A burning swastika at a Neo-Nazi rally, desperate migrants running from tear gas and a football team on the cusp of World Cup glory: Reuters unveils its Pictures of the Year
- Photographers traveled the world to capture the most important moments of 2018 for news agency Reuters
- Their Pictures of the Year include remarkable shots from terrifying war zones including Syria and Afghanistan
- But light-hearted images capture joking politicians and football players celebrating a goal in the World Cup
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
From war-torn regions to Brexit negotiations, Reuters photographers travelled the world to capture it all in 2018.
The news agency’s Pictures of the Year include remarkable shots from terrifying conflict zones including Syria, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip.
One shocking image included in the selection looks like a historical image from Nazi Germany – but is actually of neo-Nazis taking part in a swastika burning in the United States.
Others show the aftermath of an airstrike in Ghouta, Syria, journalists in Kabul, Afghanistan in the wake of a suicide blast and a migrant family running from tear gas at the US-Mexico border.
But more light-hearted images capture European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker joking with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt ahead of a debate and Croatian football players celebrating a goal against England during the World Cup in Russia.
These are Reuters Pictures of the Year…
A man gets stuck under debris at a damaged site after an airstrike in the Saqba area, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, on January 9, 2018. Reuters photographer Bassam Khabieh said he was planning on taking daily-life photos in eastern Ghouta, which was besieged by Syrian government forces at the time, when ‘a warplane dropped what looked like a large bomb that descended by parachute.’ After hearing a massive explosion, he headed for the area and saw ‘enormous destruction and heard voices calling for help.’ Khabieh said: ‘Abu Abdullah was buried to his waist in rubble. I was struck by how calm he appeared as the White Helmet rescue workers tried to dig him out. Although he knew he had lost his son and was wounded himself, he did not scream. He even tried to help his rescuers’
Former President Manuel Zelaya is helped by aides while being overcome by tear gas during a protest against the re-election of Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on January 12, 2018. Reuters photographer Jorge Cabrera said: ‘Some protesters vandalised the front of the Marriott Hotel, and police responded with tear gas and warning shots.’ Carbrera said Zelaya tried to quell the clashes, but got caught in the middle of the scuffle and his hat fell on the ground. As he tried to retrieve it, he was gassed and attacked by police. ‘What struck me the most was how the former president seemed to ignore the danger – the teargas and bullets – and he appeared solely focused on getting his hat back. But police soon charged again, and Zelaya never managed to retrieve it,’ Cabrera added
A resident reacts as he attempts to extinguish a fire that broke out at the Kijiji slums in the Southlands estate of Nairobi, Kenya, on January 28, 2018. Reuters photographer Thomas Mukoya said he quickly grabbed his camera and rushed to the scene after images of a fire in a poor Nairobi neighbourhood popped on his TV screen as he was preparing to go to bed. ‘When I arrived, I saw residents attempting to recover their belongings among the charred ruins. Some women were carrying their children away from the heat of the inferno when I noticed a man sifting through the burning rubble of what used to be his home. When I approached him, he was emotional and paid little attention to me. After a few minutes, he stood up and wiped tears from his face as I snapped the photo. Then he asked me, ‘Is this what the government can do to the people who voted it into office?’ I told him I would use my pictures to tell the story of the disaster that had befallen them, and I reassured him that help would be coming soon. ‘I’d rather die!’ he shouted as I walked away,’ Mukoya said
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Randall Margraves (left) lunges at Larry Nassar (wearing orange), a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan, on February 2, 2018. Reuters photographer Rebecca Cook was in court as Nassar sat at a table next to his attorney as 48 young women addressed the court, one by one, with painful stories of sexual abuse by the former Michigan State University sports doctor. Cook said that after Lauren and Madison Margraves spoke, their father Randall Margraves asked the judge: ‘Your Honor, can you grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon?’ Cook added: ‘The judge obviously had to deny that request, and I felt tension soaring in the courtroom filled with the pain of friends and families of Nassar’s victims. Suddenly, the Margraves sisters’ father lunged across the courtroom at Nassar. With no time to think, I snapped photos as he reached the table where Nassar was seated, clad in an orange jumpsuit. In the photo, police officers leap to grab Margraves and tackle him to the floor. Nassar remained still as his attorney moved to shield him’
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker jokes with European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt ahead of a debate on the Future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on February 6, 2018. Reuters photographer Vincent Kessler said: ‘The two know each other well, having also served as prime ministers of their neighbouring countries, partly at the same time. So an opportunity to take pictures of the two together is always interesting and this is why I decided to stand in front of Verhofstadt in the plenary room, waiting for Juncker to come over. Juncker is a character, always breaking the rules and ready to laugh and especially at himself. As Verhofstadt was reading some papers, Juncker discreetly snuck up behind him and ruffled his hair, giving us the opportunity of a nice and funny picture. Not the kind you usually expect in one of the hundreds of debates I have covered in Parliament!’
