2017 is in its final days, and with such an eventful 12 months, it’s certainly a year that will make its mark in history. Beginning with a widely protested Presidential Inauguration, it’s no surprise that 45th President Donald Trump dominated the news with White House scandal, staff firings and a Special Counsel Investigation (to name a few).
But the U.S. Presidency was far from the only important event of 2017, and in an age of visual media, photojournalists and the photographs they take are essential to telling the stories that matter.
“Over the last 18 years I’ve had an up-close look at many of the world’s events and can’t recall a year where the camera served as vital a role as in 2017,” explained Spencer Platt, news photographer for Getty Images. “A seemingly endless series of events created an atmosphere that kept us close to our digital devices and compelled many a citizen to become politically and socially engaged for the first time.”
Though the drama of the American presidency may have held our attention and caused political protests throughout the year, it was far from the only notable event.
Only one day after Trump was inaugurated, an estimated 5 million people worldwide participated in the Women’s March. “[It] resulted in unforgettable pictures that showed tens of thousands of women of all ages and races standing up for equality, dignity and a world where a little girl has the same opportunities as her little brother,” Platt said.
The march kicked off a year of women in the spotlight, standing up for themselves and their beliefs and causing some to predict that the events of 2017 will lead to 2018 being the Year of the Woman.
Terror attacks and mass shootings brought us heartbreaking images of pain and loss, translating raw human emotion into photographs on our screens.
Weather events made their mark on the year: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose left a path of damage and destruction; earthquakes caused cities to crumble; and California had one of the most catastrophic wildfire seasons in its history.
Images of the many events of the year allow us to reflect on our recent past and what we can expect in the near future. “In 2017, there were iconic images of course. However it was the repetition of imagery…that told the stories of growing dissatisfaction—and positive action—against where our society is heading,” said Ken Mainardis, senior vice president of global editorial at Getty Images.
“As we close another turbulent year, we should hold great optimism that these instruments of democracy are doing their job, withstanding the barrage against them and the role of the photographer and their editor remains a vital part of that historic work.”