2016 has been a year like no other, and to many, Donald Trump’s shock election victory coupled with the equally as surprising Brexit referendum result in the UK will be the events that most characterise 2016. After all, both results sent shockwaves through the world and spawned numerous demonstrations and petitions.
But even remarkable political results couldn’t quite cloud the other stories at hand, with the crisis in Syria and the refugee crisis that came with it being another story that got us talking. Though it wasn’t only social media’s proliferation of information that gave us such news. We also owe thanks to the professional news outlets themselves, who, along with their reporting and detailed analysis of the year’s events, gave us a plethora or hard-hitting and memorable photos.
One such news organisation responsible for many photos is the French press company Agence France Presse. Captured throughout the year; the agency recently picked some of their favourites, so with that in mind, Lifehack Lane has scrolled through their impressive collection and picked some of the best.
1. Nigel Farage poses for photographs shortly after casting his vote to decide if the UK should leave the EU
Nigel Farage was the face of the Leave Campaign, and it was his visceral and no-nonsense approach to the issue he had campaigned for his entire political career that many commentators believed swayed voters into voting leave.
The Leave Campaign’s victory, as well as ending Britain’s long association with the EU, also led to the resignation of Britain’s then prime minister, David Cameron.
2. A wife is left disconsolate after discovering her husband has been shot dead
While the Philippines is a devoutly Catholic country, President Rodrigo Duterte has encouraged vigilantes, as well as officers, to kill anyone suspected of taking or supplying drugs, a policy many argue goes completely against the ideals of Catholicism.
Because of the severe clampdown on drugs, the capital of Manilla has been plagued with drug-related killings in 2016, just like the one above, with the unknown killer leaving a placard next to the body which reads “I am a pusher.”
3. Donald Trump celebrates an unlikely election victory
The cantankerous presidential nominee turned himself into the president-elect following a campaign laden with hateful rhetoric and malicious actions. Yes, it was a victory like no other, with a brash and politically incorrect billionaire taking on the political powerhouse of Hillary Clinton and winning.
For his continued efforts and repeated comebacks following a plethora of revelations that had threatened to put an end to his campaign, Trump eventually trumped his opponent and won what had initially appeared an unwinnable election.
4. A Cuban soldier cries after the ashes of Fidel Castro are transported through Santa Clara
The death of the much-maligned Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was met with celebration in some quarters of the world and sadness in others, but the consensus among Cubans was that Fidel Castro was a hero who saved their island from the imperialistic and capitalistic practices of America.
Not all Cubans shared such sentiments, of course, but many did, as is illustrated in this photo of a crying soldier.
5. Hillary Clinton prepares to make a concession speech following a shock defeat to the Republican candidate, Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton, according to pollsters at least, was almost guaranteed victory, and barring a miraculous victory in the major swing states of Florida and North Carolina, a Trump upset was unlikely.
But he won all the swing states, including the once Democratic strong hold of Pennsylvania, leading to one of the most surprising election victories in U.S. political history, despite Clinton’s 2.5m lead in the popular vote.
6. Retreating Isis militants set fire to nearby oil wells, causing a shepherd’s flock of sheep to be blackened
In the town of town of Qayyarah, around 70 km south of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Isis fighters were forced to flee on November 20th following a successful ascent into the tertiary by government-backed Iraqi forces.
Yet the destruction they have left behind, just like in the neighbouring country of Syria, won’t be mended anytime soon.
7. A North Korean man smokes by himself at a bar in the country’s capital, Pyongyang
The social lives of North Koreans aren’t heavily publicised, but this rare picture appears to show a softer side to the communist nation.
With that said, it also doesn’t seem to be a place for social gatherings if this picture is anything to go by.
8. Stacks of elephant tusks, ivory figurines and rhino horns are set alight by Kenya authorities in the hopes of signalling an end to the “murderous” trafficking of the animals
Tourism is one of Kenya’s biggest assets, and their multifaceted wildlife is a big draw for visitors which is one of the reasons behind the government’s recent crackdown on the illegal yet lucrative trade of elephant tusks and rhino horns.
Due to the lucrative value of elephant tusks, which contain ivory, a hard white material used widely in art and manufacturing, and the horns of rhinos that certain countries believe contain healing properties, poachers have made a profitable living from killing them.
9. A Syrian boy cries after losing a relative
After an airstrike on April 27th had stricken the Syrian capital of Aleppo, 17 people died, 14 of which were patients at a hospital, leaving yet more trails of devastation in a city that has become nothing but a desolate montage of destruction.
Since the civil war started in 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated the death toll to be between 312,001–437,363 killed.
10. A tale of two cities
The 2016 Olympics in Brazil’s most famed city, Rio De Janeiro, was largely a success, but questions were raised over the event’s inclusiveness in a city long riddled with inequality.
In fact, Brazil’s disparity in wealth is at its highest in Rio De Janerio, a reality poignantly highlighted in this photo as a family in the favela Mangueira watch the firework display emitted from the Maracana Stadium.
11. A photographer emphasises the destruction of the Temple of Bel by comparing it to a recent photo before it was bombed
Much like the Syrian capital of Aleppo, the ancient city of Palmyra has many buildings listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Temple of Bel, a building considered one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st century AD.
Sadly, as this contrasting photo highlights, not much of it remains.
12. A female protester holds up a sign at a Black Lives Matter protest in New York
As well as a bitter election campaign, 2016 also saw American media take a greater interest in Black Lives Matter; an international activist movement started by three women after various police chiefs refused to press charges against white officers accused of unlawfully killing black people.
Many of the killings happened to be caught on cell phone cameras, and due to the viral landscape of the internet, people have shared them at a rapid rate, giving the movement the momentum we now see in many of their well-publicised marches.