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks leaves after attending the House Intelligence Committee closed door meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on February 27, 2018. Reuters photographer Leah Millis said: ‘After about seven hours of waiting, Hicks suddenly appeared at the end of the hallway. I grabbed my backpack and broke into a sprint towards the northern exit with a videographer and no other photographers. We then backpedalled with Hicks for the long walk up the stairs that lead to First Street from the Capitol. I noticed the lit-up Capitol building behind her as we climbed the stairs and had the presence of mind to get it in the background of the photograph. Seven hours of waiting had culminated in a few minutes-long feverish dash and climb up the stairs.’ Millis added: ‘Hicks and myself were the only women at the scene. One of the videographers made a comment about her looks as we were walking, and I felt the need to show that she held her own, never stumbled or looked like a victim in that situation. Moments like these transcend barriers. I’m a photojournalist and she was my subject in that situation. But, in that moment, I could relate to her from one woman to another’
A migrant looks out from under a truck as a port police officer waits to detain him at the port of Patras, from where migrants try to smuggle themselves onto ferries to Italy, in Patras, Greece, on March 8, 2018. Reuters photographer Alkis Konstantinidis said: ‘It was during the final hours of my two-day access in the port when an officer with the coast guard’s special forces squad knelt beside a truck lined up for embarkation control and pointed his torch towards the undercarriage. Suddenly, he yelled, “Get down! Get down from there!” at two eyes peering back at him. A young man crawled out, checking his surroundings. He looked lost, and I shot some frames as he emerged between the wheels. He got up in silence and was quickly detained and handcuffed’
Relatives of inmates held at the General Command of the Carabobo Police wait outside the prison, where a fire occurred in the cells area, in Valencia, Venezuela, on March 28, 2018. Reuters photographer Carlos Garcia Rawlins said: ‘There was a desperate atmosphere as a crowd of several hundred people waited for news of their loved ones. Earlier in the day there had been clashes and the police had used teargas to disperse the families. Police officers were trying to update people, but no official statements had been made, and as people heard news of their relatives in the detention centre, a reaction would spread through the crowd. People were crying, fainting and shouting throughout the street. I was standing on the other side of the street when I heard a woman’s scream pierce the air. I rushed through the crowd and saw this woman. She was overwhelmed by grief and people cleared a space around her and tried to comfort her. This was a really difficult moment to photograph because her pain was so intense, I don’t think she even really noticed I was there.’ Later, authorities said 68 people died in the fire, including two women who were visiting inmates
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, puts her shoe back on after passing though a security screening, as she arrives at federal court in New York City on April 16, 2018. Reuters photographer Shannon Stapleton said: ‘This kind of assignment is hectic and intensely competitive. It was total chaos as everyone scrambled to get a picture of her. I ran to a window and tried to place myself by the metal detector that anyone entering the courthouse has to go through. I pinned my camera upon the glass, hoping Daniels would pass by me. She was wearing pastel pink and I knew that if I kept the focus on her, I would be able to get a clean shot. As Daniels made her way through the metal detector, I noticed she had to take off her high-heel shoes and sit down to put them back on. I knew in that moment that was the money shot: Daniels with her leg held up as she put her heels back on’
Supporters of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist political group, give Nazi salutes while taking part in a swastika burning at an undisclosed location in Georgia, US, on April 21, 2018. Reuters photographer Go Nakamura said: ‘I never fathomed capturing this image.’ He said he had been covering a ‘very uneventful white supremacy rally’ in Newnan, Georgia, early that day run by the National Socialist Movement when colleagues said they may be holding a secret ritual outside of the town later. He got permission to photograph the event. ‘We reached the backyard of a bar in the middle of nowhere where we saw a big wooden swastika and cross set up on the ground. Then, a group of some 15 neo-Nazis lit up their torches as they encircled the swastika and performed a Nazi salute. It was surreal. Adrenalin was rushing through my body, but I remained focused on capturing what was unfolding in front of my eyes.’ He added: ‘As we drove away, I set about unravelling the tangle of emotions I experienced that day that led to this photo’
