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8 Visual Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

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

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It’s been 16 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, and the country continues to be shaped by the events and the subsequent response. BuzzFeed’s Gabriel H. Sanchez curated this gallery of images from Sept. 11, 2001 — images that still hold such weight and serve as a reminder of just how harrowing and traumatic that day was for the US.

—Ariel Zambelich, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

It’s not often that we get to witness the end of an era, but this week NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn after a 13-year mission to document our planetary neighbor. In this multimedia experience chronicling the history of Cassini, we are granted access to some of the spacecraft’s final images it signed off one last time. Cassini’s stark imagery of Saturn and one of its moons, Enceladus, totaled nearly half a million pictures over its mission, creating a trove of information about the planet from its iconic rings to its many moons.

—A.Z.

In normal circumstances, hotels are usually no more than passing footnotes to travel and leisure. But when a hurricane as powerful as Irma passes through your hometown, they become a purgatory of sorts — places of anxiety and waiting as those fleeing the storm are left for days wondering if their homes will still be standing when they return. Here, photographer Nicole Craine hunkers down with a group of evacuees as they wait and wait for an all-clear to return home.

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

These days, with so many other topics to debate, Guantánamo has largely faded from our national consciousness, making photographer Debi Cornwall's work at the naval base and beyond so important. The images, which will be featured in her book Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay and at the Steven Kasher gallery on Oct. 26, refocuses the lens on the site. A stunning aspect of Debi's work is her portraits of released detainees, photographed in their current hometown with their backs to the camera. The photos are a reference to the rules Debi faced while working at the base and the idea that these uncharged former detainees may still struggle with their freedom.

—Laura Geiser, photo editor, BuzzFeed News

Opioid addiction has spread throughout the Midwestern United States, getting worse over the last few years. As newsrooms around the country continue to chip away at covering the epidemic, the Cincinnati Enquirer opted to put the scale of the crisis in context — sending four dozen journalists to spend a week documenting every corner of the crisis in their backyards. They collected the work into a timeline of words, photographs, videos, and infographics that builds on the urgency of the effects of heroin on their community, from addicts to families, and from treatment to police. The effect is almost overwhelming in its weight, bringing viewers into the homes of the people who live this crisis, day in and day out.

—A.Z.

In this photo essay, journalist Alice Driver weaves a story that, on first look, seems like a simple narrative of a beauty trend in Mexico. Where this story really shines is how it takes us through the culture of beauty — societal pressures to ensure their features are “perfectly symmetrical,” for example — and guides the narrative to discuss how women have learned the skill of applying permanent makeup, riding the popularity boom to economic autonomy and the ability to support their families.

—A.Z.

As destructive as Irma's path through the US was, it's possible that the hurricane's impact could had been several times more horrendous had the hurricane not made impact with Cuba first. In this selection of pictures curated by BuzzFeed News, we see first hand the devastating fury of nature and its serious human toll in a nation left to put the pieces back together.

—G.H.S.


Here are the most moving, sorrowful, and breathtaking pictures from the past week.

BuzzFeed's resident photo geek.

Contact Gabriel H. Sanchez at gabriel.sanchez@buzzfeed.com.

Contact Ariel Zambelich at ariel.zambelich@buzzfeed.com.

Laura is a photo editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Laura Geiser at laura.geiser@buzzfeed.com.

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