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TIME’s Best Photojournalism of 2022

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TIME’s Best Photojournalism of 2022

We’ve entered a strange moment in history where every year feels somehow both a burning furnace of upheaval and recreation and a frozen monolith we are made to unwillingly re-encounter over and over. The images captured by TIME’s global roster of photojournalists over the course of 2022 reveal how deeply these two opposing trends penetrated society and public discourse this past year.

Photos showing the grief of the Uvalde, Texas community over the horror that occurred at a local elementary school on May Bangla, in which an 18-year-old man fatally shot 19 students and two teachers, highlight how gun violence and mass shootings continued to be one of the great failings of the American project in 2022. In other areas, the country went backwards when it comes to human rights—despite what the voting public seems to want. The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade flew in the face of public opinion, as captured in these photos taken in March; indeed, analysts have said that the pro-choice sentiment shared by the majority of Americans helped the Democrats limit losses in this years midterm elections.

Meanwhile, some aspects of geopolitics have also taken on an atavistic hue. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not so much a novel shift in international relations, but rather an effort by Vladimir Putin to return the country he has led with an iron fist for over two decades back to its Soviet-era imperialist designs. At the same time, however, Ukraine has leveraged the guile of its people and the support of NATO to keep authoritarianism at bay. And some of the most compelling images captured this year outside of the states were those of women in Iran protesting the decades-long religious laws that have made misogynism public policy in the country. Both examples suggest that despite the efforts of a few to turn back the clock, the will of the many to move forward may yet win out.

Perhaps nowhere is this dynamic more fully realized than in the world of climate change. On the one hand, images of the devastating flooding in Pakistan and in post-Hurricane Ian Florida show how ill prepared we are for the environmental catastrophe experts have been warning about for decades. On the other, photojournalism on Finland’s project to implement a fully circular economy by 2050, and the Kichwa Indigenous people’s bold effort to protect their sacred Piatúa River in Ecuador, to name two examples, offers a sense of the wide range of ways the world is finally, in 2022, recognizing climate change as a problem this generation cannot push off to the future.—Elijah Wolfson, Editorial Director

Below is a selection of some of the most impactful photos TIME published this year.

Maya, 11, swims in Houston on May 10. State law prohibits Maya from playing girls’ sports in school, but she swims on a private team. It’s not the first time <a href="https://time.com/6184659/trans-youth-gender-expansive-photo-essay/">being trans</a> has prevented her from competing—she quit gymnastics years ago because she didn’t want to risk disqualifying her teammates. The experience made her “mad and sad,” she says. But she finds swimming on her new team “really fun and relaxing.” (Annie Flanagan for TIME)
Maya, 11, swims in Houston on May 10. State law prohibits Maya from playing girls’ sports in school, but she swims on a private team. It’s not the first time being trans has prevented her from competing—she quit gymnastics years ago because she didn’t want to risk disqualifying her teammates. The experience made her “mad and sad,” she says. But she finds swimming on her new team “really fun and relaxing.”

Annie Flanagan for TIME

Ukrainian President <a href="https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2022-volodymyr-zelensky/">Volodymyr Zelensky</a> meets with military advisers in a hidden bomb-proof bunker near the front lines in Kherson on Nov. 14. (Maxim Dondyuk for TIME)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with military advisers in a hidden bomb-proof bunker near the front lines in Kherson on Nov. 14.

Maxim Dondyuk for TIME

Grain silos damaged in the <a href="https://time.com/6202125/beirut-explosion-anniversary/">2020 Beirut port explosion</a>, photographed on July 22, 2022. (Myriam Boulos—Magnum Photos for TIME)

A street scene in a village outside of Janakpur, Nepal on July 1. Many of the local men seek work in the Gulf states, <a href="https://time.com/6227277/qatar-extreme-heat-world-cup-2022/">such as Qatar</a>, where they often toil under onerous and sometimes even life-threatening conditions. (Ed Kashi—VII for TIME)
A street scene in a village outside of Janakpur, Nepal on July 1. Many of the local men seek work in the Gulf states, such as Qatar, where they often toil under onerous and sometimes even life-threatening conditions.

