Here Are The Most Powerful Photos Of 2021

This year was marked by incredible moments of perseverance and hope amid overlapping tragedies. These are the pictures that defined 2021.

Shawn Triplett

Debris is pictured from the theater of an American Legion building after tornadoes ripped through Mayfield, Kentucky, and several other US states on Dec. 11, 2021.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

LaToya Feltus holds the hand of her daughter, Amya, 13, after she received a COVID-19 vaccination dose at a clinic operated by DePaul Community Health Center on Aug. 12, 2021, in New Orleans.

Patrick Semansky / AP

American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Jan. 20, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters

Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted because the crowd refused to quiet down in Ashburn, Virginia, on June 22, 2021.

John Minchillo / AP

The face of President Donald Trump appears on large screens as supporters participate in a rally in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021.

The capitol building, with lights on inside, is seen through smoke as hundreds of police and protesters carrying trump signs are on the steps in a chaotic scene
Leah Millis / Reuters

Police officers stand guard as supporters of President Trump gather in front of the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Police with guns drawn watch as rioters try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

A woman wearing a Trump 2020 flag as a cape stands in front of a noose that was erected in front of the Capitol building
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

Supporters of President Trump gather across from the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Members of the National Guard take a rest in the rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Jan. 13, 2021, ahead of an expected House vote impeaching President Donald Trump.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Nonscalable fencing outside the Capitol is shown at sunrise on Jan. 18, 2021.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Joe Biden fist bumps newly sworn-in Vice President Kamala Harris after she took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2021.

Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for BuzzFeed News

Cutouts of politician Andrew Yang are seen on the streets of New York City.

Megan Varner / Getty Images

People bring flowers to the memorial set up outside of the Gold Spa on March 19, 2021, in Atlanta. Mourners gathered to pay respect to the Asian community after suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, attacked three spas, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian.

David Zalubowski / AP

Mourners walk the temporary fence line outside the parking lot of a King Soopers grocery store, the site of a mass shooting in which 10 people died, on March 26, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado.

A man buries his face in his hands while kneeling at an altar
John Locher / AP

Rev. Robert R.A. Turner, pastor of the historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, prays in the sanctuary between meetings around centennial commemorations of the Tulsa Race Massacre on May 28, 2021.

A man in glasses squats on the ground next to a young boy in front of a mural of a woman crying over the body of a man with burning buildings behind him
Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Nehemiah Frank, left, teaches his cousin David McIntye II about the massacre in the Greenwood district on May 28, 2021, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

An older woman lying on a couch is comforted by another older woman
David Goldman / AP

Sue Howland, right, a member of the Quick Response Team that visits everyone who overdoses to offer help, checks in on Betty Thompson, 65, who struggles with alcohol addiction, at her apartment in Huntington, West Virginia, on March 17, 2021.

An older woman on a bed looks shocked as a man enters her room with a woman
Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Yoshia Uomoto, 98, reacts as her son Mark Uomoto and niece Gail Yamada surprise her with their first in-person visit in a year after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living facility primarily serving Japanese Americans in Seattle on March 30, 2021.

Ed Jones / AFP via Getty Images

Alison Henry (center) embraces her son Liam as they meet after arriving on a flight from the UK following the easing of pandemic travel restrictions at JFK International Airport in New York on Nov. 8, 2021.

A half-collapsed building with debris strewn about
Giorgio Viera / AFP via Getty Images

Search and rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Florida.

A giant container ship seen going through a canal with a smaller traditional dhouw in the foreground
Mahmoud Khaled / AFP via Getty Images

The Panama-flagged MV Ever Given container ship sailing near a felucca along Egypt's Suez Canal near the canal's central city of Ismailia on July 7, 2021. The MV Ever Given, which had blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March, weighed anchor on July 7 after Egyptian authorities and the Japanese owner agreed to a compensation deal.

Tamir Kalifa / The New York Times

Camilla Swindle, 19, sits in a shopping cart as she and her boyfriend wait in a long line to enter a grocery store in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 16, 2021, as people stock up ahead of another expected storm.

The interior lights of a call light up the face of a baby and the hand of a woman on an otherwise dark street
Courtney Sacco / Reuters

Krystan Hood sits with her two young children inside her car in Texas on Feb. 16, 2021, trying to keep warm during a brutal winter storm.

A woman clutches an umbrella and a delivery person struggles through a puddle in traffic as the streets flood and heavy rain falls
Craig Ruttle / AP

People travel through a torrential downpour caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida near Columbus Circle on Sept. 1, 2021.

Alex Milan Tracy / Sipa USA via AP

Jen Nelson sprays water on her back after Mike Anderly stopped by with a water tank for people to use at a homeless camp along Northeast Marine Drive in Portland, Oregon, on June 28, 2021, where temperatures reached an all-time high of 116 degrees.

