Top 2021 photos: Times photographers reflect

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People sit by candles near destroyed buildings.
A Palestinian family holds a candlelight vigil to condemn the killing of children and other civilians amid the remains of homes in Gaza City destroyed by an Israeli military strike during an 11-day armed conflict in May.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The year burst upon us with flag-wielding pro-Trump rioters storming the Capitol. Later came an eerily empty Olympics, soon followed by the chaos and bloodshed signaling Afghanistan’s collapse and the Taliban’s rise. The effects of climate change burned deeper into the West. And COVID-19 maintained its grip, claiming more than 5 million lives globally over two years.

We were there, in Los Angeles, across the country and around the world, camera in hand. We were there as the nation witnessed the swearing-in of its first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president. We were there as people rolled up their sleeves to get vaccines in hopes of ushering in a return to life together.

News photography is meant to be consumed instantly — on paper, on screens, in endless scrolling feeds. The urgent present quickly becomes the past. When the photos are strung together at the end of the year, though, their essence and magic is restored. These images by Times photojournalists tell us to look again, slowly. If we do, we realize these photographs also point to our future and celebrate our resilience.

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This year, Times photo editors culled from more than 25,000 photographs in an attempt to recapture the year and visually represent the news.

This collection of images chronicles climate catastrophe, political unrest, artistic celebration and a few painterly scenes of everyday life: an affectionate couple hold their newborn child, a Holocaust survivor shares his story with readers and his own family simultaneously. But it’s also a tribute to the photographers’ voices.

This is 2021 told in pictures. Some images are graphic.

A woman hugs a person and cries.
People embrace in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis after former Police Officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

“When the jury delivered the guilty verdict convicting Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd, I felt the atmosphere instantly shift in Minneapolis,” photographer Jason Armond said. “Goosebumps covered my arms as I made my way through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at George Floyd Square. At some point, I consciously put down my camera for a brief moment to be present in the space.

“Shortly after I finished reflecting, in front of me two women spotted each other and let out a scream in celebration of the guilty verdicts. Their celebration quickly transitions into a prolonged embrace filled with deep guttural sobbing and tears of joy. At this moment, to me, it seemed as if the entire community exhaled in unison, and the heaviness gripping the city and country was collectively released.”

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A landscape shows low water levels.
A boat navigates Lake Mead, where a white “bathtub ring” along the shore — created by mineral deposits — shows how far below capacity the nation’s largest reservoir currently is. Water levels have hit their lowest points in history amid an ongoing drought, creating uncertainty about the water supply for millions of people in the Western United States.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A woman clutches her child and cries.
Mileydi Barrela, 26, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, clutches her daughter Zoe Barrela, 8, in La Joya, Texas. The two crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and waited to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Men in uniform sleep on the ground.
Members of the National Guard sleep in a hall of the U.S. Capitol as the House of Representatives convenes to impeach President Trump, nearly a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building to try to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

“It was such a surreal sight, to see troops quartered on the hard unforgiving floors of the U.S. Capitol building,” photographer Kent Nishimura said. “Perhaps the first time this sight was beheld in more than 150 years. A plaque nearby where Guardsmen were resting commemorated a time when soldiers were quartered in the building; the date: April 15, 1861. It was a quiet moment, that I saw come together as I walked up the spiral staircase of the Small House Rotunda, the lines leading my eyes to the sleeping Guardsmen. A grim, yet poignant reminder of what had happened, only a week earlier.”

A woman walks beside cars holding a vaccine.
An out-of-state nurse walks through parked cars with a vaccine in hand at a mass vaccination site at the Convention Center in Ontario, Calif.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A cloud of smoke rises while a firefighter watches.
A plume of smoke billows skyward as the Dixie fire, the second-largest in state history, burns through mountainous and forested terrain near Janesville, Calif.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“Climate change has fallen off the cliff,” photographer Luis Sinco said as the Dixie fire’s grip passed its fifth week. “Charred earth, evacuated communities and property destroyed. Smoke drifts around the globe. No end in sight.”

