This year was a time of tumult and triumph, filled with moments of excruciating agony and unsurpassed beauty. Global politics was shaken up in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, athletes soared to new heights, wars continued to rage, and musicians riveted audiences around the world. And photographers were there. Perhaps better than any other medium, photography captures the emotions of a particular moment, so looking back at the photos taken during the year has the power to take us back to those instants again and again.
A collection of 38 of these moments took center stage at Getty Images’ Year in Focus 2017 Gallery at Lightbox Studio Aoyama on Thursday. These pictures were drawn from the thousands of photos that were taken by Getty Image photographers during the year. Two of these photos received special attention. The first, which you can see above, is of Edith Frances, singer for the band Crystal Castles, performing at the Coachella Music Festival, taken by Christopher Polk. It was chosen by Getty as the leading image for its Year in Focus collection because it communicated a feeling of hopefulness and joy during a year that – particularly depending on your political leanings – was filled with a lot of bad news. From a purely visual point of view, it’s an arresting image: Frances is captured from behind in a silhouette, with the audience only partially lit by the sunlight from outside of the stage area. The singer is swinging the microphone back, and a length of the cable snakes towards the camera and around her body.
The second image that received special attention was selected for an entirely different reason, and a completely different set of criteria. It was chosen in collaboration with NTT Data, as a part of its Neuro x AI Project. For this project, an artificial intelligence program harnessed a combination of the results of MRI scans from people looking at a variety of different photos and a digital analysis of photos by their content and emotional impression. From Getty Images’ library, it chose the following photo.
The image, which was taken by Chris McGrath on May 24 of this year, depicts refugees and migrants who are swimming towards a rescue boat after their wooden ship, which held more than 500 people, capsized off Lampedusa in Italy. The image speaks for itself, and the fact that it was chosen by an artificial intelligence program speaks volumes as well.
The rest of the photos at the exhibition ran the gamut, from the worlds of politics, global affairs, sports, and fashion. You can see some images below:
To see the full Year in Focus gallery, go to http://yearinfocus.gettyimages.com/Main Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella