This is a heartwarming and heart-wrenching tribute to a young girl whose own ordeal consumed her short life. This photo essay chronicles what everyone else sees as her sacrifice, but to Lola, this is what she knows as her life, her actual life. In part because of this piece, it’s not just her legacy that we remember, but Lola herself.
—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia
Black-and-white photography is what started it all. But in our era of revolutionized color and digital, it seems as though black-and-white images have become a thing of the past. With shadows, highlights, tones, and a never-ending grayscale, black-and-white photography may be harder than it seems. With no color to guide our imagination, our minds become more focused on the shapes, curves, and overall composition of the photo. Elena Cremona’s series Postcards From the Past takes beautiful desert landscapes and transforms them into sharp black-and-gray images that capture every shadow and detail embodied in nature. The subtle vintage borders are the final touch to making these photos feel like a blast from the past.
—Neah Gray, photo intern, BuzzFeed News
The systematic rape and murder of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar's security forces that began 10 months ago continues to traumatize female victims with the birth of the children born of those rapes. Photographer Wong Maye-E captures a few women who felt strong enough to come forward and tell their stories. They speak of the blame their husbands place on them for being raped, their disinterest and disconnection from the children, and their fear that their neighbors in the refugee camps will discover and ostracize them for their sacrilegious act (giving birth to a Buddhist child). In Maye-E's images, the despair felt by these women is powerfully juxtaposed with the innocent faces of their newborns, ignorant to the difficult life that lies ahead of them.
—Laura Geiser, Senior photo editor, BuzzFeed News
The mass incarceration of adults in America is not a new story, nor is the aging of the prison population, but it remains an intractable societal problem that is worth revisiting. Lucy Nicholson’s work in the Washington Post gives a sensitive, comprehensive overview of the challenges that both the inmates and the staff face caring for the elderly and infirm inmates.
—Kate Bubacz, deputy photo director, BuzzFeed News
In our weekly photo series roundup, we feature a lot of great work from photojournalists traveling to places our readers may not know about or heard of. But in this Guardian feature, they present a world that’s very much part of our daily lives but is seemingly invisible in our everyday consciousness. It’s a brilliant use of the medium and carries with it a strong message — that there is a waste crisis and it’s happening not just in Australia but everywhere around the world — but delivers it without sounding too preachy. Through this piece, the Guardian has demonstrated the power of photography, where we can only truly grasp the realities we face by seeing it for ourselves.
It might seem like a crazy angle, but this piece by Reuters on the makeup of Rohingya women does an excellent job of portraying the refugee crisis. Given the dire needs of those who fled their homes, focusing on their skin care may seem superficial, but it allows the women and girls portrayed to take ownership of their story and their bodies, and the story manages to avoid exoticizing people in faraway lands.
This compelling photo series by Ian Brown will tug at the most hardened of heartstrings. With thoughtful portraiture paired to each subject's idea of the American dream, in their own words and handwriting, the viewer comes away with the realization that the "dream" means different things to different people based on their own experience and privilege. For one teen in Minnesota, posed with her rifle, the dream is a deeper respect for the Second Amendment and her right to exercise it, while the dream for an older woman in Louisiana, sitting outsider her rundown home, is to someday have running water.
Ann Ray gives us a rare and exclusive look into the life of Alexander McQueen. From the ins and outs of his designs to the behind-the-scene looks at his fashion shows, her latest series, The Unfinished Lee McQueen, gives us a personal perspective into the creative mind of the former artistic director of Givenchy. Ray and McQueen developed a close friendship over the 13 years she spent capturing aspects of his life and art. From the most glamorized parts to the quiet personal moments, Ray has managed to gather an archive of almost 40,000 images. This carefully curated series highlights the close relationship between fashion and photography and gives viewers a glimpse into what Alexander McQueen’s life was really like.
Here are the most moving and breathtaking pictures from the past week.