Getty Images year in focus
- 31 December 2015
- From the section In Pictures
Hugh Pinney is vice-president of News for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Getty Images and has picked out one photograph for each month from 2015.
Pinney had plenty to choose from with his photographers covering more than 130,000 events around the world.
"It is an extremely difficult task to pick one frame per month from the thousands of images I have seen across the year, so I have chosen a selection of images from world events - large and small - that either tell a unique story themselves or that broadly capture and represent the wider news story," says Pinney.
Here Pinney offers his views on the images he has chosen.
January: Charlie Hebdo attack, Paris
The year was bookended by acts of unthinkable violence in the heart of Paris. Gunmen forced their way into the editorial meeting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shot dead four of its cartoonists. In total 12 people were killed in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices: eight journalists, two police officers, a caretaker and a visitor.
For three days France, and indeed Europe, felt under siege from within. Once the perpetrators had been killed, Parisians appeared to breathe a collective sigh and came together in a vast show of defiance with placards making up the eyes of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, who was among the first killed in the attacks.
Photograph by Christopher Furlong.
February: Woman rescued from sinking car in Auckland
Thanks to social media, traditional media and a news photographer fulfilling the old maxim of right-place, right-time this was an image which resonated round the world.
In another age, a woman rescued from her car having accidentally driven it into the sea, may only have made the local paper. In the era of file sharing, this image became a talking point around water coolers everywhere. We can all feel the rising panic of the woman and the sense of relief that clear-headed, quick-thinking New Zealand police are on hand to smash the window and pull her out before the vehicle sinks entirely.
(Image blurred at source)
March: Tsipras changes the rules
The Greek financial crisis has remained close to the surface of the headlines all year. The election of a left-wing government in January saw Alexis Tsipras come in as prime minister, and the birth of what seemed a very new style of politics. Sartorially, the rules were relaxed - ties were out - while relationships with European partners became anything but.
For months, he exercised brinkmanship, defying Greece's international creditors, holding a financial dagger at Europe's heart - the threat of default and the potential subsequent implosion of the eurozone.
During this time, the body language between European leaders was fascinating, none more so than between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Greek PM. Merkel held the purse strings, Tsipras was threatening to cut a hole in the bottom of the purse. She was playing hardball, while he was desperately hoping not to have to play by her rules. This image by Sean Gallup from March is nothing more than a split second, but a tiny glance sideways seems to capture everything about this relationship.
April: Nepal hit by powerful earthquake
Earthquakes always seem to strike the vulnerable hardest, and when a 7.8-magnitude quake hit central Nepal it devastated much of Kathmandu, and flattened entire Himalayan villages. This earthquake had more impact on me than many before it because of the beautiful environment in which it happened, the incredible stoic strength of the survivors, and the compassion of Omar Havana, the Spanish freelance photographer working for us who captured this image.
This picture was one of the first he filed from his adoptive home town of Kathmandu, and shows a victim just pulled from the rubble by rescuers of all types. Omar himself talked openly of his love for this place, for its people and of their resilience. He described how he found nothing but smiles in the dreadful days after the first shock, from people whose homes and families had been decimated, who had been left with nothing but makeshift tents for homes. Those that still had houses and power were opening their doors to strangers as well as journalists to charge laptops and share their internet.
May: UK General Election
A slight cheat having four pictures by Carl Court for the UK general election in May, but it does take two images from each main party campaign to really show what it was like trying to provide objective coverage of the sixth general election I have witnessed professionally.
Each of the main protagonists appeared to fight a hugely defensive campaign, seemingly terrified of exposing their man to actual voters or indeed anything off-script. The absolute nadir of the Miliband/Labour campaign seemed to be when party officials ferried journalists and activists up the M4 to Cardiff for a "rally", only for the same group to be invited to assemble, podium and all, in a Cardiff back garden (right, top and bottom).
Well away from any danger of interaction with the voting public a rousing speech was given, with placard-waving apparatchiks forming a nice sanitised backdrop.
