12 Incredible Photo Stories You Absolutely Can’t Miss

Here are the most interesting and powerful photo stories from across the web.

1. “Postcards from a Modern-Day Hippie Paradise” — Vice

Denis Vejas

Since 1972, the Rainbow Family Gathering has been a place where free love is expressed without rules, reservations, or clothes, for that matter. From 2011 to 2014, photographer Denis Vejas traveled to their annual meeting places to document what a neo-hippy-anarchist utopia would look like in an age of digital culture and global consumerism. Think Burning Man, but without the celebrities and the AT&T sponsored cool-down tent.” —Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News

2. “A Photographer Has Painstakingly Re-Created Photos Of Young People He Took In The ’70s And ’80s” — BuzzFeed News

Chris Porsz / Bav Media

Chris Porsz’s photographs can be perfectly described as a ‘time-travelling’ series. As an amateur photographer in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Porsz walked around his hometown of Peterborough taking photographs of strangers. In the last few years he has gone to great lengths to re-create the images he took decades before, tracking down the same people and posing them in the original location. The remarkable results are demonstrated brilliantly using BuzzFeed’s slide effect.” —Laura Gallant, picture assistant, BuzzFeed UK

3. “Black Skies Above Mosul” — The Atlantic

Yasin Akgul / AFP / Getty

The media has been saturated with images from the front lines of Mosul ever since the new offensive began. What sets this photo essay apart is the focus on those who are living in this war zone in the shadow of endlessly burning oil fires. These pictures capture the men, women, and children who are trapped under sunless skies and blackened clouds, covered in soot as they make their way past shallow pools of oil. Most haunting are the photos of children playing and livestock grazing, all stained in this carcinogenic residue from head to toe. This is their new normal.” —Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

4. “NYC Newsstands” — Nei Valente

Nei Valente

In the fall of 2007, roughly 200 privately-owned businesses were seized by the city of New York, torn down, and replaced with identical steel and glass boxes imported by Spanish company Cemusa. This has become an all too familiar refrain — once ubiquitous aspects of daily life fading into obscurity. For his 2016 series, photographer Nei Valente traveled the city, capturing the idiosyncratic charm of the humble newsstand and the businessmen stationed within them. The photos themselves reveal a savvy adaptability: As the primary earnings vehicle (newspapers and magazines) have diminished, the stock of candy bars and cell phone accessories has increased. Valente’s presentation of the work, the almost seamless texture of products created by running the photos up against one other, is particularly captivating.” —Ben King, deputy design director, BuzzFeed News

5. “Rare Photographs of the US Civil Rights Struggle Beyond the South” — Hyperallergic

Getty Research Institute

Getty Research Institute

 

The images of protests and turmoil during the 1960s civil rights movement are seared into our collective memory as pictures that define an era. These are not those pictures. Instead, historian and author Mark Speltz has collected over 100 rare and unseen images from civil rights action outside of the American South. His book, North of Dixie, completes many of the gaps that most 1960s narratives omit from our national story.” —GHS

6. “Photographer Has Found The Exact Spots Where Album Covers Were Created” — BuzzFeed

Alex Bartsch / Via alexbartsch.com

Photographer Alex Bartsch makes a daunting task appear seamless — finding the exact locations of album covers throughout London and re-creating the scene. In such a historic city, the backdrops are very much the same as when the original photos were shot, which creates an interesting narrative around the passage of time. This series is refreshing and beautiful — a welcome escape from more serious, news photo stories.” —Sarah Kobos, photo editor, BuzzFeed

7. “Looking back after 100” — theWashington Post

Paul Mobley

All the feels, looking at Paul Mobley’s work in this collection of beautiful portraits of centenarians across the US. The images and quotes reflect the dignity and whimsy of old age, the passage of time a badge of honor to be shared.” —KB

8. “These Photos From A Chinese Factory Are Haunting” — BuzzFeed News

Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

These pictures are apocalyptic to say the least. Contained in Kevin Frayer’s gritty and dark images of Inner Mongolia’s steel mines is not only the visual proof of Asia’s high-polluting factories spewing toxic pollutants into Earth’s atmosphere, but also a grim warning of the gloomy future we may soon inhabit if we don’t act now to curb greenhouse gas emissions.” —GHS

9. “The New York Times Black Male Glamour, as Style and Substance” — New York Times

The New York Public Library

This project is a love song to what was not, looking at how black men — some well known, others less so — were portrayed marginally throughout much of the course of history. Maurice Berger’s book uses style as a way to elevate the men from the edges of the story to the forefront, and does us all a favor by reflecting on the origins of ‘cool.’” —KB

10. “Phones and the City” — Reuters

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

“This photo series by Stefan Wermuth is as true as it gets as far as urban social commentary goes. His subjects: They’re you and me, no matter how much we deny how technology has taken over our lives. And what makes the photos so strong is how he presents the private and the public simultaneously and seamlessly.” —Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

11. “Losing More Than Land at Standing Rock” — Time

Larry Towell / Magnum Photos

The situation in Standing Rock remains uncertain, as the governor and the Army Corps have made motions to dislodge the protesters, only to walk back their threats of removal to more insidious motions such as not guaranteeing EMS services. The construction itself remains at a standstill, frozen out by the weather as much as by popular opinion, and it is against this backdrop of conflict that Larry Towell’s work resonates. His black and white images reflect the curious alliances and contradicting tones. They are quiet, historical photos for a moment in time that is still very alive — a pause from the drama to reflect on the significance of Standing Rock as more than a mere protest, but a reckoning of identity.” —KB

12. “The shocking truth about hair extensions revealed” — the New Zealand Herald

Mike Scott

This well-crafted and beautifully presented investigation is what 21st century storytelling should look like. The piece takes us on a journey from source to consumer, via compelling words and moving imagery, and tackles a topic as complex as international trade exploitation while keeping the narrative exciting and thought provoking.” —AM

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