Agency photographer of the year – 2021 shortlist | World news

It’s that time again, when the photo editors on the picture desk at the Guardian sift through the edits of the best of the millions of images that they see over the course of a year, supplied by the various press agencies from around the world, from staff and freelancers alike.

It is not possible to mention as many of the talented photographers who have supported our journalism visually, creating outstanding work and stories of their own, as we would like to but we have picked out a few.

Felipe Dana

  • Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk in line on their way to the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical hospital for drug treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2 October 2021.

Felipe Dana is a photojournalist covering news and stories for Associated Press. Felipe’s work this year has taken him from Brazil via Israel and the Occupied Territories, to Tokyo for the Olympics. In Afghanistan, where he has largely been since September, he has gained close access to the Taliban regime, spent time with fighters and covered their drug treatment programme.

A family sits inside a makeshift tent built among the rubble of their home, destroyed by an airstrike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, 14 June 2021.

  • A family sits inside a makeshift tent built amid the rubble of their home, destroyed by an airstrike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, 14 June 2021.

Portraits of Taliban fighters taken at various police stations in Kabul, Afghanistan, from Sept. 16 to 22, 2021.
Migrants arrive aboard a Spanish coast guard rescue ship at Arguineguín port in Gran Canaria island, Spain, 21 November 2021.

  • Migrants arrive aboard a Spanish coast guard rescue ship at Arguineguín port, in Gran Canaria island, Spain, 21 November 2021.

Female primary school students leave school after a class in Kabul, Afghanistan, 25 October 2021.

Zohra Bensemra

Based in Dakar, Senegal, Zohra Bensemra has covered drought and Covid, and has been in Kabul since October, one of the few female members of the international press working in the country, where she has covered the evolving situation for women and girls under the new hardline Islamist Taliban regime.

Fallou Diop, 19, a jockey, rides a young mare called Raissa Betty, in Niaga, Rufisque department, Senegal, 27 January 2021.

  • Fallou Diop, 19, a jockey, rides a young mare called Raissa Betty, whom he trains to compete with in the future, out of the Lambafar stable, in Niaga, Rufisque. See more on this photo story here.

Yasamin Azizi, 21, an Afghan female athlete who trains fitness and taekwondo, trains a woman at the gym, in Kabul, Afghanistan on 2 November 2021.
Bassira, 11, looks on after she finished feeding her chickens on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan 1 November 2021.
Supporters of Gambia’s president and presidential candidate Adama Barrow celebrate after partial results of the presidential elections showed Barrow leading in Banjul, 5 December 2021.
A house is covered by ash from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Saturday 30 October 2021.

Emilio Morenatti

  • A house is covered by ash from a volcano as it continues to erupt on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Saturday, 30 October 2021.

Emilio Morenatti is chief photographer for the Associated Press in Spain and Portugal. His ethereal photographs of the ash-covered La Palma, Canary Islands have really stood out and engaged our readers, in addition to his coverage of Tokyo’s Olympics anddomestic news in Spain.

A couple kiss in front of a barricade set on fire by demonstrators during clashes with police following a protest condemning the imprisonment of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain on 18 February 2021.

  • A couple kiss in front of a barricade set on fire by demonstrators during clashes with police following a protest condemning the imprisonment of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain on 18 February 2021.

Melissa Stockwell plays with her children, Dallas and Millie, in their home in Colorado Springs, ahead of the Olympics. “I’ve always been an optimistic person,” she says. “Probably annoyingly optimistic to lots of people.”

  • Melissa Stockwell plays with her children, Dallas and Millie, in their home in Colorado Springs, ahead of the Olympics.

Abandoned cats wander in search of food at a road covered by ash and blocked by the lava at the exclusion zone near the volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain on 3 December 2021.
A soccer field is covered with ash from the volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, 1 December 2021.

  • Abandoned cats wander in search of food at a road covered by ash, and a soccer field is covered with ash on La Palma, Canary Islands, 1 December 2021.

People dance on a promenade facing the Mediterranean Sea, as sun sets at a beach in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday 3 October 2021.
Wounded captive Ethiopian soldiers arrive on a truck at the Mekele Rehabilitation Center in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, on 2 July 2021.

Yasuyoshi Chiba

  • Wounded captive Ethiopian soldiers arrive on a truck at a rehabilitation centre in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, 2 July 2021.

After being stationed in São Paulo, and then Rio in Brazil, Yasuyoshi Chiba has been posted in Nairobi since 2016. This year his work has taken him from Kenya to Ethiopia for the unfurling Tigray crisis, Sudan and Uganda, as well as to Tokyo for the Olympics.

