Best Photos 2019 / National Geographic
Curated By Whitney Johnson

Nadia Shira Cohen: Peter Peter, 10, rides in his father’s soy truck at the Nuevo Durango Mennonite Camp in Campeche, Mexico. The season’s soy harvest is ready to be weighed and then deposited in the silo where his father, David Peter, works.

National Geographic’s 100 Best Images of 2019

curated from 106 photographers, 121 stories, and over two million photographs

[Via National Geographic]

“He put a camera in a carcass and waited for the wolves to come.” That, says Whitney Johnson, director of visuals and immersive experiences, is the kind of effort that makes for a standout National Geographic photo.

How does she choose 100 photos from 106 photographers, 121 stories, and more than two million images taken over the course of a year? “I count on my great photo editors,” says Johnson.

 

Karine Aigner: Thousands of migratory songbirds are caught around Florida each year to supply a thriving illegal market. Before seized birds are released back into the wild by law enforcement, they are put in an aviary for several weeks where they learn how to fly again as well as how to “find” new food.

Ronan Donovan: Wolves in the Canadian Arctic pick at the remains of a muskox. To get this image, photographer Ronan Donovan placed a camera trap inside the carcass. The pack returned to feed on and off for a month.

Martin Oeggerli: This image looks almost abstract. Part of a sculpture by Alexander Calder, perhaps? No. It is the bright red stigma of the saffron flower, Crocus sativus. It takes roughly 170,000 flowers and their stigmas to produce one kilogram of saffron. As a result, it is one of the most expensive spices in the world. / Carsten Peter: Borneo’s Deer Cave is home to more than two million bats of several species, which usually fly out in the evenings to hunt.

Pascal Maitre: In Agadez, Niger, an Izala school educates about 1,300 students. Izala is a back-to-basics Islamic reformist movement that adheres to conservative practices, such as women covering their faces, but also prizes education.

Pascal Maitre: Stuck in the desert beyond Agadez, Niger, after their truck broke down, these migrants who are hoping to make it to Libya burn a tire to keep warm.

John Stanmeyer: Aisha Barka and her daughter, Mariam, hadn’t eaten in days when they arrived in an Eritrean refugee camp in 2008, driven from their home by drought, which killed all their animals. After the Eritrean military began abducting young men, people fled for safety across the border into Ethiopia.

Moises Saman: Inmates at the San Francisco Gotera prison who have renounced their gang ties pray together. Prison-based evangelical churches in El Salvador are growing.

Robert Clark: Fourteen-year-old Danila holds a baby alpaca near Huaylillas in the highlands of northern Peru.

Louie Palu: Some 400 U.S. soldiers practice parachute jumps near Alaska’s Fort Greely. The multinational exercise, which includes Canadian forces, prepares troops for the rigors of large, coordinated operations in extreme cold conditions.

Cédric Gerbehaye: Angelo Martín Flores Chambi takes a break for a snack in his family’s Chevy pickup while his parents, brothers, and sisters extract salt from the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. Children attend school during the week but help their parents on weekends.

Fritz Hoffmann: At a clinic in Beckley, West Virginia, Jeff Hendricks receives acupuncture and a plant-burning technique called moxibustion to ease pain related to four years of military service. He suffers from a brain injury, bulging disks in his neck, bone spurs, headaches, numbness in his hands, and PTSD. The Veterans Administration-approved treatment reduces the need for conventional drugs.

Moises Saman: Former gang members hang from their hammocks inside the San Francisco Gotera prison in El Salvador.

Matthieu Paley: A local street coal seller stands in Bayankhoshuu, one of the most polluted neighborhoods of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.

One of her favorite images is the lead photo of the “Mona Lisa” because it reflects what Johnson calls “the magic of what makes photography hard – showing something familiar in a new way.” It also speaks to what happens behind the scenes – the photo editor getting access while the museum was closed – and behind the lens, that charmed combination of luck, accident, and a “photographer really seeing the moment.”

 

Jennifer Emerling: The pool scene turns chaotic at the Caliente Tropics Resort in Palm Springs, California, during Tiki Caliente in May 2019. The annual event celebrates the love of tropical island living, with Tiki enthusiasts and collectors taking over the resort for the weekend to immerse themselves in a sensory-driven, escapist world that celebrates the music, art, clothing, and cocktails of Tiki culture.

Mathias Svold: Shadows form over the Deser-est Motor Lodge in Ely, Nevada. Before it was known as the Loneliest Road in America, Route 50 was a thruway during the 1850s gold rush.

David Guttenfelder : A group of climbers makes its way along Japan’s Mount Fuji Yoshida Trail.

David Guttenfelder: Pedestrians, shoppers, and people-watchers stroll on Chuo-dori in Ginza, one of Tokyo’s busiest destinations. Cars travel on the street during weekdays, but on weekend afternoons a one-mile strip is closed to traffic and becomes a promenade. Cafés, high-end boutiques, and street performers attract local residents and visitors.

William Daniels: The Zeitoun family (Thierry, Nathanael, Gabriel, and Yael) enjoy the view from their new building rooftop, in Jerusalem.
PHOTOGRAPH BY William Daniels

Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti: Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa” is believed to depict Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine silk merchant. Every year, millions of visitors jostle for a view at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The painting, protected by a thick layer of glass that must be cleaned regularly, has never been restored.

There are many such moments here, from military exercises in a warming Arctic and Rwandan schoolgirls flexing their muscles to Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan’s sheer face without ropes. Johnson calls that particular photo run “a whole stretch of strength across space and time.”

 

Best Photos of 2019 / National Geographic
Curated By Whitney Johnson
Article by Eve Conant, National Geographic
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