The power of photography

No matter how descriptive your text, no matter how elaborate your explanation, few things can tell a story quite like an incredible photograph.

Whether the photo displays the sheer elation in the moments after a walk-off home run, the gut-wrenching sadness on the faces of pallbearers at a six-year-old’s funeral or the absolute shock in the aftermath of a devastating tornado, a gripping image will often transcend words.

There are hundreds of incredible photography and photojournalism sites on the Internet but, in my opinion, these are three of the best:

  • National Geographic Photography: Long before the advent of the Internet, National Geographic Magazine was publishing incredible photography from all over the world. Today, the magazine’s circulation may be dwindling but the photography is still top-notch.
  • The Big Picture: This site highlights photography from The Associated Press, Getty Images and the European Pressphoto Agency, as well as the work of Boston Globe photographers. The  images are powerful, bold and beautiful and the site is updated daily.
  • Lightbox: This site’s best feature is its roundup of the top photography of the week. The photos are most often shot by Time’s own photographers and the site has a staff of more than a dozen photo editors and digital producers curating the images. Photojournalism Links provides another access point to a daily digest of the work of Times photographers.

The New York Times has a pair of sites among my top 10. Its Multimedia/Pictures page features great individual photographs as well as outstanding multimedia photo essays like The Women of West Point, with powerful black-and-white images, audio recordings, and outstanding writing. Lens is the Times’ photography blog, “a showcase for Times photographers” that also highlights the work of shooters from other media outlets.

The Guardian’s Eyewitness site, as well as an accompanying Tumblr page, provide “a daily, visual reflection of global events.”

Pictory invites users to submit a captioned image to one of several categories and the site’s editor selects the best entries for display. The site is currently on hiatus but houses some great work from professional and amateur shooters.

Rare Historical Photos offers iconic images, including many from the first and second world wars, and provides the stories behind each photos. “The List” is an easily navigable index of the site’s images.

Finally, What Were They Thinking showcases the work of Boston Globe photographer Stan Grossfeld, who asks the subjects of his sports photos to describe their thought process at the time the images were captured. Before he focused on sports, Grossfeld captured incredibly powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning images of the people of Lebanon in 1984, starvation in Ethiopia and illegal aliens along the Mexican border.

Each of these sites will provide a window into the world we live in and, at the very least, provide me with inspiration and ideas as I look to improve my own photography skills.

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