The Most Powerful Press Photos Of The Year Just Announced


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    Nigeria has one of the highest occurrences of twins in the world, particularly among the Yoruba people in the southwest. In the southwestern town of Igbo-Ora, dubbed ‘The Nation’s Home of Twins’, reportedly almost every family has at least one set. In 2018, the town hosted a Twins Festival, attended by over 2,000 pairs. The first-born twin is usually called Taiwo, meaning ‘having the first taste of the world’, while the second-born is named Kehinde, ‘arriving after the other’. Communities have developed different cultural practices in response to this high birth rate, from veneration to demonization. In earlier times, twins in some regions were considered evil, and vilified or killed at birth. Nowadays, the arrival of twins is generally met with celebration, and many think they bring good luck and wealth. Two color filters were used, to express duality: of identity, of photographers, and of attitude to twins.

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    Caribbean flamingo inspects the improvised socks created to help heal its severe foot lesions, at the Fundashon Dier en Onderwijs Cariben, Curaçao. The bird was brought by plane from neighboring island Bonaire, after spending a few weeks in a local rehabilitation facility. Such lesions are common among captive flamingos, as they have very sensitive feet and are used to walking on soft ground. After a few weeks of care the bird was transported back to Bonaire. There are around 3,000 breeding pairs of Caribbean flamingos on Bonaire, and a further 200 to 300 birds on Curaçao.

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    Immigrant families had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were then detained by US authorities. Sandra Sanchez said that she and her daughter had been traveling for a month through Central America and Mexico before reaching the US to seek asylum. The Trump Administration had announced a ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the border under which immigrants caught entering the US could be criminally prosecuted. As a result, many apprehended parents were separated from their children, often sent to different detention facilities. After this picture was published worldwide, US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that Yanela and her mother had not been among the thousands who had been separated by US officials. Nevertheless, public outcry over the controversial practice resulted in President Donald Trump reversing the policy on 20 June.

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    Alyona Kochetkova sits at home, unable to face borscht (beet soup), her favorite food, during treatment for cancer. Alyona shot this self-portrait following surgery and chemotherapy, when, although she knew the vital importance of food, she struggled to eat. Taking photos was not only a way of sharing a difficult and personal story in the hope that it might support others with a cancer diagnosis, it was also a means of accepting her ordeal by doing what she loved.

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    Bob, a rescued Caribbean flamingo, lives among humans on the Dutch island of Curaçao. Bob was badly injured when he flew into a hotel window, and was cared for by Odette Doest who runs Fundashon Dier en Onderwijs Cariben (FDOC), a wildlife rehabilitation center. During Bob’s rehabilitation, Odette discovered that he had been habituated to humans, and so would not survive if returned to the wild. Instead, he became an ‘ambassador’ for FDOC, which educates local people about the importance of protecting the island’s wildl

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    Beekeepers, led by Russel Armin Balan, tend their hives in Tinúm, Yucatán, Mexico. Mennonite farmers growing soy in Campeche, on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, are allegedly adversely impacting the livelihood of local Mayan beekeepers. The Mennonites farm large tracts of land in the area. Environmental groups and honey producers say that the introduction of genetically modified soy and use of the agrochemical glyphosate endangers health, contaminates crops, and reduces the market value of honey by threatening its ‘organic’ label. Soy production also leads to deforestation, as land is increasingly bought for farming, further affecting bee populations.

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    Evacuated horses stand tied to a pole, as smoke from a wildfire billows above them, on Zuma Beach, in Malibu, California, USA, on 10 November. The 2018 wildfire season in California was the deadliest and most destructive on record, burning an area of more than 676,000 hectares. While scientists pointed to the effects of climate change as a cause, US President Donald Trump blamed forest management.

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    An ambulance packed with explosives killed 103 people and injured 235 in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 27 January. The ambulance had passed through one security point unnoticed, but although the attacker was identified at a second checkpoint, he couldn’t be stopped from detonating his explosives. The bombing took place at lunchtime near Chicken Street, a central shopping area once popular among foreign nationals, and close to government and diplomatic buildings. The victims, however, were overwhelmingly Afghan civilians and police. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the ambulance bombing, which ranked among the worst civilian attacks in the Afghan capital in some years. Taliban commanders said they were intensifying urban attacks in retaliation for increased airstrikes on areas under their control.

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    Frogs with their legs severed and surrounded by frogspawn struggle to the surface, after being thrown back into the water in Covasna, Eastern Carpathians, Romania, in April. Frogs’ legs are frequently harvested for food in the spring, when males and females gather to mate and spawn. Legs are sometimes severed while the animal is still living. About US$40 million worth are sold annually, with countries across the world participating in the trade. A small part of the population in the Carpathian Mountains make their living by collecting frogs’ legs in the wild and selling them.

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    A winged comb jelly, Leucothea multicornis, its wings widely opened, propels itself through waters off Alicante, Spain. Leucothea multicornis, like other comb jellies, is a voracious predator, capturing its prey using sticky cells rather than by stinging. Little is currently known about the biology of comb jellies. Because the creatures are so fragile and fold their wings in reaction to the slightest vibration, they are extremely difficult to study and to photograph.


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