Getty Images Shares the Most Powerful Photos of 2017

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.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

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:

Princess Diana in Japan, wearing an outfit based on the country’s national flag (Tim Graham/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian president Vladimir Putin on January 28. Trump is pictured with members of his staff. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A protestor in downtown Washington, DC, on January 20, following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Protestors at the Women’s March on Washington, held on January 21, the day after US President Trump’s inauguration (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lady Gaga backstage before her halftime performance at Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Volcanic ash spews from the crater of Mt. Shinmoedake on October 11 in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan (The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
An Iraqi federal policeman uses a helmet on a stick to try and draw fire from an Islamic State sniper in an attempt to make him reveal his position during fighting in Mosul, Iraq, on April 13 (Carl Court/Getty Images)
Bride Katty Malang Mikunug with friends, taking a picture before her wedding on October 21, in Saguiaran in Lanao del Sur, in the Southern Philippines (Jes Aznar/Getty Images)
A model walks the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on May 16, in Sydney, Australia (Multiple exposures; Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Street gang member “Big Dog” poses for a photo at his group’s safe house on August 17 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Jason Day of Australia and Martin Kaymer of Germany at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida on March 17 (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The People’s Republic of Korea practice before competition in the Budapest FINA World Championships on July 16 in Budapest, Hungary (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma Thunder dunks after a steal against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 16 (Harry How/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at an official photocall to announce their engagement, November 27 (Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

To see the full Year in Focus gallery, go to http://yearinfocus.gettyimages.com/Main Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella

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