Ed Kashi—VII for TIME

Medical assistant Ramona Wallace, left, embraces Gail Latham at <a href="https://time.com/6200914/alabama-clinic-after-roe-v-wade/">West Alabama Women’s Center</a> on July 11, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (Lucy Garrett for TIME)
Medical assistant Ramona Wallace, left, embraces Gail Latham at West Alabama Women’s Center on July 11, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Lucy Garrett for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/afghan-women-kabul-fall-anniversary/">Masouma Tajik</a>, 23, studying Russian at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. on July 7. One year ago, having graduated from the American University of Afghanistan, Masouma was working as a data analyst in Kabul. Last August, after days spent in the Kabul airport—where she was whipped by the Taliban—she was finally able to board a plane for Kyiv, then Lviv, and ultimately to the U.S in May. (Diana Markosian for TIME)
Masouma Tajik, 23, studying Russian at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. on July 7. One year ago, having graduated from the American University of Afghanistan, Masouma was working as a data analyst in Kabul. Last August, after days spent in the Kabul airport—where she was whipped by the Taliban—she was finally able to board a plane for Kyiv, then Lviv, and ultimately to the U.S in May.

Diana Markosian for TIME

The <a href="https://time.com/6238168/b-21-raider-bomber-us-military-exclusive/">B-21 stealth bomber</a>—the U.S. military’s newest covert aircraft—sits inside a hangar at Northrop Grumman’s facilities at Plant 42 in Palmdale before its Dec. 2 public unveiling, on Nov. 29. (Christopher Payne for TIME)
The B-21 stealth bomber—the U.S. military’s newest covert aircraft—sits inside a hangar at Northrop Grumman’s facilities at Plant 42 in Palmdale before its Dec. 2 public unveiling, on Nov. 29.

Christopher Payne for TIME

A Nov. 18 photo of an Iranian woman's tattoo reading "<a href="https://time.com/heroes-of-the-year-2022-women-of-iran/">Woman, Life, Freedom</a>." Tattoos are not illegal in Iran but are frowned upon by the religious authorities. Some tattoo artists work for free these days, inking slogans into protesters' arms. (Forough Alaei for TIME)
A Nov. 18 photo of an Iranian woman’s tattoo reading “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Tattoos are not illegal in Iran but are frowned upon by the religious authorities. Some tattoo artists work for free these days, inking slogans into protesters’ arms.

Forough Alaei for TIME

A former U.S. Army medic, David Plaster, <a href="https://time.com/6163028/ukraine-aid-mission/">trains civilians</a> at a school gym in Lviv on March 11, part of the historic U.S. mission to provide assistance to Ukraine in its defense against Russian invasion. (Anastasia Taylor-Lind for TIME)
A former U.S. Army medic, David Plaster, trains civilians at a school gym in Lviv on March 11, part of the historic U.S. mission to provide assistance to Ukraine in its defense against Russian invasion.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind for TIME

A gas station in La Mesa, Calif., on Feb. 22. It's one example of the many places where <a href="https://time.com/6154394/la-mesa-election-climate-change-san-diego/">gas prices spiked</a> in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Kevin Cooley—Redux for TIME)
A gas station in La Mesa, Calif., on Feb. 22. It’s one example of the many places where gas prices spiked in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kevin Cooley—Redux for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6159261/women-ukraine-war-russia/">Women tie strips</a> for camp nets at a library in Lviv on March 7, about two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine. (Natalie Keyssar for TIME)
Women tie strips for camp nets at a library in Lviv on March 7, about two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Natalie Keyssar for TIME

Gokuli Devi, 80, receives a vaccine at her home near Aghariya, India, on Sept. 4, 2021 because she is too frail to walk to a local <a href="https://time.com/6148101/india-covid-19-vaccination-success-himalayan-district/">COVID-19 vaccination</a> site. (Saumya Khandelwal for TIME)
Gokuli Devi, 80, receives a vaccine at her home near Aghariya, India, on Sept. 4, 2021 because she is too frail to walk to a local COVID-19 vaccination site.