A man gives a haircut to another man on the corner of a street.
Jacket Rashad gives Rashad Karim, a food vendor, a haircut on Degnan Boulevard in Leimert Park. The community was excited after pandemic restrictions were eased and was preparing for a huge Juneteenth block party.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A man in a gas mask carries another man while running.
A Palestinian struggling to breathe is carried away during a protest against the Jewish settlement outpost Eviatar in the West Bank. Demonstrators threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces, and soldiers responded with tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A woman in a wedding dress sits among tents in a park.
Valerie Zeller prepares for her wedding outside her tent next to Echo Park Lake in L.A. She and her soon-to-be husband, Henry, are homeless and live in tents in the park. Members of the Wilderness International Church and other church groups helped the couple with the wedding.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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A drone view of a beach with oil scattered on the sand.
A major oil spill washes ashore on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

“Covering the Huntington Beach oil spill was very personal for me,” photographer Allen J. Schaben said. “As a photojournalist, I spend a lot of time in the ocean taking photos of wildlife, the environment, surfing, paddleboarding and scuba diving. This directly affected me, wildlife and so many people who enjoy the ocean.

“This photo was taken at a spot I surf at weekly, the Santa Ana River jetties, and it was so depressing to see oil washing ashore. The drone is a useful tool to help provide a high angle of the oil spill’s impact that is not visible to most people. Since so many people are visually oriented these days, it’s my job to come up with impactful, creative and storytelling images, and the drone offers a lot of visual options.”

A woman in a dress stands on a white backdrop with her dog.
Sarah Paulson, who appeared as Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” poses on the Fox Studios lot with her rescue dog, Winnie.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
A man stands in a destroyed home.
Jose Bacerra, 52, stands inside his home that was badly damaged after the LAPD ignited an explosion in the 700 block of East 27th Street while trying to safely detonate a cache of illegal fireworks.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A man walks past a view of the Port of Los Angeles.
The Port of Los Angeles operates around the clock to alleviate a logistical bottleneck that has left dozens of container ships idling offshore and Americans waiting longer to get products manufactured overseas.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A woman wearing a head covering poses for a portrait.
Some Muslims think about their lives as having two chapters — before Sept. 11, 2001, and after. Then there’s a generation, including Aissata Ba, that only knows a world in which one terrible day changed their country.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

“This whole story is close to my heart,” photographer Irfan Khan said. “Working in media and looking at the way that media portray Muslims — it’s filled with stigma. Doing this story, I thought about the young people who were shut out by many Americans even though they weren’t even born during 9/11. It is hard to really understand this. Only a Muslim child and a Muslim family can understand.”

Two people and two large video screens are seen on a baseball field.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his State of the State address virtually from an empty Dodger Stadium as his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, looks on.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A child watches a nurse administer a vaccine.
Monserat Ramos, 3, watches as her grandparents are vaccinated at a clinic run by MLK Community Healthcare in South Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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Men watch a man ride a bull.
Fellow cowboys cheer on eventual winner Ouncie Mitchell as he rides in the final at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in Las Vegas.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A view of the night sky and a bridge.
The 6th Street viaduct replacement project continues near downtown. The new span will feature 10 lighted sets of arches forming a “Ribbon of Light.”
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Two  women embrace and smile.
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles is congratulated by her coach Cecile Landi as it becomes evident Biles will earn a medal in the women’s balance beam final at Ariake Gymnastics Center during the Tokyo Olympics.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“Without going into the minutiae of shuttle buses, crowded sidelines, television camera operators blocking our views of the athletes, the Tokyo Olympics was like none of the others I have covered,” photographer Robert Gauthier said. “No fans in the stands, the unseen threat of the coronavirus cast a heavy pall over the competition. But the competitive spirit of the athletes and the determination of the local staff and volunteers won out.

“Simone Biles embraced by her coach, Cecile Landi, after an intense week of fear, disappointment and scrutiny is my favorite image of the Games. Given the back story, it’s equal to 1,000 words and yet still an intimate moment. The relief on Biles’ face, the warm embrace of her coach, Landi’s face mask, the American flag. The image notwithstanding, this is one moment I’ll remember a long time.”

People sit spaced out in a movie theater.
Moviegoers watch “Raya and the Last Dragon” during the El Capitan Theatre’s reopening in Hollywood after some pandemic restrictions are lifted. The theatre was limited to 100 guests, and alternating rows of seats were blocked to create social distancing.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A man falls after clearing the pole vaulting bar.
Brazil’s Augusto Dutra clears the bar in the men’s pole vault qualifying event at the Tokyo Olympics.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

“Heading into my eighth Olympics, I knew things would be different,” photographer Wally Skalij said. “With the heat, never-ending bus rides between venues and the daily testing, our coverage was limited. Because of social distancing, photo positions were lacking, and on some occasions, we had to get there three hours in advance to get the best spot. Did I mention the heat?

