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10 Incredible Photo Stories You Absolutely Can’t Miss

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

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1. "In Nepal, A Monthly Exile For Women" — the New York Times

Poulomi Basu / Magnum Emergency Fund

Any woman knows having your period is not fun, but most don't have to be shut away in dark rooms, small huts, or where animals sleep. After a young woman recently died in a chhaupadi hut in Nepal, this photo series expands on the fear and dread that many Nepali women experience during what should normally be a natural, healthy occurrence. This quote from a 16-year-old really hits the nail on the head: "It is my first time in a chau. I feel very uncomfortable, I don’t sleep at all at night and cried the first three nights. I am really scared of boys, snakes, and when I hear voices of drunk men. I am scared of the darkness. I don’t think men understand menstruation. Women would not be suffering so much if they did."

—Sarah Kobos, photo editor, BuzzFeed

While the author here makes clear his disdain for classic punk rock (frankly, nobody asked), American Suburb X does a remarkable job of digging into the conceptual core of photographer Graham Macindoe’s new book of his punk upbringing, All The Young Punks. The pictures, as described here, are a refreshing window into a chaotic era of rebellion and rock-n-roll, while avoiding many of the familiar trappings of nostalgia that most punk retrospectives fall victim to.

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

3. "Oddly Calming Photographs Of People On Their Commute" — BuzzFeed

Nick Turpin

Windows layered in condensation create a highly romantic, if unorthodox, setting for portraits. However, the Londoners riding the bus in this book likely did not realize that they were being watched, let alone having their portraits taken. The series serves as a reminder that even when we get lost in our own internal worlds during our commutes, we are still a part of a larger, grander, and sometimes beautiful scene.

—Kate Bubacz, senior photo editor, BuzzFeed News

4. "The First Known Photograph of the White House" — Hyperallergic

Public Domain

As part of Hyperallergic’s ongoing series of art historical firsts, they’ve compiled the remarkable tale of the first picture to ever document the White House. Behind that image is the story of a Welsh immigrant named John Plumbe, Jr., who grappled with fame as one of America’s first prominent photographers. After falling into financial ruin, the man would tragically end his life by slitting his own throat with a straight razor, disappearing into obscurity. Over 100 years later, a collector would stumble upon a dusty box of John Plumbe, Jr.’s pictures at a San Francisco flea market and the rest is history.

—G.H.S

5. "How One Palestinian Family Uses Video To Document The Grim Reality Surrounding Them" — Washington Post

Lorenzo Tugnoli

On a surface level, Lorenzo Tugnoli’s work is beautifully gritty. The style is reminiscent of film scenes, which is fitting as the photojournalist captures the political and personal aftermath of a shooting, documented by a Palestinian family and submitted as evidence after an attack in the West Bank. The struggle with the ramifications to document the reality allows a poetic parallel between photographer and subject, activist and human, making this series as philosophical as it is visual.

—K.B.

Earning good money in remote Siberia comes with a lot of risk, as Amos Chapple discovered in the time he spent with the truckers in the region. But as he also points out, the idea of risk is relative. These guys have a different relationship with the environment than we would as visitors of the same place. There’s an element of trust that the ice beneath you won’t give in to the weight of a heavily-loaded truck. Or that if you stop once a while, you’ll actually get the best views that nature has to offer.

—Anna Mendoza, photo editor, BuzzFeed Australia

7. 23 Freemasons Offer A Look Inside The Secretive Society — BuzzFeed

Laura Gallant

These beautiful portraits and personal stories from Freemasons in London are an intriguing view into a world that many do not get to see. Freemasonry is known to be secretive by its nature, so to get this level of access is a rare event. The photographer Laura Gallant has drawn from years of knowledge of the Freemasonry world, with her father and brother being members in New York. The members’ accounts of their relationships with Freemasonry reveals extremely deep and personal connections with the "brotherhood." In a modern society where the "male identity crisis" is often talked about, this exploration of Freemasonry is food for thought on how some men find meaningful and fulfilling bonds with other men in 2017.

—Matthew Tucker, picture editor, BuzzFeed UK

8. "The Holy Mountain: Monks of Mount Athos" — The Guardian

Rick Findler

Rick Findler’s photo essay is a fine display not just of his photographic skill, but more so the generous insight into the daily lives of a remote community that would otherwise be inaccessible to many (including myself, a woman). There’s just something about life in isolation that makes it so intriguing for those outside that world. For me, personally, it’s knowing that self-sustaining communities actually exist in the modern times. I guess you just gotta have a little faith.

—A.M.

9. "Powerful Portraits of Wildfire Victims Lying Amongst Their Burned Belongings" — My Modern Met

Jeremy Cowart

I view Jeremy Cowart’s photo series Voices of Gatlinburg as a meditation on how we cope with tragedy. The devastation of losing your home and all your possessions in a fire is unthinkable for many of us, Cowart confronts that scenario by photographing those who have had their home destroyed in wildfires. He faces the reality head-on with photos of the victims lying in the midst of their charred homes using a drone. Whilst sad and poignant, the concept makes a profound statement about the loss of material possessions. Whilst their worldly goods have been destroyed, the most precious thing has survived the fire; the people.

—M.T.

10. "Rare, Behind-The-Scenes Photos From The Original Star Wars Set" — So Bad So Good

Lucas Film

Movie set photographs always offer such an interesting vantage point. Onscreen enemies could be best friends when the filming is over and vice versa. Even for an institution as well-known as Star Wars, these images open up a fresh look at the making of the original trilogy, showing a fun side of the actors and the relationships between them. The death of Carrie Fisher last week might mean some of these are difficult to look at, but it makes for a nice tribute to her in her most famous role.

—Laura Gallant, staff photographer, BuzzFeed UK

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