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TIME's top photos of the year

By dpreview staff on Dec 7, 2013 at 01:00 GMT

Each year TIME picks 10 images from 10 photographers to represent some of top news stories of the year. From the massacre at the Westgate Mall in Kenya, the Boston Marathon bombings, to the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the collection highlights the work of seasoned photojournalists. 

TIME also spoke with the photographers about the image they shot. Their words, included in the captions, provide a rare look at the story behind the image and how they got some intense moments. Check out a few images from the gallery below. The rest can be seen on

 Boston Marathon bombings, April 15, 2013. (John Tlumacki—The Boston Globe/Getty Images)
Typhoon Haiyan aftermath in the Philippines, Nov. 18, 2013. (Philippe Lopez—AFP/Getty Images)
 Protester in Istanbul, June 1, 2013. (Daniel Etter—Redux)

Conspicuously missing are images that do not focus on conflict and tragedy. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see what TIME's editors choose out of the millions of images shot each year. See the full gallery on

What do think of TIME's selection? What else would you have included? 

Source: TIME


Total comments: 153
By sh10453 (4 months ago)

Their title of "top 10 pictures of 2013" is flawed to begin with, IMHO.
What would make some sense is to have some categories, and then select the top 10 of each category.

I looked at a few, and it was hard to continue.
One thing I can't really understand is how #7 (swimmer) made it to the top 10.
A 10 years old child could have snapped that shot with a point-n-shoot camera.

Sometimes I wonder if the selection panel (or some members) know a particular photographer (friend, relative, etc.), and squeeze one of his/her picture in the so-called top 10.

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

Yeah, of course. The whole idea with choosing X of the year is corruption. There is a great expectation on which are the ones that can be chosen. No matter if it is news photography or the nicest balcony in the neighbourhood.

But ... regarding the swimmer. Maybe anyone being there and having some kind of camera could have taken the image. And maybe many did. But .... this was the one image reaching the press. And so it won.

By natnat (4 months ago)

The Gezi protests in Turkey were about people protesting the government's attitude on environmental matters.

What turned the protests into violence was the excessive force used by the police on environmentalists who only wanted to save a park in the city center which was planned to be made into a shopping mall.

Once the police started attacking people with tear gas (as in aiming the cannisters on their heads and resulting in 7 deaths and numerous blinded people), more people went out on the street and the whole thing turned out into a mass country-wide government protest on the oppressive regime.

The tragedy on the Gezi photo is the fact that a country's own police force is using ruthless force against protesters, and that single protester's willpower to stand inside the tear gas cloud, just to make a point with the turkish flag.

By natnat (4 months ago)

But then if I were to choose a photo from the Gezi protests, it would probably be this one highlighting the level of tear gas used at the city center.

1 upvote
By remo1232 (4 months ago)

Oh No!!! No no no, you got it all wrong, pure wrong!!! What happened in Gezi was a group of terrorist wanted to vandalize the nation under the name of environment. (Because if they were environmentalist, somebody would have heard of their names until now.) They caused the nation over $150 million damage by this demonstrations. They burned the police cars, and attached the Prime Minister of the country. So before you post something here, make sure you get all your facts right. If you want to save the environment, you go and work for GreenPeace. Not vandalize your own nation. And btw what police did was nothing but a simple self defense. Which happens in every country.

1 upvote
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (4 months ago)

@remo1232 let's say it so: both parts stink big time. But elected prime minister who doesn't listen to those who elected him, stinks much, much more. You don't need to join corrupted and corrupting global manipulating and brainwashing sect (I mean Greenpeace and PETA, I consider my colleague Denis Sinyakov the victim of Greenpeace as well as victim of uniformed terrorists from Russian Investigation Committee) to stand for your own right to have your local park intact. It's prime minister's personal guilt that the damage was done, namely his own greed and greed of his protegees, who would be contractors for that would-be mall, covered by state interests and even religion. There should be even no idea of such project, to start with. City park is city park, you are not to destroy things like that, especially in a place where there are no other green corners around for miles.

Volkan Ersoy
By Volkan Ersoy (4 months ago)

You both got it all wrong. It started by the protests of a small, innocent group who wants to save their park. They were not hard-core activists nor did they expect such scale of reaction. Then the Gulen movement, who had role in bringing current Islamist government into the power, who now claim its share, and who owns a major part of the Police force, ordered his men in the Police Force to use extreme and brutal force. The people, naturally, reacted to this brutality. Erdogan, the Prime Minister, on the other hand, didn't step back against this show of strength by the Gulen moevment; on the contrary, he upped the ante by saying "yes, I gave the order to the police," calling the protestors "terrorist". Currently we are seeing different dimensions of this Islamist power struggle in Turkey.

1 upvote
By dharma108 (4 months ago)

Same old, same old. Oh, for some consciousness!

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Forget it. There is no more free consciousness. All its capacity is utterly stuffed with "sell, sell, sell..."
And the regular ever-lower-IQ folks are being continuously force-fed the other part of the equation: "buy, buy, buy..." :-(

1 upvote
By cpkuntz (4 months ago)

Disaster snuff porn is the best of 2013? I understand the journalistic value of such images, but not really the artistic value. To me, this is the most beautiful image captured by humanity in 2013:

First Runner up:

Second runner up:

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By itchhh (4 months ago)

That picture of Saturn is A M A Z I N G!!!! Thanks for sharing that ;)

sebastian huvenaars
By sebastian huvenaars (4 months ago)

The Saturn image is amazing indeed! But what i don't understand, if earth looks that big and clear from saturn, why does Saturn (a much bigger planet) look so minuscule from earth?