“Panning horizontally is a common technique, so I tried to do it in a vertical manner. I only succeeded once out of over 100 frames where the face is sharp.”

A woman poses for a portrait.
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)
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A baseball player runs past a base.
Chris Taylor celebrates his game-winning home run as the Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild-card game at Dodger Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
A horse stands among plants.
A horse grazes in a blue agave field in San Martin de las Cañas, Jalisco, Mexico. Celebrity tequila brands have impacted the tequila industry and the environment in Jalisco.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
A man stands in a motel room doorway under purple lighting.
C’Tory Matthews smokes a cigarette in the doorway to his room at the Desert Moon Motel. The motel, located off a gritty section of Fremont Street in Las Vegas, is home to people who are “trying to get on their feet and survive,” its manager said.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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Marine One, carrying President Biden, flies over the public art installation “In America: Remember” near the Washington Monument. The 650,000 flags planted on the National Mall commemorated the Americans who had died of COVID-19. By year’s end, the toll had exceeded 800,000.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
A crowd of men look at the sky.
Jet fighters circle above during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as family members attend a funeral for 10 people killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A man's amputated legs are seen on a bed.
Bill Crawford, a diabetic and double amputee, lies in bed in his living room in Watts. Because of delays in treatment, Crawford hasn’t been able to get approval for the physical therapy he needs to learn to walk on his prosthetic legs, which have been sitting in his garage for nearly two years.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“Before COVID hit, the No. 1 surgery done at this hospital was diabetic amputations. What does that tell us about this community?” photographer Francine Orr said.

“We were trying to put context to the area around the hospital. What are the medical issues that patients are dealing with beyond COVID? This community deals with racism. It’s hard hit by poverty. It’s a food desert. And if you look at the history of the area, there are people who are forced to live in this area based on their ethnicity.

“I got to see Mr. Crawford’s courage. And I’m grateful for him to allow me to look beyond what the majority of people may see from the audience. And I got to see his courage and his drive to survive for his family.”

A man walks among clouds of dust on a beach.
Cold, gusty winds raise clouds of dust in Long Beach ahead of a storm.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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A man stands with his goat
Joe McMenimen, 44, embraces his pet Nubian goat, Tom Brady, in Hollywood. McMenimen said he lost his apartment during the pandemic and he is now living in a vehicle with his goat in Hollywood.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A man wipes off sweat amid machinery and a pile of rice.
James Jin pauses to wipe his brow as he manually mixes steamed rice early in the process of brewing his craft sake. Jin, owner and brewer at Nova Brewing Co., has brought the ancient art of sake brewing into the present, mixing traditional methods with the use of precise data and science to shape a rice wine that is uniquely Southern Californian.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“The photo of craft sake brewer James Jin sweating over a pile of rice captures everything I was hoping to show as I documented his story over the course of a few months,” photographer Robert Gauthier said.

“Jin often works alone late into the night, massaging steaming piles of rice in his meticulous pursuit of his own unique brand of sake. Leading up to this moment, he spent hours gathering data on another sake brew while precisely steaming five containers of rice stacked over a large gas burner. He is innovative, creative, smart and a really nice guy. The photo doesn’t communicate all that, but it’s still true.”

A man poses for a portrait under red and blue lighting.
“Music history is kind of in my DNA,” said American musician Questlove, aka Ahmir Khalib Thompson.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
A man and woman hold a baby together.
Moments after giving birth, Ashanique Nelson-Cavil holds her baby girl, Indigo Amani Cavil, with her husband, William Iman Cavil, at Kindred Space L.A. in Hyde Park.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

A few months after starting to photograph the story of two Black midwives in L.A., photographer Dania Maxwell became pregnant with her second baby. She didn’t anticipate how documenting the story would affect her as a journalist and a mother.

“I continued appointments with my obstetrician, which because of the pandemic were boiled down to the essentials,” Maxwell said. “My body and pregnancy felt like a medical condition that needed expedient treatment, not like joyful preparation for the arrival of a new life.