A local farmer walking in a swarm of desert locusts in Meru, Kenya, February.
Supporters of incumbent Ugandan Presdent Yoveri Museveni celebrate in the streets of Kampala on January 16, 2021
Members of Dance Centre Kenya (DCK) perform during a dress rehearsal of ‘Nutcracker’, a ballet primarily performed during the Christmas period, in front of about 1000 children invited from Kibera slum in Nairobi, on November 28

  • Supporters of the incumbent Ugandan president, Yoveri Museveni, celebrate in the streets of Kampala on 16 January 2021. Right: Members of Dance Centre Kenya perform in a dress rehearsal of the Nutcracker in November 2021.

Children jump a rope as they play at a court close to the Pavia garbage dump in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 3 March 2021

Ariana Cubillos

  • Children jump a rope as they play at a court close to the Pavia garbage dump in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 3 March 2021.

Colombian photographer Ariana Cubillos is based in Caracas, Venezuela. The desk has noticed her joyful stories filed among the difficult times that the country is facing, such as the Musical Vaccine orchestra tour.

Musicians join pianist, composer and conductor Jose Agustin Sanchez on the bed of an 18-wheeler truck for a musical tour coined a musical disinfection in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 4 March 2021.

Musicians join pianist, composer and conductor Jose Agustin Sanchez on the bed of an 18-wheeler truck for a musical tour coined a “musical disinfection” in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Thursday, March 4, 2021. Sanchez, who last year started playing what he calls his “Musical Vaccine” for COVID patients, is now joined by other musicians as they ride through the city playing his original compositions for anybody that wants to listen
People dressed in devil costumes celebrate the Catholic holiday of Corpus Christi in Naiguata, Venezuela, 3 June
A woman holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Sex education to decide, contraceptives to avoid abortion,” as she jumps with another woman as part of the Global Day of Action for access to legal, safe and free abortion, outside the parliament in Caracas, Venezuela, 28 September

  • A woman holds a sign that reads in Spanish: “Sex education to decide, contraceptives to avoid abortion” as she jumps with another woman as part of the Global Day of Action for access to legal, safe and free abortion, outside the parliament in Caracas, Venezuela , 28 September 2021.

People wait to cremate victims who died due to the coronavirus disease at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, 23 April.

Danish Siddiqui

  • People wait to cremate victims who died due to coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, 23 April.

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, based in Delhi, who led the national Reuters multimedia team, was killed on 15 July while covering clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban forces near a border crossing with Pakistan. His work during the year covering the tragedy of the wave of Covid infections across India was very powerful.

A member of the Afghan Special Forces keeps a watch as others search a house during a combat mission against Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 12, 2021

  • A member of the Afghan special forces keeps watch as others search a house during a combat mission against the Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, 12 July 2021.

Demonstrators are stopped by police during a protest against the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, outside the police headquarters in New Delhi, India, February 16
A Naga Sadhu, or Hindu holy man wears a mask before the procession for taking a dip in the Ganges river during Shahi Snan at Kumbh Mela Festival, in Haridwar, India, 12 April

  • Demonstrators are stopped by police during a protest against the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, outside police headquarters in New Delhi, 16 February. A Naga Sadhu wears a mask before the procession for taking a dip in the Ganges river during Shahi Snan at Kumbh Mela festival, in Haridwar, 12 April.

Pro-democracy protesters confront riot police whilst marching to Government House to call for the resignation of Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha in Bangkok on July 18, 2021

Lillian Suwanrumpha

  • Pro-democracy protesters confront riot police whilst marching to Government House to call for the resignation of Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-ocha, in Bangkok on 18 July.

Lilian Suwanrumpha is a Thai photographer who has been based in Bangkok for Agence France-Presse since 2016. In 2021 they covered ongoing anti-government demonstrations, environmental issues and daily life alongside the coronavirus pandemic. They have covered a tumultuous year for the the country.

Pro-democracy protesters make the three-finger salute during an anti-government demonstration in Bangkok on March 24, 2021
Medics haul an oxygen tank onto the back of a police car for elderly Covid-19 coronavirus patient Worapoj Salee as he is taken away for additional medical care in the Charoen Krung neighbourhood in Bangkok, 30 July.
A research team from Chulalongkorn Universitys chemistry department collecting sweat samples from vendors in a fresh market as they develop a novel device that detects the Covid-19 coronavirus through specific odors, in Bangkok

  • Medics haul an oxygen tank onto the back of a police car for an elderly Covid-19 coronavirus patient in Bangkok, 30 July. Right; A research team from Chulalongkorn University collect sweat samples from vendors in a fresh market as they develop a novel device that detects the Covid-19 coronavirus through specific odours.

People walk through the French District during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Brandon Bell

Brandon Bell is a staff Photographer for Getty Images, based in Houston, Texas. He has covered the border story extensively, as well as some remarkable work during Hurricane Ida.

Migrants are accounted for and processed by border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States 1 July in Roma, Texas.

  • Migrants are accounted for and processed by border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States, 1 July, in Roma, Texas.

