Whatta year! Wooooo boy. Phew. Is it over yet?
Here in the (very small, one-person) Mother Jones photo department, we naturally tend to think visually. As such, we rounded up a few dozen photos that stuck with us over the course of the year.
Some events, like the January 6 Capitol riot and the California wildfires, are inherently visual and could easily fill an entire “Best Photos” post. Conversely, some incredibly important moments over the past year, like the Texas abortion law or the insanity that has erupted in school board meetings, just aren’t quite as visual. So with that said, what follows isn’t as much a selection of the best photos made over the year, but a selection of striking, if not surreal visual moments from 2021—from across politics, climate chaos, migration, racial justice, COVID, and more—made by a few of the many incredible photographers who are out there busting their asses.
For a number of reasons, this selection also focuses on domestic stories. There are so many important international stories—and exceptional photos that tell them. When we started pulling photos from Russia, Australia, Ethiopia, Chile, Myanmar, Brazil, Ukraine, Greece…well, it got to be a lot. We had to focus.
With all that in mind, here’s to another year of amazing photos of sometimes awful things, and awesome photos of triumphant moments, too.