One year into the pandemic AP photographers across the globe relive the images that impacted them most, and the effect of bearing witness.

Since the start of the pandemic, AP photographers, as much as any journalists, have been on the front lines of coverage, taking on risks to bring the world scenes of struggle, death, comfort and hope. And in many ways the images had a profound impact on the photographers themselves.

So as the world approached another grim pandemic milestone of 3 million deaths, New York’s Top Stories Hub photo editor Alyssa Goodman sought to bring new perspective and insight to a wrenching year. She asked a group of photographers to each select the one image from their virus coverage that affected them most, and describe why.  

Working closely with London-based Deputy Director of Photography Tony Hicks, they chose a group of 15 AP photographers in 13 countries:

Rodrigo Abd, Lima — Oded Balilty, Jerusalem — Ariana Cubillos, Caracas — Felipe Dana, on assignment in Brazil — Jerome Delay, Johannesburg — Han Guan Ng, Beijing — Jae Hong, Los Angeles — John Minchillo, New York — Emilio Morenatti, Barcelona — Ebrahim Noroozi, Tehran — Andre Penner, Sao Paulo — Natacha Pisarenko, Buenos Aires — Manish Swarup, New Delhi — Alessandra Tarantino, Rome — Alexander Zemlianichenko, Moscow

The images selected were powerful on their own, but what elevated this piece beyond a good “how I got the shot” package was Rome reporter Nicole Winfield’s elegant writing, weaving the photographers’ quotes into a rich and moving narrative.

The resulting package offers compelling insight into the emotional impact of being there, on the other side of the camera, witnessing the effects of the pandemic up close — the fear of infection, the honor of being present in an intimate moment, despair and hope. The work received more than 100,000 views on AP platforms and was widely complimented by readers and customers. 

For adding a new and creative dimension to some of AP’s most deeply moving photography of the coronavirus pandemic, Goodman, Winfield and this dedicated team of photojournalists — representing their AP colleagues worldwide — earn AP’s Best of the Week honors.

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