A wounded Palestinian demonstrator, Haitham Abu Sabla, 23, is hit in the face with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a protest marking al-Quds Day, (Jerusalem Day), at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip on June 8, 2018. Reuters photographer Ibraheem Abu Mustafa said: ‘Demonstrators began hurling stones at the soldiers, and one soldier got off a jeep and began firing tear gas bombs at the protesters. Usually protesters would begin fleeing because those canisters can be dangerous and hit people in the head. I was surprised to see a man with gas coming out of his face. I was the first to notice it, and at the beginning I thought he might have put it inside his mouth kind of for fun, or out of defiance. Then I realised the gas bomb had penetrated his face and lodged inside it. Everything was happening in seconds. I began taking images of him as he ran, as he fell to the ground and as medics rushed to help him.’ He added: ‘It was shocking and horrifying for me, but I felt I had a responsibility to cover the event while keeping myself together. Especially during such a surprising incident’
Immigrant children are led by staff in single file between tents at a detention facility next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, on June 18, 2018. Reuters photographer Mike Blake said: ‘It was a lot of teamwork that made this picture happen, from finding the location to hunting down an aircraft for aerials while I flew into Texas on a commercial flight. The Trump administration’s new policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border had begun, but no one really understood until these images were transmitted out to the world the scale and reality of what was going on.’ He added: ‘Reuters was the first to show such aerial images of the camp and, in the next morning when both the New York Times and Washington Post fronted their print editions with what I had photographed, President Trump signed an order ending the separation policy’
A ballerina watches the broadcast of the World Cup quarter-final match between Russia and Croatia at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 7, 2018. Reuters photographer Anton Vaganov said: ‘It was a truly international summer in St Petersburg – the city was buzzing and thousands of soccer fans were milling around Nevsky Prospect singing and celebrating. I had been covering the fans in the city and was always looking for new ways to document the World Cup tournament. On the eve of the quarter-final between Russia and Croatia, the Russia Chief Photographer asked me to look for artists watching the match in the theatre. Ballet is closely identified with St Petersburg, so it makes a great combination.’ He added: ‘My editor had made a tight crop on the image and transformed it into this excellent picture. Photographers might work alone in the field, but we have a great team of colleagues who help make a great image possible’
Croatia players celebrate next to an AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after Mario Mandzukic scores their second goal against England during the World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on July 11, 2018. Reuters photographer Carl Recine said: ‘It was the 2018 World Cup semi-final – England and Croatia were facing off. Mandzukic was running right towards me. Suddenly he was right in front of me, filling the frame of my 70-200mm lens. I always try to keep a wider 16-35mm lens close by for moments like this, though they rarely happen. In fact, I had never found myself in a similar situation before. As his teammates stormed towards him to celebrate, I jumped off my seat to avoid being swept up by the whole Croatian team. But another photographer who was sitting next to me was accidentally knocked to the floor. I kept photographing the celebrations, which now engulfed my colleague. The Croatian players then picked the photographer up, made sure he was okay, found his glasses on the floor and placed them back on his head. It was a special and unique moment, and I was delighted to be part of it’
A crew member of NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue boat embraces Josepha from Cameroon in the central Mediterranean Sea, on July 17, 2018. Reuters photographer Juan Medina said: ‘As our rescue boat sighted the wreck of a raft, we saw a woman making an effort to wave, so we knew at least there was life there. It soon became clear she was the only survivor. Face down amid a bunch of loose planks and deflated rubber lay the corpse of a woman in a striped T-shirt and trousers. She had been dead for some time. And there was a four-year-old boy who the boat’s doctors said had died just hours before. The survivor was brought aboard in a state of deep shock and treated by doctors. She gave only her first name, Josepha, and said she was from Cameroon. She told doctors she had spent the previous night clinging to the wreckage, singing hymns and praying for deliverance. She would not tell us anything else about herself or the other passengers on the raft, nor did she say how it wrecked. The crew lifted the two dead bodies onto the deck, covered and put them on ice. There was general sadness and the feeling of powerlessness, but also joy at having found Josepha alive. Had we arrived a few hours later, she could have been dead’
