The Bronx Documentary Center currently has an excellent exhibition showing a timeline of the full two decades of the war in Afghanistan. I know that the majority of the American public wants to be done with the issue, but Mike Kamber's interview makes a compelling case for why photos are so important to understanding that war and understanding ourselves. There's a lot to unpack.

Speaking of unpacking, the New York Times has a brilliant visual investigation into missing people in Mexico that will break your heart. We also looked at the oil spill in California, which is threatening wetland preserves along the coast like some monster out of FernGully. I can't say the photos are fun, but they might convince you that maybe we need to rethink our approach to oil (on a lot of levels).

The Guardian shows us what life is like in North Korea, while i-D magazine highlights one of the coolest photographers in Seoul. Marcus Maddox has a singular new approach to portraits — his piece in Interview magazine is a must-read. Also, Wallpaper asked Caroline Tompkins to take portraits of five creative luminaries and talk about her work, and both the portraits and the discussion are very revealing.

Even though it feels nothing like fall in New York, it is, in fact, football season for those who celebrate. The only team I've ever been truly invested in is the one from Friday Night Lights. As it turns out, there are photos of the original team that inspired the book, which was turned into a movie and then a TV series. Please enjoy the 1980s haircuts and the throwback look at small-town America in our interview with Robert Clark.

Sign up for our newsletter JPG for exclusive access to artist Jaida Grey Eagle and a roundup of Indigenous stories this Sunday.


"A Peek Behind the Curtain: Inside North Korea — in Pictures" — The Guardian

Many young North Koreans in colorful outfits participate in Arirang Mass Games, the largest performance of theater, artistry, gymnastics, and propaganda stories in the world
Ted Lau

"The Painterly Photography of Marcus Maddox" — Interview Magazine

Man is reaching for a woman's hand as she is letting him go, their arms shown against a sofa background
Marcus Maddox

"Seoul Photographer Cho Gi Seok Captures a New Age of Korean Cool" — i-D Magazine

A person in a sweater looks at the camera, with their face covered by numerous pencils bundled together in several directions
Cho Gi Seok

"You Don't Care About These Photos From Afghanistan, but Some People Died for Them" — BuzzFeed News

A girl gazes at a small TV and watches then–Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaking at a podium during the presidential candidates' live debate in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009
Farzana Wahidy / AP

"GONE: Nearly 100,000 People Have Disappeared in Mexico. Their Families Now Search for Clues Among the Dead." — The New York Times

A torn, stained, blanket and pieces of clothing
Fred Ramos for the New York Times

"Through the Lens of Photographer Caroline Tompkins" — Wallpaper

A structure in flames
Caroline Tompkins



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.