Showing August’s best photography through a new lens: Our intern

Shaun Fury holds his son Zion Fury on La Costa Beach in Malibu near homes
Shaun Fury, 29, holds his son Zion Fury, 1, on La Costa Beach in Malibu. After more than 50 years with a short stretch of beach fenced off, local government agencies tore down the illegal fence constructed by Malibu homeowners and opened the sliver to the public.
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

A quiet moment of fatherhood on a newly accessible beach, isolated from the city bustle. A visit with a soon-to-be mother turned into a family’s first portrait. A doctor’s moment of calm, when beauty in a COVID-19-filled hospital is hard to find. A grave international crisis that doesn’t acknowledge geographic or diplomatic borders.

Photography by Times staff photojournalists can reveal not only the world they are seeing but also who they are. In this month’s review that I curated, 15 staff members offer images that give readers a view of America and the world.

This collection presents an intimate perspective from visual storytellers — motivated by the news breaking around them. For the past few weeks, they’ve documented raging fires, Olympic history and stunning portraits of people who may look familiar.

As a photo editing intern, I see these images for their glory but I also understand the journeys necessary to arrive at these slivers of history. The photographs, which are accompanied by my own notes, also appear in print and online across this month’s coverage. Just a warning: Graphic content follows.

Gladys Sanchez cries while her partner rests his chin on her shoulder
Gladys Sanchez cries while in pre-labor at home with her partner, Justin Charlton, in downtown Los Angeles.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)
A pregnant woman shown in profile walks near trees.
Two days overdue, Tiana Wright goes on a walk around her neighborhood in Temple City. She is to give birth at Kindred Space LA and the midwives have recommended daily walks to help start labor. This will be Tiana’s third baby but first time giving birth outside a hospital and with midwives.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)
Ashanique Nelson-Cavil holds her baby girl with her husband close by.
Ashanique Nelson-Cavil holds her baby girl, Indigo Amani Cavil, with her husband, William Iman Cavil, moments after birth at Kindred Space LA in Hyde Park. Ashanique says that the support at Kindred Space LA has given her the gift to see birth work as ancestral wisdom and has offered a community during this life-changing time.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

Photojournalist Dania Maxwell’s long-term project about Black midwives in South L.A., above, documents the important and compassionate work of Allegra Hill and Kimberly Durdin. Maxwell’s intimate photo essay narrates the complex birth process and the magical first moments of Black motherhood.

A woman brushes her daughter's hair at home.
Camp fire victim and volunteer firefighter Inez Salinas brushes her daughter River’s hair inside their home in Concow, Calif. More than three years after the tragic Camp fire destroyed the town of Paradise and the surrounding communities, families are still living in trailers and small homes.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Centering on the experiences of Inez Salinas and her daughter River, photojournalist Gina Ferazzi set out to reveal the reality of life for the roughly 50,000 people who were displaced by the Camp fire in 2018. This scene, my favorite moment from the series, shows how layered this situation is. Readers are reminded of the tender moments occurring amid lives upended. Ferazzi focuses our attention on the love first and the harsh situation second.

Simone Biles is congratulated by her coach Cecile Landi, who holds Biles' head.
USA gymnast Simone Biles is congratulated by her coach Cecile Landi as it becomes evident she will earn a medal in the women’s balance beam final at Ariake Gymnastics Centre during the Tokyo Olympics.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Sarah Paulson stands wearing a colorful floor length flowered outfit with her rescue dog Winnie next to her.
Sarah Paulson, who can be seen this fall on “Impeachment: American Crime Story” as polarizing whistleblower Linda Tripp, poses on the Fox Studios lot with her rescue dog Winnie.
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

Why set up a studio backdrop when you plan on showing the setup in the final photo? For me, this visual tool creates a feeling that viewers are getting an inside look at the person being photographed. This portrait, made by photojournalist Mariah Tauger, pairs perfectly with the article’s headline: “Sarah Paulson has regrets about playing Linda Tripp. But she’s not ready to let her go.” The lighting itself, assisted by photojournalist and photo editor Ricardo DeArtanha, the pose, the expression and the inclusion of Paulson’s dog creates a feeling of intentionality and gives a regal tone.

A woman opens her mouth and drops her weights behind her
New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, the first transgender Olympian, can’t make the lift on her final try in the women’s 87 kilogram weightlifting final at the Tokyo Olympics.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Laurel Hubbard was catapulted to worldwide acclaim when she became the first openly transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics. This photograph, by photojournalist Wally Skalij alludes to a feeling of release. “Sport is something that all the people around the world can do,” Hubbard, 43, said. “It’s inclusive, it’s accessible and I think that’s just, just really fabulous.”

Anya Taylor-Joy looks straight ahead with a serious expression
Actor Anya Taylor-Joy, nominated for an Emmy for her role in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” poses for a photo.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
Dr. Anita Sircar bows her head outside a hospital room that has patients and hospital staff
Dr. Anita Sircar and her colleagues bow their heads and listen to a hospital chaplain offer up a reading inside the ICU in Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance.
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Dr. Anita Sircar, pictured above by photojournalist Francine Orr, is an infectious-disease physician and clinical instructor of health sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. Here is an excerpt from her Op-Ed “As a doctor in a COVID unit, I’m running out of compassion for the unvaccinated. Get the shot.”