A police officer pepper sprays a protester as another protester stands in front of the race director’s car at the 218-km Stage 16 from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon of the Tour de France, on July 24, 2018. Reuters photographer Stephane Mahe said: ‘The Tour security asked me to leave but I decided to stay as something more than a sporting episode was unfolding. Just before the arrival of the peleton, I saw two young women rush onto the road, shouting and blocking an official Tour car as farmers cheered them on. The gendarmes immediately sprayed tear gas at the two protesters, who screamed and struggled. I took my picture. The two women were quickly removed from the road and the peleton arrived. The cyclists slowed and then stopped, troubled by the tear gas in the air. They struggled to breathe, wiped their eyes. One even asked me if someone had thrown acid in his face. It was chaos. The race was held up for 17 minutes – very unusual. I thought of the two protesters, I knew it was a striking image. That evening, after this stage of Tour was over, I discovered that the photo had gone viral. The protesters had an audience for their fight against the loss of local farming subsidies. But the Tour went on’
Ayah, 37, a niqab wearer, weeps as she is embraced by a police officer during a demonstration against the Danish face veil ban in Copenhagen, Denmark, on August 1, 2018. Reuters photographer Andrew Kelly said he was following a large demonstration in Copenhagen protesting against the ban when he came across a scene that was ’emblematic of the polarizing issue.’ He said: ‘I wasn’t sure whether the police officer was going to fine them, but I quickly realized she was being very friendly. She spoke with one of veiled women, Ayah, who was visibly emotional. The officer reassured her, and the two women hugged as Ayah wept.’ He said the photo was widely picked up and sparked a heated debate on the ban. ‘People were divided: Many praised the officer, while others called for her suspension,’ he added. It also created huge interest in Ayah, who have interviews about how the ban affected her life but sudden notoriety also brought a lot of negative attention and Ayah has since retreated to a life away from the spotlight’
Ethiopian Federal Police officers detain a woman suspected of carrying explosives during the welcoming ceremony of Jawar Mohammed, a US-based Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo Protests, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on August 5, 2018. Reuters photographer Tiksa Negeri said people were dancing and chanting slogans in front of Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport as ‘they waited for their hero to land there.’ He said: ‘Some youths were assigned as security guards to check people arriving for the celebration and accompanying concert. I was out on the street to shoot the event. The atmosphere was joyous, everybody enjoying themselves, holding up Jawar portraits. About 30 minutes later, however, I bumped into some angry youths beating a young woman who apparently had refused to be checked and was suspected of carrying explosives. I followed them as they hustled her towards police. I was glad she was finally handed to police custody in one piece and she was taken away for investigation. I never heard of reports about her after that. I felt like I was in the right place to get the handover of the young woman, with her regretful expression, and I immediately got on my knees and took this picture’
A Honduran migrant protects his child after fellow migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, stormed a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on October 19, 2018. Reuters photographer Ueslei Marcelino said: ‘The migrants had already broken through the first police barricade on the Guatemalan side of the bridge. After a while, they moved towards the second barricade on the Mexican side. The push by the migrants to enter Mexico had eased and suddenly women and children formed a line and started to walk towards the police. There was a bit of pushing and shoving, and then things started to get increasingly chaotic. It was a march that turned into a protest and ended up in confusion. Of course, it affected me. I’m also a father of a nine-year-old girl. It was impossible not to think about being that father caught up in that panicked situation’
Honduran mother Maria Meza grabs the arms of her five-year-old twin daughters Cheili and Saira as they frantically run from a tear gas canister next to the U.S-Mexico border barrier in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 25, 2018. Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon said: ‘After nearly two weeks of documenting the harrowing journey of a caravan of mostly Central American migrants headed towards the U.S.-Mexican border, I snapped a picture I will never forget.’ She added: ‘Cheili is in diapers, Saira barefoot. Their mother is wearing a T-shirt from the Disney hit ‘Frozen,’ a movie I’ve seen many times with my own daughter. In the frantic moments after tear gas canisters hit the ground, the acrid smell engulfed the area. Children were crying, their eyes stung by the gas. I did not see who fired the canister, but I heard the sound come from the direction of the border fence as I, too, broke into a run. It was one of the first of several tear gas canisters I saw being used by border agents. I did not witness migrants behaving violently, but we were in a large area and I could not see everything that was happening. It is not my place to say who is right and who is wrong. I just took a photo of what I saw happening’
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