“As I spent more time with the birth workers and their patients, I began to question more and more where I wanted to deliver. Where would I feel safest, where would I feel most cared for? My questioning was tangled up with anxiety about COVID-19 and my emotional well-being as a pregnant woman during a pandemic.”

A man sits in a small tent and rubs his feet as the sun sets.
As dusk settles in, Sammy Potter rubs his feet inside his one-man tent after a day of hiking more than 25 miles with Jackson Parell along the Pacific Crest Trail in Plumas National Forest in Little Grass Valley, Calif. The Stanford students completed the Triple Crown of hiking in one calendar year.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
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Throughout the hikers’ nine-month journey, which spanned more than 7,000 miles, photographer Gina Ferazzi visited the pair nearly every month.

“I was amazed by their mental perseverance,” Ferazzi said. “Though the hikers spent all day together, at this moment, they seemed alone in their thoughts.”

Boat slips and dry dirt are seen in an aerial view.
Boat slips lie stranded on dry land as water levels recede at drought-stricken Folsom Lake.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Deer walk among burnt trees.
Deer, searching for food at the end of a day, make their way past trees scorched by the Dixie fire in Greenville, Calif.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

“With each passing mile, the smoke from the Dixie fire got thicker and thicker as I drove up Highway 89,” photographer Mel Melcon said. “If you have ever looked out of the window of a jetliner as it graces the clouds, that’s what it felt like, except this time I was the pilot.

“Once I got out of the car, the smell of an overflowing ashtray filled my nose. This was one town I was sure of where nobody on this day was anti-mask. As I walked in, seeing structure after structure burned to the ground, the terrible reality set in. And all those once-beautiful trees are completely scorched. The only thing — it seemed to me — that was still green in Greenville was the name itself.”

A dead whale lays in wet sand.
A dead gray whale is washed ashore in Del Norte County. Since the start of 2019, an increasing number of gray whale strandings have occurred along the West Coast from Mexico through Alaska.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

“Global warming is causing havoc to our oceans,” photographer Carolyn Cole said. “Gray whales are only one of many species affected. To report on their troubles, I traveled to Baja California to see mothers and their calves at close range — an amazing experience. I returned to Los Angeles to see gray whales in the Port of L.A. trying to feed in the harbor.

“It was distressing to see so many dead whales along the Pacific Coast, from Baja to Alaska. Researchers are trying to determine the cause. I hope this story will make people more aware of the perils all whales face from global warming and the need for change.”

A woman stands at the bedside of a man who has died
Ana Zuñiga Diaz cries as she says goodbye to her father, Mariano Zuñiga-Anaya, 57, moments after he died at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital. “Papa, I love you,” she said. “Wherever you are, I want you to be happy. Please go in tranquility and peace. We are all going to be fine. We will always remember you. Adios, Papa.”
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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A man covered in coal dust and soot stands for a portrait.
Miner Javier Cardenas, 37, has been mining coal for four months at Mina Santa Barbara coal mine near the town of Aura in Progreso, in Mexico’s Coahuila state. Mexico once embraced renewable energy, but President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has returned the focus to fossil fuels.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
A woman in a pink and blue bathing suit does the backstroke in a pool with other swimmers.
Doing the backstroke, Maurine Kornfeld swims at 6:30 a.m. at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. Kornfeld, known to her team as “Mighty Mo,” turned 100 in November.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A basketball player jumps in the air with the ball as an opponent player falls down.
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green battles the Lakers’ LeBron James (6) for the ball at Staples Center.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
A man in a denim jacket and brimmed hat stands under oak trees for a portrait.
Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood, 91, may be the oldest American to direct and star in a major motion picture with “Cry Macho.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Sometimes, I do feel a little guilty calling it work, in particular when an assignment involves a legend like Clint Eastwood,” photographer Jay L. Clendenin said. “Some days at work are much more enjoyable than others, and this one was pretty cool. With research, I found a spot near Eastwood’s property with this ‘tunnel’ of oak trees and knew this backdrop would look great with my large-format camera that uses 8-by-10-inch sheets of film.

“For a couple hours, I sat shotgun in his truck (the one used in his film ‘The Mule') making pictures all along, visiting his horses, and then eventually my tunnel of oak trees! I dragged my camera out and he was patient enough that I made five frames! I think he appreciated the energy and effort I was putting into our time together.