A patch of green with sprinklers is seen throughout a dry desert landscape
Caitlin Ochs For Buzzfeed News

Golf courses just outside the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in Arizona. The reservoir is at a historic low, and cuts in water usage are mandated for 2022 to address the ongoing megadrought.

A house seen as a fireball in a forest on fire
Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images

Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor fire pushes into South Lake Tahoe, California, on Aug. 30, 2021.

An older woman dressed in black clutches her chest while the landscape behind her burns orange
Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A resident reacts as a wildfire approaches her house in the village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, Greece, on Aug. 8, 2021. Thousands of residents were evacuated after wildfires hit Greece's second-biggest island.

Several funeral pyres burn as more bodies are brought in by people in hazmat suits
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

People wait to cremate victims who died due to COVID at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, on April 23, 2021.

Thousands of flags form a field of white with a person sitting in the middle
Jose Luis Magana / AP

A visitor sits on a bench to look at artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation made up of white flags to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall on Oct. 2, 2021.

The queen in black in a mask seen looking out from a car window
Leon Neal / AP

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on April 17, 2021.

Chris O'meara / AP

In this long exposure photo, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station on April 23, 2021.

A young girl is pulled out of rubble by a group of men after a bombing in Gaza
Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

People rescue a wounded child as search and rescue work continues at a building after airstrikes by Israeli forces hit buildings in the al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on May 16, 2021.

Fatima Shbair / Getty Images

Palestinian children hold candles during a rally amid the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Lahia Northern Gaza Strip on May 25, 2021, in Gaza City.

A man holds his eyes with one hand and holds a crying young woman close with his other hand while in the hallway of a building
Khalil Hamra / AP

Relatives of 11-year-old Hussain Hamad, who was killed by an explosion during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, react during his funeral in the family home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021.

Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty Images

People on a bus try to touch the hands of soldiers of Tigray People's Liberation Front fighters on a truck as they arrive in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, on June 29, 2021.

Nariman El-mofty / AP

Surgeon and doctor-turned-refugee Tewodros Tefera cleans a wound and makes a cast for 31-year-old Tigrayan refugee Kalayu Hagos, who recently fled and was severely wounded in the conflict at home, inside the Sudanese Red Crescent clinic in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, near the border with Ethiopia, on March 23, 2021.

A huge crowd of people is held back by soldiers in riot gear wielding batons
Sandra Sebastian / AP

Honduran immigrants clash with Guatemalan soldiers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Jan. 17, 2021.

AP Photo

Anti-coup protesters surround an injured man in Hlaing Tharyar Township in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 14, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 16, 2021. Thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the Taliban's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule after a stunningly swift end to the United States' 20-year war in the country.

Two men in their underwear covered in welts standing in an office
Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Afghan journalists Nematullah Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi show their wounds in their office in Kabul after being released from Taliban custody on Sept. 8, 2021. They were beaten and detained for hours by Taliban fighters for covering a protest in the Afghan capital.

A woman holding a baby under a plastic tarp in an open field
Reginald Louissaint Jr / AFP via Getty Images

People gather after spending the night outside in the aftermath of the earthquake, facing the severe inclement weather of Tropical Storm Grace near Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 17, 2021.

Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images

A Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian immigrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.

People seen living under makeshift structures made of blankets and sticks under a bridge
Adrees Latif / Reuters

Immigrants take shelter along the Del Rio International Bridge at sunset as they await to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande into the US on Sept. 19, 2021.

The statue of Robert E Lee on a horse is lifted from its pedestal by a crane seen in silhouette
Eze Amos / Getty Images

Workers remove the statue of Robert E. Lee on Sept. 8, 2021, in Richmond, Virginia.

Simone Biles with her hands up about to approach the beam
Loic Venance / AFP via Getty Images

US gymnast Simone Biles prepares to practice on the balance beam during a training session at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 22, 2021, on the eve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Sunisa lee hugs her coach on the sidelines
Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Sunisa Lee of Team United States celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's All-Around Final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 29, 2021.

Four full grown elephants and two baby elephants sleep all together in a pile of brush, photographed from above
China Daily / Reuters

Wild Asian elephants lie on the ground and rest in the Jinning district of Kunming, Yunnan province, China, on June 7, 2021.

An older woman in a wheelchair grips the hands of a man standing behind her, she is wearing a mask
Rachel Wisniewski

Mary Tantarelli grips the hands of Jonathan, a nurse at the facility, before she receives her COVID-19 vaccination on Feb. 19, 2021. Rachel Wisniewski photographed residents at the Brandywine Living at Senior Suites in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, before and after the pandemic for a heartwrenching story on aging for BuzzFeed News.