Maybe the photo isn't taken with a wide angle as stated but zoomed in a lot, this could explain things...

1 upvote
By groucher (4 months ago)

Thanks for posting those links, the perfect antidote to the dismal Time images.

1 upvote
By onlooker (4 months ago)

Bravo. Alas, those images do not sell gutter media.

By pforan (4 months ago)

Time is a news magazine, so their selections are clearly weighted towards photojournalism and global news events. At the same time, you wouldn't expect Scientific American to choose war images for a best-of series. I am a huge fan of scientific images as well, but I also feel that photographing war zones and conflicts is incredibly important, especially when photographers can present them in such a way that both humanizes the events and allows a point of entry and identification for the viewer.

sebastian huvenaars: Saturn looks dim/tiny from earth because we're looking at it through the relatively dense filter of the atmosphere, which filters and diffuses its light. If you were able to look from outside the atmosphere, it would be much brighter and clearer.

One of my personal favorite images of the year isn't even a photograph:

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
By JohnK (4 months ago)

Irrelevant, IMO few care what is written in Time Magazine!

By InTheMist (4 months ago)

Time and National Geographic stand out in a very select group of magazines that actually value photography.

By groucher (4 months ago)

Both magazines certainly value photography but they insult the intelligence of their readers with their superficial and dumbded-down view of the world. The editorial content of both magazines is appallingly bad - they need to hire better and more knowledgeable writers.

By reginalddwight (4 months ago)

I personally think TIME left out the most discussed and indelible photo of 2013:

Miley Cyrus' twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards.

By 12345ccr (4 months ago)

most *controversial* photo 2013...

By InTheMist (4 months ago)


I can't understand news organizations laying off photographers. Such a powerful media!

By Josh152 (4 months ago)

It's simple economics. Staff photographers need a salary and benefits. It is very expensive and slightly better photos are not enough to bring in enough extra consumers to pay for them VS just letting the reports take cell phone snaps.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By InTheMist (4 months ago)

@Josh Do you work for the Chicago Sun Times?

1 upvote
By marike6 (4 months ago)

Not simple economics, that's just corporate doublespeak for slashing jobs. Just like moving manufacturing to factories overseas while getting huge government bailouts and tax shelters are justified as "simple economics".

By chris_j_l (4 months ago)

@marike - you are way off the mark its unbelievable. The Chicago Sun-Times is not immensely profitable. They have been slipping for a while. In 2004 they misrepresented their sales figures (a way of getting advertisers to pay more for space). In 2009 the filed for bankruptcy protection. They have been haemorrhaging reporters. In 2011 they closed their printing and moved it to being printed by the rival Tribune. This saved all of $10M.

They are desperate. They are slashing jobs for economic reasons. Pure and simple.
If you have evidence that they are sitting on an enormous pile of cash, having their yachts and private jets fitted out with gold taps and rolling cigars with $100 bills then bring it forward. Until then, all evidence points to them needing every cent.

1 upvote
By brianj (4 months ago)

Does a photo need to be about some sort of violence to draw people's attention?

By ZorSy (4 months ago)

Sadly - yes. The news are rarely about something nice: murder, bombing, terrorists, shootings and any kind of human tragedy makes the news. Always have, always will.

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Since all life is a wave phenomenon, maybe the times will soon come when something actually NICE will become news...
They only sell us what we buy. And it WILL get worse before it becomes better... :-(

1 upvote
By RedFox88 (4 months ago)

Certainly not, it's the stupid editors that are in charge. If you want to see a wider variety of news, and more in depth, read and view NPR/PBS news. They get into more uplifting and positive news instead of just a 30 second "making a difference" on NBC news that is really just fluff.

Oh for the day when "local" news on TV shows only local news and not national or international news. Leave them for the national news right after your show!!

By jakPh (4 months ago)

Have to take it for what it is... I suspect it is Time's editors showing us what kind of images they think will suit their purpose which is to increase circulation... and it is a "news" sort of publication, not one focusing on aesthetics. That this particular mix of images is not my idea of balanced representation of the year in photographic terms is perhaps the same reason I ignore Time magazine (and many others not to singe them out). Assuming these editors do study the metrics of their business, the "edgy" happenings around the world likely do seem to get our attention... one has to hope the steady dose of images like these from so much of the news media do not lead us collectively to an increasingly cynical demeanor to a point of being well out of balance with reality and/or renders us immune to caring via overexposure. Tracking metrics are in place, we'll get more of what we collectively pay attention to, of that I am sure.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Resom (4 months ago)

It´s something wrong with "us", for sure.
Bad news are good news. The people "want" this, because its so "prickling" sitting on the sofa and looking at this kind of reality.
For me its hard to take a look on some of this "top 10" pictures and I feel very bad. As a viewer you are not able to do "something".

About the execution pic ... I don´t know. It makes me sick. What have I done, I´m asking me. Running away. Or shouting at the mob. Everything is better as making a picture of a execution ... yes, it could be that they kill me too, but I´m sure - taking a picture will kill a part of me and at the end I´m a part of the mob.

But I know, I cannot judge about the photographer. I feel sorry for them.

By skanter (4 months ago)

All sensationalist photos, and overdone. I remember when Time was a respectable magazine. Now it's a sensational, exploitative rag like the National Enquirer.

Total comments: 153