“The camera requires a much slower pace, beyond normal patience of sitting for a portrait, and Eastwood, the Oscar-winning director known for his one-takes on set, was as great and as willing a subject as I’ve ever made pictures with.”

A man in a suit sits among empty chairs.
Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains seated as members of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, step out for a break before casting their vote to remove him from power.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
President Biden raises his right hand as his left rests on a Bible held by his wife, Jill
Joe Biden takes the oath of office next to his wife, Jill, on Inauguration Day.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
People gather outside a building near yellow police tape.
Law enforcement authorities respond to the scene of a shooting at an office building in Orange. The gunman killed four people, including a 9-year-old boy.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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A police officer sprays a rioter.
Police officers try to fend off a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
A firefighter sprays water onto a fire surrounded by smoke.
Firefighters battle the Caldor fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A man with blue hair and painted nails poses for a portrait on a dark backdrop.
Rapper Kid Cudi’s success has expanded beyond music to acting and the creation of his own fashion line.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

For photographer Myung J. Chun, making a portrait of Kid Cudi was a “luxury” because of the artist’s patience and willingness to collaborate.

“When the camera came up, he just turned it on for the photos,” Chun said. “I think this image worked because of its simplicity — a clean dark background, touches of color from his hair and fingernails and the dramatic lighting.”

The Colorado River cuts through the Grand Canyon in a blue-tinted image
The Colorado River cuts through the Grand Canyon as seen from the Hopi Viewpoint on the South Rim at dusk.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A woman does her makeup in a mirror.
It had been months since Marimar, a 57-year-old transgender woman, was infected with the coronavirus, but COVID-19 and the pandemic still affect her physically and financially. Behind on rent and her body weakened by illness, she doesn’t know where to turn for assistance. “I feel abandoned,” she said, “but my instinct tells me that I am not the only one who feels that way.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
A man douses himself with water
Dennis Johnson, 60, cools himself on a hot day with water collected from a fire hydrant on skid row in downtown L.A., where he had been living in a tent for four months. “Mother Nature gives us what we need. What we need is some good rain,” said Johnson.
(Genaro Molina / 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 a street in Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban fighters used guns, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control as many tried to reach the airport during the U.S. evacuation in August.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Troops stand outside a gate as snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol.
Snow falls over the U.S. Capitol grounds as President Trump’s second impeachment trial was underway.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
A man with a beard in a baseball hat is covered in shadow.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner prepares to take batting practice before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series in Atlanta.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Lines of cars are seen outside Dodger Stadium
Long lines of cars wait at a COVID-19 testing site at Dodger Stadium.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Two men stand and show their backs and legs covered in wounds.
Journalists Nemat Naqdi, 28, left, and Taqi Daryabi, 22, reveal their injuries sustained when Taliban fighters tortured and beat them while in custody. They were arrested for reporting on a women’s rights protest in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

That day, photographer and foreign correspondent Marcus Yam had tried to cover the same women’s rights protest with his colleague Nabih Bulos. They were denied, and nearly hit, but narrowly avoided detention.

“That evening I met with the Afghan journalists Nemat Naqdi, 28, a video journalist, and Taqi Daryabi, 22, a video editor, to see them released from a local hospital. I followed them back to their newsroom. They recalled a detailed account of what happened to them, and I remember thinking that this was a bad omen of things to come.

“Imagine this for a second: Having your hands tied, forced to the ground. Taliban fighters would kick, whip cables, swing rifle butts and pipes for the beatdown. Their crimes? Doing their job of keeping the Afghan public informed. Their punishment? Swift retribution for bearing witness. This is in stark contrast to the Taliban’s initial promise to uphold press freedoms.

“While they were humiliated and in custody, the Taliban mocked Nemat and Taqi: ‘Are you filming us now?’

“As they removed their clothes to display their injuries, I was struck by the horror and pain of seeing what they had sustained. They struggled to walk and grimaced in pain when they sat.”