Meanwhile, the Conservative campaign took a slightly different approach to a similar end - Cameron appeared to travel the country making similar rousing speeches, almost always in contained environments to invited audiences with a carefully penned media. Meanwhile, those politicians not afraid to mix-it with voters in all guises, such as Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon appear to be the ones who resonated, and whose standing in the polls increased.
From a professional standpoint, I hope beyond hope that this was the most contrived and controlled election we will ever see and that politicians and their media advisers realise that the voting public is now more capable than ever, with the help of social media, of seeing through spin and bluster. Authenticity - an increasingly rare but valuable trait in a politician.
June: Terror attack on Tunisian tourist beach
Back in June, a lone gunman shooting dead 38 tourists and hotel staff as they went about the business of holidaymaking in a Tunisian beach resort seemed an unimaginable atrocity. The absolute random choice of target as well as the innocence of the victims created a level of total incomprehension which, in turn, compounded the sense of fear, in both survivors and prospective tourists.
I like the simplicity of this image by Jeff Mitchell, a lone mourner, a solitary flower in the incongruous setting of what should be an idyllic Mediterranean beach. The few half-hearted holidaymakers in the background add to the context and also to the sense of unease.
July: Fiesta de San Fermin
San Fermin, or the festival of the running of the bulls in Pamplona is a hardy annual event in the coverage diary. It follows a set routine, there are only so many ways it can be photographed and I always think I have seen them all. Yet somehow each year seems to produce something extraordinary.
This image by David Ramos, was captured during the crazy street party which always precedes anyone actually getting close to a bull. It is always crowded to the point where it looks dangerous, everyone always looks as though they have consumed their own bodyweight in red wine, and generally they all always look as though they are having the time of their lives.
This has to be my favourite image ever of this event. I find everything about the picture absolutely compelling - every inch of the frame is filled and yet your eye is drawn and held unwaveringly by one small area at the very centre of the frame.
August: Tianjin chemical plant explosion
Chemical factory explosions are sadly not that unusual, so initially I did not give this story my fullest attention when it was breaking. It was only when we started to see images that the true scale of devastation became apparent. Aerial pictures of the factory on China's northern port city of Tianjin showed an area the size of several city blocks utterly destroyed and an official death toll of 173 was recorded.
Looking at the photos I am amazed that the death toll was not higher. This image looks like something from some kind of apocalyptic sci-fi movie set, with the figures dressed in protective suits adding an air of menace to an already disastrous situation.
September and October 2015: The migrant story
The story of the migrant journey into Europe in 2015 cannot be told in one image, nor does it belong to one month. This is the story of the year which affects every one of us. Two single images each capture a separate element of the migration story during the year. One beautifully captures the dangers and relief of making the sea crossing to Greece (top) while another gives a graphic view of the volume of humanity on the move on a single day (bottom).
The most powerful image by far though is of the drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach. This photograph changed public perception of a story which, up to this point, had been played out under sunny skies with calm seas.
November: Paris attacked again
A co-ordinated series of attacks by gunmen in Paris against the very softest of targets - everyday life - left 130 dead and many more seriously injured.
Following the story as it unfolded was incredibly hard as reports came in of different bars, cafes and public venues coming under attack - images were from all over central Paris as roads were closed, emergency services flooded the area and special forces moved in to confront the remaining gunmen.
The images of the aftermath, of a more thoughtful Paris the following day, of a city in both shock and grief are actually more encompassing of the event as a whole, but I have selected this image by Thierry Chesnot of a single covered body precisely because it requires interpretation and thought. The quietness of the image belies what has gone before, it takes close examination to notice the abandoned cafe chairs behind, the emergency personnel attending to survivors in thermal blankets, on what was, until now, an entirely unremarkable Parisian street.
December: Air quality in Beijing
If world leaders arriving in Paris for the COP21 climate talks needed a visual representation of why they were meeting and what was at stake, the smog cloud blanketing Beijing in China could not have happened at a more opportune time.
Kevin Frayer's images of Beijing landmarks, made 24 hours apart, illustrate in the most graphic way possible just what it looks like when the air contains more than 20 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.