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11 Incredible Photo Stories You Absolutely Can’t Miss

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

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Ralf Mitsch
Ralf Mitsch

I’ve always been intrigued by tattoos (very tempted to get one myself, don’t know why it hasn’t happened). I understand their powers of self-expression and celebration of good design. But the pursuit of full-body tattoos — where there are more tattoos showing than natural skin — has not appealed to me, but fascinates me. Lauren Sarazen explores the universal love of tattoos in her feature on Lens Culture, illustrated by Ralf Mitsch’s beautiful portraits of tattoo fans showing off their body art in unflinching portraits.

—Matthew Tucker, picture editor, BuzzFeed UK

2. "Japan’s Wild, Creative Harajuku Street Style Is Dead. Long Live Uniqlo" — Quartz

Toru Yamanaka / AFP / Getty Images

What is photography when there’s nothing left to photograph? As this feature shows, such is the case in Japan’s most eclectic district. Harajuku has been a favorite destination for locals and tourists who are after quirky and colorful fashion. But slowly, what made the place so interesting has faded behind cheaper and more accessible commercial goods.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

3. "The Story Behind the Photograph That Made Ansel Adams Famous" — Artsy

Public Domain

Ansel Adams, along with his crew of early-20th-century photographers, Group f/64, changed the game for photography as an art. Before this, art photography was respected only if it embraced the pictorial elements of painting; it was the main reference point photographers had for what art looks like. But Ansel instead embraced the sharp focus and deep tonal spectrum of black-and-white photography, utilizing all the technical possibilities that the modern camera was capable of to make his art. Here, Artsy narrates the tale of how one of his earliest and most iconic images changed photography forever.

—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News

4. "This Is What It's Like on Board a Ship That Rescues Migrants at Sea" — BuzzFeed News

Sima Diab for BuzzFeed News

Hypothermia. Drowning. Freak storms. How great must the threat of peril be for one to abandon the comfort of land and set off in a tiny rubber boat with more than a hundred other people? Photographer Sima Diab spent three weeks with the crew of a ship prowling the Mediterranean, rescuing migrants. The MS Aquarius, a 253-foot-long ship with a previous life searching for oil and gas beneath the seafloor, now carries up over 430 people (including its crew). Operated by Medicins Sans Frontieres and SOS Mediterranee, the ship's crew has saved 1,823 so far. Diab documents the cramped and harsh conditions endured by both migrants and the crew, the tragedy of those who did not survive the journey, and the optimism for more favorable ports of call.

—Ben King, deputy design director, BuzzFeed News

5. "Cut In Two: Travels Along the US-Mexico Border" — The Guardian

Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

This documentation by three photographers traversing both sides of the length of the US–Mexico border was ambitious and dangerous at times, but it’s a simple concept that can educate people on what “the wall” actually is like. While their commentary gives depth to the piece, its strength lies in the photos — showing not just clear demarcations in land and lifestyle, but also how one side views the other.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

6. "South Sudan in Crisis as Famine Ravages World’s Newest Country" — NBC News

Siegfried Modola / Reuters

These photos are really, really difficult to look at, but they bring to light the horrifying reality that famine is still happening on a mass scale in parts of the world. Humanitarian groups state that the crisis is only expected to worsen.

—Kate Bubacz, senior photo editor, BuzzFeed News

Richard Kern
Richard Kern

There’s a certain raw sexuality that analog photography is capable of conveying like no other medium. A new book titled Polarized, by photographer Richard Kern, brings together his provocative and highly sexual Polaroids, spanning the 1980s to the early 2000s. These pictures are as elegant as they explicit, conveying an entire spectrum of beauty and emotion. FYI, this one is totally NSFW, so go home, kiddies.

—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News

8. "In Pictures: Miniature Worlds" — BBC

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is a masterful creator of miniature urban scenes. Each piece is painstakingly crafted to be an exact replica of the original. The scale of the art, on display in a gallery, allows the viewer to reimagine their own reality as giant in a small world. What I find so interesting is how photographs of the artwork transform their meaning and effect on the viewer. The tight images are well-shot, which makes it difficult to tell that these are tiny replicas, until the camera pulls back and we can accurately judge the scale. It's quite the reality check, and one can't help but question the notion that seeing is always believing.

—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

Redferns / Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Motown blew the music industry wide open with its sound: blending gospel and blues into catchy songs you couldn't help but play again and again. As the civil rights movement progressed and anti-Vietnam protests continued, many lent their voices to the cause to help turn the tide. This photo essay is a great look at some of Motown's most influential artists performing during the golden years of the label, before they could imagine how their sound would change the history of music, the industry, and America itself. If you're new to some of these artists, do yourself a favor and set up a playlist this weekend.

—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

10. "Meet Lisa Leone, the Photographer Who Captures Hip-Hop Royalty" — Highsnobiety

Lisa Leone

Some photographers are simply in the right place at the right time. One such photographer is Lisa Leone, a New York City native who came of age during the city’s emerging hip-hop scene of the 1980s and '90s. In this interview with Highsnobiety, Leone speaks on her personal experiences during that era, the challenges she faced in the industry, and her time working with everyone from Notorious B.I.G. to Nas, TLC, Snoop, and even Stanley Kubrick.

—Gabriel H. Sanchez, photo essay editor, BuzzFeed News

11. "Remembering the ’67 Red Sox ‘Impossible Dream’ Season" — Boston Globe

Frank O’Brien/Globe Staff

Here is a super-fun series looking back at the Red Sox in the golden years of baseball. The coverage from that era expanded beyond just sports action shots, giving an overall feel of the fans, the preparation, and the fun of the game.

—Kate Bubacz, senior photo editor, BuzzFeed News

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