A woman sits on a couch and closes her eyes with a towel on her face as her pet dog nips at her feet
Diane McClinden, 63, and her dog Frankie try to stay cool in their trailer in Desert Hot Springs. “It’s pretty miserable here,” McClinden said on a day when the temperature reached 97 degrees. This is her first summer in Desert Hot Springs, and she’s already talking about moving because of the excessive heat.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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“At the end of our time together, Diane had to pause because the heat had taken over the trailer,” said photographer Genaro Molina. As her dog was barking, she pressed the cold towel hung on her neck onto her face. To me, this image shows that she, and many people, deal with this excessive heat in subtle ways — like the relationship of a fan and cold towel.”

After a Times investigation revealed that heat probably caused about 3,900 deaths in California over the previous decade, six times the state’s official tally, California could become the first state in the nation to institute a ranking system for heat waves.

A teenage girl pitches a ball against the city skyline at dusk.
Isabel Arriaga, 16, pitches a Wiffle ball to her father, George, while her brothers Richard, 20, and Luis, 11, play the “outfield” along Douglas Street in Los Angeles at dusk.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A boy gets a coronavirus test from a nurse at a school
Kindergartner Matteo Rodriguez gets a coronavirus test from nurse Claire Chou at Heliotrope Avenue Elementary School in Maywood. The students were tested weekly as in-person instruction resumed.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

“Of course, I was visually drawn to the red sweater,” photographer Al Seib said. “And I had no idea there was going to be this reaction. He knew his eyes were about to water from the test, and that’s what was comical about it. I think everybody knows and feels that feeling now. ”

A gymnast in yellow competes on the uneven bars.
UCLA’s Nia Dennis performs on the uneven bars during a competition at Pauley Pavilion. Dennis celebrated Black culture in a 90-second floor routine that went viral on social media, with more than 10 million views on the first weekend.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A group of actors stand in front of screens of reporters watching remotely
Jason Sudeikis, Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed and Brendan Hunt — winners of Outstanding Comedy Series for “Ted Lasso” — stand before a bank of screens as reporters watch remotely during the Emmy Awards at L.A. Live.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

“At the invitation of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and CBS, I was allowed to roam on the red carpet during arrivals, which also turned into the backstage of the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards,” photographer Al Seib said.

“A formation of photographers captures the fashions as the honorees walk the red carpet. Still, I am in a position farther down the carpet, looking for different, intimate views of the nominees and award winners. I’m looking for those moments when the artists who, in most cases, haven’t seen one another due to the COVID pandemic celebrate with hugs and selfies.”

A BMX biker is suspended upside-down as he performs a stunt
Justin Dowell of the U.S. spins his handlebars as he flips during his first run in the Olympic men’s BMX freestyle finals at Ariake Urban Sports Park at the Tokyo Games.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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Britney Spears fans celebrate, scream and jump.
#FreeBritney supporters celebrate after hearing that a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge had formally ended Britney Spears’ conservatorship.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Kamala Harris waves from a helicopter as a man salutes her.
Vice President Kamala Harris waves from Marine Two at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland upon returning from Los Angeles.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
A man sits on a couch under pictures and paintings.
Andrew Stefanski, 96, one of the last Polish Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles, sits under photos of himself and his daughters and two paintings of Warsaw. His daughter Susan discovered a box, inscribed, “Prisoner of War Food Package,” in his closet this summer. It contained photos that had been unexplored for 75 years.
(Madeleine Hordinski / Los Angeles Times)

“Working on this project with the Stefanski family has given me some closure with my own family,” former photography intern Madeleine Hordinski said. “I was never able to ask my Polish relatives the questions I had wanted to ask while they were alive, but I was able to ask Andrew questions about his experience that will be recorded forever.

“I learned about what it might have been like for my own family to fight in the Polish Resistance, although they didn’t survive to share their own story.”

A young girl watches "Star Wars" performers on a stage
A girl watches performers depicting “Star Wars” characters Kylo Ren and storm troopers at Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. Visitors returned to the park with COVID safety restrictions, including limiting park attendance to 25% capacity.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Hot air balloons drift skyward.
Hot air balloons float over the hills and vineyards of Temecula Valley.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Before this photo assignment, photographer Ricardo DeAratanha had never been in a hot air balloon. “The team and I had to drive for a while to find a patch of clear sky and escape the blanket of clouds coming from the ocean,” he said. “Although it was a bit crowded in the balloon’s basket, it was beautiful to watch the other balloons catch different winds and drift around.”