“The burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated. On those who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to, a decision they defend by declaring, ‘Vaccination is a deeply personal choice.’ But perhaps never in history has anyone’s personal choice affected the world as a whole as it does right now,” she wrote.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom touches his mask.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with Latino leaders at Hecho en Mexico restaurant in East Los Angeles to urge them to vote no on the recall election.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
Kindergarten student August Russell clings to his mother, Natalie Russell.
Kindergarten student August Russell clings to his mother, Natalie Russell, as she tries to comfort him on his first day at Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy. Pasadena Unified students return to campus after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns and virtual learning.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

This photograph, made by photojournalist Al Seib, draws attention to the eyes, as many powerful images do. You can feel the intensity of the young boy’s emotion through his clinging gesture and distraught expression. When I saw August’s face, among other children’s faces, I sensed the weight of the pandemic and the anxiety caused by the search for normalcy.

A gray whale surfaces with open eyes
A playful gray whale in Laguna San Ignacio comes close to a boat of visitors and turns on his side in Baja California. The bodies of California gray whales began washing up along the protected inlets of Baja, where gray whales come every spring to nurse their young and mate.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

Since the end of 2019, when hundreds of gray whales inexplicably began to die by the scores along the Pacific coast, photojournalist Carolyn Cole began investigating and documenting the issue. In her collaborative project with staff writer Susanne Rust, she made thousands of photos. To me, this image stands out because it brings us closer to these giant animals and humanizes them. Sure, it’s a huge wonder to see the scale of the whales, but the eye draws us in.

A horse grazes in a blue agave field.
A horse grazes in a blue agave field in San Martin de las Canas, Mexico. The country, the source of all tequila, produced 60 million gallons last year — 800% more than 20 years ago. In the surrounding hills, blue agave, tequila’s main ingredient, is selling for record prices.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)
A huge plume of smoke billows skyward as a person stnads on a hill of trees
A huge plume of smoke billows skyward as the Dixie fire burns through mountainous and forested terrain near Janesville, Calif.
(Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times)
Greenville residents Gould Fickardt and Woody Hovland sit with their dogs outside a friend’s home.
Greenville, Calif., residents Gould Fickardt, 71, left, and Woody Hovland, 70, sit with their dogs, Primer, right, and Sheva outside a friend’s home. Fickardt owns the Waystation Bar and Apartments that burned down in a fire, and lived in one of the apartments. Hovland lived in a home in Greenville that was destroyed.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Imagery of fires has heavily permeated The Times’ summer coverage. But when I began to unpack the pictures I’ve culled through myself and the images I’ve seen across the paper, photojournalist Mel Melcon’s picture, above, immediately sprang to mind. Although this frame doesn’t directly show any flames or destruction, the facial expressions, the state of the dogs, the smoky color cast and the men’s backstories put viewers in the scene.

Two children play in the Grand Park fountain.
Zoe Valdez, 8, right, and Thiago Valdez, 4, of East Los Angeles play in the Grand Park fountain. A bout of hot, dry, windy weather in Southern California in early August prompted the National Weather Service to caution about fire weather conditions.
(Madeleine Hordinski/Los Angeles Times)
A girl in a white dress covers her eyes while playing hide-and-seek with other children at a park.
Raheel, 3, covers her eyes while playing hide-and-seek with other children at a park in Sacramento. Her father, Yar Mohammad, was in the Afghan army and worked with U.S. special forces before immigrating to the United States. When this photograph was made, his seven brothers, two sisters and parents were still in Afghanistan. He was very concerned for their safety.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A military transport plane takes off while Afghans watch and wonder while stranded outside.
A military transport plane takes off while Afghans who cannot get into the airport to evacuate, watch and wonder while stranded outside in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A man carries a bloodied child as a woman lies wounded on the street.
A man carries a bloodied child as a woman lies wounded on the street after Taliban fighters use gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control over thousands of Afghans who wait outside the Kabul airport for a way out.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Photojournalist and foreign correspondent Marcus Yam has been photographing and reporting on the U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan, the bombing outside Kabul’s airport and the ongoing uncertainty of the Taliban’s takeover since earlier this month. On Aug. 26, I worked with photo editor Keith Bedford to select which of Yam’s images would be on the front page for the Aug. 27 print edition. These three images, above and below, are a minuscule sample of Yam’s powerful, jarring photographs permanently recording the reality of the situation.

A wounded patient lies in the recovery unit at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital
A wounded patient lies in the recovery unit at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Twin bombings struck near the entrance to Kabul’s airport in late August, ripping through crowds of Afghans and foreign nationals waiting for evacuation from the country. The explosions complicated an already-nightmarish airlift just before the U.S. deadline to remove its troops from the country.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A U.S. military transport plane flies over as relatives and neighbors gather.
A U.S. military transport plane flies over as relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadi family gather around the incinerated husk of a vehicle that the family says was hit by an American drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. military is investigating the incident.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Not long after this picture was made, staff writers Nabih Bulos and Laura King published a story about the unceremonious end to America’s longest war. Here is an excerpt:

“With the roar of a U.S. military cargo plane lumbering into the night sky over Afghanistan’s Taliban-held capital, the last U.S. troops departed the country at almost the stroke of midnight Monday, ending America’s longest war and leaving lasting but disparate wounds that cut across two nations.

The momentous final scenes played out in darkness.”