Genview Diagnosis medical assistants Crystal Leyva and Keitia Perez administer COVID-19 sampling tests, to laboratory technicians, at Foxconn Assembly on 13 Augustin Houston, Texas
Bailey Salinas, 10, is greeted by Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke after a campaign rally at Republic Square on December 04, 2021 in Austin, Texas. “I think Beto’s my daughter’s last chance to be treated like she’s human. She’s hispanic, disabled, and a female and all of those things are stacked against her. Everything she needs, I feel that Beto can give to her,” said Bailey’s mother

  • Medical assistants Crystal Leyva and Keitia Perez administer Covid-19 sampling tests, to laboratory technicians, at Foxconn Assembly in Houston, 13 August. Right Bailey Salinas, 10, meets Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke after a campaign rally at Republic Square, Austin, on 4 December.

Migrants exit a Border Patrol bus and prepare to be received by the Val Verde Humanitarian Coalition after crossing the Rio Grande on September 22, 2021 in Del Rio, Texas.

  • People exit a border patrol bus and prepare to be received by the Val Verde Humanitarian Coalition after crossing the Rio Grande, 22 September, in Del Rio, Texas.

Palestinians return to the rubble of their destroyed homes on May 24, 2021 in Beit Hanoun

Fatima Shbair

Fatima Shbair, 24, is a a self-taught, freelance photojournalist photojournalist based in Gaza. Shbair is the youngest winner of the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award.

A Palestinian girl stands amid the rubble of her destroyed home on May 24, 2021 in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.
Farah Al-Bahtiti, 5, in her house in the Zeitoun neighbourhood on December 4
Sarah Al-Matrabiee, 4, in the Zeitoun neighbourhood on 30 November in Gaza City

  • Farah al-Bahtiti, 5, and Sarah Al-Matrabiee, 4 in the Zeitoun neighbourhood, who were injured by missile strikes on the Gaza Strip in May.

People go sledging in the snow on Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath on January 24, 2021 in London

Hollie Adams

Hollie Adams is a freelance photographer based in London shooting largely for Getty Images. Her coverage of UK news has stood out, from rare London snow in January through a turbulent year.

A patient is transported out of an ambulance by medics at the Royal London Hospital on January 2
Demonstrators hold smoke flares during a Reclaim Pride March, 24 July 24 - which replaced the Pride in London parade which had been postponed
Women in “The Purge” costumers pose for a photo on Halloween at Between the Bridges at Southbank on October 31
Fish eye view of fireworks after the Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Hannah McKay

Reuters staff photographer Hannah McKay is based in London. In 2021 her images from the Clapham Common vigil arrest went viral.

Police detain a woman as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, Britain March 13

  • Patsy Stevenson is held down by two male officers at a vigil in Clapham, south London, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, 13 March.

Athletes in action during Semifinal 3 as rain falls in Tokyo, 2 August.
People watch a Fridays for Future march from their windows during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, 5 November
Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, 5 November

  • People watch a Fridays for Future march from their windows, and activist Greta Thunberg speaks later in the day at the same march, 5 November, Glasgow.

People look at the messages of support and the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford by the artist known as AKSE_P19, which is displayed on the wall of a cafe on Copson Street, Withington, after AKSE_P19 came to repair it today after it was defaced by vandals in the aftermath of England’s Euro final loss on July 13

Christopher Furlong

  • Messages of support at the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford by artist AKSE_P19 in Withington, Manchester, after after it was defaced by vandals in the aftermath of England’s Euro 2020 final loss on 13 July.

Christopher Furlong is Getty Images chief photographer in the UK covering news, documentary and daily life.

Dancers take to the famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom and move to the sound of the famous Wurlitzer organ on August 05. The historic ballroom, familiar to British TV viewers as the home of Strictly Come Dancing’s annual ballroom special, reopened in July after closing last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Festival fans listen to The Lathums during day two of the Tramlines Festival at Hillsborough Park in Sheffield, 24 July
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) tries to open his umbrella next to Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L), at the dedication ceremony of the new national UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, central England, on July 28, 2021
Nine migrants drift in the English Channel after their engine failed in Dover, 6 September. They were making their way to the South Coast of England when their outboard motor failed and only had one life jacket amongst them

  • Boris Johnson tries to open his umbrella next to Prince Charles, at the dedication ceremony of the new national UK police memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, central England, on 28 July 2021. Right; Nine migrants drift in the Channel after their engine failed in Dover, 6 September.

A Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul on August 18

Wakil Kohsar

Few nations endured as tumultuous a year as Afghanistan in 2021, and Afghan-born Wakil Kohsar currently serving as the chief photographer for AFP in Afghanistan, captured the dramatic fall of the country to the Taliban following the sudden American withdrawal in August including the scenes at Kabul airport.

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
A US soldier (C) point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021
Afghan newspaper Etilaat Roz journalists Nematullah Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi show their wounds in their office in Kabul after being released from Taliban custody

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