A teenage boy watches a lecture on his laptop computer.
Alhambra High School senior Kellen Gewecke watches an online lecture in his bedroom in San Gabriel. Kellen used to joke with friends and get in trouble for talking in class. But now his days are quiet. After attending class online for several hours, he said, he’s tired of staring at a screen — even to chat with friends.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Football players walk to the practice field in snow.
Rim of the World High School football players walk to the practice field after a snowstorm in Rimforest in March. The football season scheduled for fall 2020 was delayed until spring because of the pandemic.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Ernest Siva, 84, closes his eyes for a portrait.
Ernest Siva, 84, is one of the last remaining oral historians of the Indigenous Serrano language. “My great-grandfather told his family: ‘You have to remember your culture and language, or else you’ll be left a wandering tribe,’” he said.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

“It was a great privilege to make this photograph with Ernest,” photographer Christina House said. “He was proudly showing me around the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, a gathering hall in Banning named after his aunt that is dedicated to saving and sharing Native American cultural knowledge, and when he turned on an overhead light in the library, one spotlight highlighted his face and I asked him to stay still and took a few frames.

“There is a tenderness and strength felt in this image. Ernest represents resilience as one of the last remaining oral historians of the Indigenous Serrano language. Preserving culture is essential to honoring your ancestors. It’s something that is very important to me personally.”

A group of people, some crying, embrace during a rally
Philonise Floyd, a younger brother of George Floyd, reaches out his hand to comfort Anthony McClain Jr., 9, and his mother, Solemuli Afaese, top left, during a rally in front of Pasadena City Hall. Anthony McClain Sr. was fatally shot by Pasadena police on Aug. 15, 2020. The city of Pasadena agreed to pay $7.5 million to his three young children.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
A protester sets up a tent as LAPD officers stand guard.
An advocate for the homeless sets up a tent to protest the shutdown of an encampment March 24 as police officers stand by in Echo Park.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A mother pours water on her daughter's head to wash her hair.
With no running water or electricity, Camp fire victim and volunteer firefighter Inez Salinas bathes her daughter River, 5, outside her home in Concow, Calif. More than three years after the Camp fire destroyed the town of Paradise and surrounding communities, families are still living in trailers and tiny homes.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
A football player touches a lightning orb.
Chargers linebacker Kyzir White touches a lightning orb on his way to the field to play the Vikings at SoFi Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Kumail Nanjiani and Awkwafina pose for a photo
Kumail Nanjiani of “Eternals” and Awkwafina of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” made their Marvel movie debuts in fall 2021. In recent years both have helped lead the way for Asian American representation.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

“I loved, loved, loved photographing these two!” photographer Mariah Tauger said. “First impressions can be epic, and these two did not disappoint. Those coordinating outfits, amazing!! Awkwafina and Nanjiani were not only incredibly generous with their time (one hour, which is unheard of, mind you), but both were so laid back and willing to roll with just about anything I asked of them, including Voguing (which Awkwafina killed).”

Socially distanced fans attend the Dodgers' home opener.
Socially distanced fans attend the Dodgers’ home opener in April.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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Lil Uzi Vert performs in the middle of the crowd.
Lil Uzi Vert performs at the Day N Vegas hip-hop music festival in Las Vegas.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A young boy hugs his mother's legs
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 returned to campus after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns and virtual learning.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

When photographer Al Seib spotted Natalie Russell her son August in the back of the line, the boy was already clinging to his mom.

“When I approached, he turned away,” Seib said. “So, I winked at Natalie, came down low and started talking to August. I was trying to ease him and comfort him from the trauma of the first day of school. So many of these young kids had never been to school because of being remote, and we all know that feeling. Then he turned and was OK with me being there. Natalie quietly thanked me too.”

Men look down as a plane flies overhead.
A military transport plane flies overhead as mourners gather around the incinerated husk of a vehicle destroyed in a deadly U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker for a California-based charity, was returning to his home near the airport when a Hellfire missile struck his car. The attack, which the U.S. military called a “tragic mistake,” killed him, two other adults and seven of his children, nephews and nieces.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Photo editing by Keith Bedford, Mary Cooney and Jacob Moscovitch. Additional editing by Calvin B. Alagot and Robert St. John. Introduction and interviews by Jacob Moscovitch.