Saumya Khandelwal for TIME

Workers build a house in Cajolá, <a href="https://time.com/6166459/guatemala-migration-economy-remittances/">Quetzaltenango, Guatemala</a>, paid for by remittances sent home by migrant workers, on April 8. (Daniele Volpe for TIME)
Workers build a house in Cajolá, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, paid for by remittances sent home by migrant workers, on April 8.

Daniele Volpe for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6128469/death-doulas-covid-19-pandemic/">End-of-life doula</a> Michelle Thornhill meets with her client, Estella Stackhouse, 101, at Stackhouse’s home in Philadelphia, on Jan. 19. (September Dawn Bottoms for TIME)
End-of-life doula Michelle Thornhill meets with her client, Estella Stackhouse, 101, at Stackhouse’s home in Philadelphia, on Jan. 19.

September Dawn Bottoms for TIME

A vendor on Khao San Road in Bangkok shows customers his different <a href="https://time.com/6208192/thailand-war-on-drugs-weed-legal/">cannabis offerings</a> on July 23. Thailand legalized marijuana on June 9, becoming the first country in Asia to do so. (Cedric Arnold for TIME)
A vendor on Khao San Road in Bangkok shows customers his different cannabis offerings on July 23. Thailand legalized marijuana on June 9, becoming the first country in Asia to do so.

Cedric Arnold for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6231229/georgia-governor-brian-kemp-wins-2022/">Stacey Abrams</a>'s brother Richard (left) and parents Carolyn (middle) and Robert (right), listen as she speaks to supporters at an election-night event in Atlanta on Nov. 8. (Gillian Laub for TIME)
Stacey Abrams’s brother Richard (left) and parents Carolyn (middle) and Robert (right), listen as she speaks to supporters at an election-night event in Atlanta on Nov. 8.

Gillian Laub for TIME

Black NFT artists gather at 17 E. 126th St in Harlem, New York City, for a photo shoot led by Brandon Ruffin. (Gioncarlo Valentine for TIME)

Black NFT artists gather at 17 E. 126th St in Harlem, New York City, for a photo shoot led by Brandon Ruffin.

Gioncarlo Valentine for TIME

The artists, along with various members of the community, came out to the iconic Harlem stoop on June 21 to recreate <a href="https://time.com/6194057/harlem-nft-artists-hip-hop-jazz/">iconic jazz and hip-hop photos</a> made in the same stoop in 1958 and 1998. (Gioncarlo Valentine for TIME)
The artists, along with various members of the community, came out to the iconic Harlem stoop on June 21 to recreate iconic jazz and hip-hop photos made in the same stoop in 1958 and 1998.

Gioncarlo Valentine for TIME

Severe flooding from <a href="https://time.com/6218192/hurricane-ian-photos/">Hurricane Ian</a> on Sanibel Island, Fla., on Sept. 29. (Christopher Morris for TIME)
Severe flooding from Hurricane Ian on Sanibel Island, Fla., on Sept. 29.

Christopher Morris for TIME

Professor of computer science and "chess detective" <a href="https://time.com/6227677/magnus-carlsen-hans-niemann-kenneth-regan-chess-scandal/">Kenneth Regan</a> inside a classroom at the University at Buffalo on Oct. 29, following a major scandal in which arguable chess GOAT Magnus Carlsen posted a cryptic tweet insinuating that Hans Niemann, a fast-rising 19-year-old American, had cheated in order to upset Carlsen in a tournament game in St. Louis. (Sinna Nasseri for TIME)
Professor of computer science and “chess detective” Kenneth Regan inside a classroom at the University at Buffalo on Oct. 29, following a major scandal in which arguable chess GOAT Magnus Carlsen posted a cryptic tweet insinuating that Hans Niemann, a fast-rising 19-year-old American, had cheated in order to upset Carlsen in a tournament game in St. Louis.

Sinna Nasseri for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6181469/world-cup-ukraine-soccer-fifa/">Ukraine’s national men’s soccer team</a>, prior to defeating Scotland in World Cup qualifying game in Glasgow on June 1. Unfortunately, Ukraine lost to Wales on June 5, and so could not secure a spot in November’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. (Ciril Jazbec for TIME)
Ukraine’s national men’s soccer team, prior to defeating Scotland in World Cup qualifying game in Glasgow on June 1. Unfortunately, Ukraine lost to Wales on June 5, and so could not secure a spot in November’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Ciril Jazbec for TIME

Sheryl Blancato of Second Chance Animal Services carries <a href="https://time.com/6144366/dog-adoption-relocation-aspca/">2-month-old Presley</a>, who just flew from Mississippi to Massachusetts, on Sept. 10, 2021. Presley was one of the millions of dogs whose lives were saved by being relocated last year. (Evan Angelastro for TIME)
Sheryl Blancato of Second Chance Animal Services carries 2-month-old Presley, who just flew from Mississippi to Massachusetts, on Sept. 10, 2021. Presley was one of the millions of dogs whose lives were saved by being relocated last year.

Evan Angelastro for TIME

Lora King, <a href="https://time.com/6153025/rodney-king-george-floyd-families/">daughter of Rodney King</a>, cries as she views a photograph of her father Rodney King being beaten by members of the LAPD during a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27. (Ruddy Roye for TIME)
Lora King, daughter of Rodney King, cries as she views a photograph of her father Rodney King being beaten by members of the LAPD during a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27.

Ruddy Roye for TIME

Flamingos in the brine lagoon near where Lake Resources' Kachi project will be developed, photographed on March 9. Flamingos live in fragile ecosystems threatened by the expansion of <a href="https://time.com/6200372/lithium-mining-technology-argentina-gold/">lithium mining</a> in the region. (Sebastián López Brach for TIME)
Flamingos in the brine lagoon near where Lake Resources’ Kachi project will be developed, photographed on March 9. Flamingos live in fragile ecosystems threatened by the expansion of lithium mining in the region.

Sebastián López Brach for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6200608/joy-behar-the-view-interview/">Joy Behar</a> behind the scenes in the studio for The View, which turned 25 this year, on July 18. (Peter Fisher for TIME)
Joy Behar behind the scenes in the studio for The View, which turned 25 this year, on July 18.

Peter Fisher for TIME

Supporters cheer as it rains on a <a href="https://time.com/6232075/republicans-blame-game-trump-elections/">Donald Trump rally</a> in Miami on Nov. 6. (Andres Kudacki for TIME)
Supporters cheer as it rains on a Donald Trump rally in Miami on Nov. 6.

Andres Kudacki for TIME

Fortum Waste Solutions Oy's <a href="https://time.com/6132391/finland-end-waste/">circular economy</a> facility in Häme, Finland on Dec. 14, 2021. Here, waste material collected from regular households is sorted automatically, and then made into reusable plastic. (Ingmar Björn Nolting for TIME)
Fortum Waste Solutions Oy’s circular economy facility in Häme, Finland on Dec. 14, 2021. Here, waste material collected from regular households is sorted automatically, and then made into reusable plastic.

Ingmar Björn Nolting for TIME

A Ukrainian soldier observes pro-Russian forces amassed on the front line in the breakaway Donetsk region of Ukraine on Feb. 8. (Maxim Dondyuk for TIME)

A Ukrainian soldier observes pro-Russian forces amassed on the front line in the breakaway Donetsk region of Ukraine on Feb. 8.

Maxim Dondyuk for TIME

The skeletal <a href="https://time.com/6158693/heber-wild-horse-killings-arizona-betty-nixon/">remains of a horse</a> on March 21, found by Arizona resident Betty Nixon, who has been documenting the killing of wild horses in the region for over three years. (Bryan Schutmaat for TIME)
The skeletal remains of a horse on March 21, found by Arizona resident Betty Nixon, who has been documenting the killing of wild horses in the region for over three years.

Bryan Schutmaat for TIME

Attendees of the <a href="https://time.com/6160143/anti-abortion-roe-wade-supreme-court/">March for Life</a>, held the day before the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling of <em>Roe v. Wade</em>, stand in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, on Jan. 21. (M. Levy for TIME)
Attendees of the March for Life, held the day before the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade, stand in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, on Jan. 21.

M. Levy for TIME

Soldiers prepare a <a href="https://time.com/6212698/nuclear-missiles-icbm-triad-upgrade/">Minuteman III</a>—a U.S. military intercontinental ballistic missile—to be lowered into the silo on July 19. It is part of a $100 billion plan to modernize America's aging nuclear missile system. (Benjamin Rasmussen for TIME)
Soldiers prepare a Minuteman III—a U.S. military intercontinental ballistic missile—to be lowered into the silo on July 19. It is part of a $100 billion plan to modernize America’s aging nuclear missile system.

Benjamin Rasmussen for TIME

An abandoned gold dredger sits in the tundra behind Nome, <a href="https://time.com/6174947/melting-arctic-indigenous-communities-alaska/">Alaska</a>, on Sept. 19, 2021. The present-day city of Nome was established as a result of the gold rush that brought thousands of prospectors in the early 1900s. (Acacia Johnson for TIME)
An abandoned gold dredger sits in the tundra behind Nome, Alaska, on Sept. 19, 2021. The present-day city of Nome was established as a result of the gold rush that brought thousands of prospectors in the early 1900s.

Acacia Johnson for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6172924/ukraine-refugees-netherlands/">Ukrainian refugees</a> Julia and Danilo Martyshkina aboard the <em>M.L.V Castor</em>, a restored Cold War-era Dutch gunboat docked in the center of Rotterdam, on April 30. (Max Pinckers for TIME)
Ukrainian refugees Julia and Danilo Martyshkina aboard the M.L.V Castor, a restored Cold War-era Dutch gunboat docked in the center of Rotterdam, on April 30.

Max Pinckers for TIME

Alexis Grefa, a Kichwa Indigenous activist, takes a dip in the <a href="https://time.com/6224546/fight-to-save-ecuador-piatua-river/">Piatúa River</a>, which he seeks to protect, on April 26. (Andrés Yépez for TIME)
Alexis Grefa, a Kichwa Indigenous activist, takes a dip in the Piatúa River, which he seeks to protect, on April 26.

Andrés Yépez for TIME

Soldiers say <a href="https://time.com/6159261/women-ukraine-war-russia/">emotional goodbyes</a> to their partners at the Lviv train station before heading to the front lines of the Ukrainian-Russian war, on March 8. (Natalie Keyssar for TIME)
Soldiers say emotional goodbyes to their partners at the Lviv train station before heading to the front lines of the Ukrainian-Russian war, on March 8.

Natalie Keyssar for TIME

<a href="https://time.com/6215096/pakistan-flooding-photos/">A flooded bazaar in Jhuddo</a>, Sindh province, Pakistan, on Sept. 9, in the midst of an unprecedented and devastating monsoon season. (Hassaan Gondal for TIME)
A flooded bazaar in Jhuddo, Sindh province, Pakistan, on Sept. 9, in the midst of an unprecedented and devastating monsoon season.

Hassaan Gondal for TIME

Alexey Navalny on a monitor screen at the TV studio of his headquarters-in-exile in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Jan. 12. In the TV studio, Navalny’s allies film video investigations that are broadcast into Russia, routinely finding an audience of millions. (Rafał Milach—Magnum Photos)

Alexey Navalny on a monitor screen at the TV studio of his headquarters-in-exile in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Jan. 12. In the TV studio, Navalny’s allies film video investigations that are broadcast into Russia, routinely finding an audience of millions.

Rafał Milach—Magnum Photos

<a href="https://time.com/6186538/david-hogg-guns-march-for-our-lives/">David Hogg</a>, a 22-year-old gun control activist and survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, travels with security guards as he lobbies for gun control in Washington, D.C., on June 9. (Shuran Huang for TIME)
David Hogg, a 22-year-old gun control activist and survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, travels with security guards as he lobbies for gun control in Washington, D.C., on June 9.

Shuran Huang for TIME

Attendees dance at the Fiesta Youth LGBTQ Youth Prom in San Antonio on May 7. Each spring, the group holds a <a href="https://time.com/6184659/trans-youth-gender-expansive-photo-essay/">prom specifically for LGBTQ teens</a>. (Annie Flanagan for TIME)
Attendees dance at the Fiesta Youth LGBTQ Youth Prom in San Antonio on May 7. Each spring, the group holds a prom specifically for LGBTQ teens.

Annie Flanagan for TIME

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