(AFP Photo/ Martin Bernetti)
"I had never managed to capture a force of nature as stunning as a volcanic eruption", writes AFP photographer Martin Bernetti. "Chile has some 90 active volcanoes that roar to life from time to time with the kind of raw natural power that every photographer dreams of catching. But the country is extremely long and narrow, and domestic flights are usually cancelled whenever volcanic activity picks up. That means getting to an eruption usually takes hours of driving. And when you get there, the volcano will most likely have calmed down..."
“These two faces tell the story of Turkey’s deadliest ever industrial disaster,” writes Bulent Kilic, who captured this embrace between a father and his son, rescued from a horrific death after a mine blast left hundreds trapped underground.
(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)
Iranian photographer Arash Khamooshi captured the moment a mother spared the life of her son's killer. "At 6:20 am Balal was led out in handcuffs by prison guards. He was wearing a blindfold and they put the noose around his neck," he writes. "He cried out for forgiveness but the mother, who under 'qisas' -- the sharia law of retribution -- has the right to kick away the chair on which the condemned man stands, said she was not willing to forgive."
(AFP/ Arash Khamooshi / ISNA)
Mahmud Hams spent the summer photographing the last war in Gaza. "Fifty days of shots of children crushed in the rubble. Parents weeping beside lifeless little bodies. Death. Destruction. Funerals of men, women, children, sometimes very young children," he writes. "And suddenly, on the same beach where an Israeli missile killed four children playing football, I see an image of pure joy: a happy father throwing his laughing baby up into the air. Ten days after the end of the war, I understand that it is over."
(AFP Photo / Mahmud Hams)
"This has been a tragic year for journalists," writes Kenzo Tribouillard. "But there were also moments of great joy and relief for the profession, and I was lucky enough to witness one of them. On April 20 at dawn, I headed to the Villacoublay military airport outside Paris to cover the homecoming of four French journalists, held captive in Syria for months."
(AFP Photo / Kenzo Tribouillard)
"This was a crowded market before the Syria uprising. It’s one of the worst-damaged streets in Douma, the rebel bastion in the suburbs of Damascus that has been under government siege for more than a year now," writes Abd Doumany. "People are certainly not safe to venture outside, but they have to."
(AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)
When he travelled to the strife-torn Central African Republic in February, Issouf Sanogo witnessed an extraordinary scene after a visit by President Samba Panza. "As her car revs up to leave, dozens of women and children start running behind it, jumping with joy, laughing and yelling," he writes. "That brief explosion of joy, captured on camera, is such a relief, so different from the atrocities I have been photographing."
(AFP Photo / Issouf Sanogo)
"Among the crowd hanging out around midday at the pro-democracy protest camp in early October in Hong Kong's Admiralty district was a young woman with the word 'democracy' written on her leg," writes AFP photojournalist Alex Ogle. "There were a bunch of (male) photographers around taking her photo and I walked past not particularly interested in joining the pack to get a shot, only to double back a second later to get a picture. A young woman sitting there with a political statement on her body seemed pretty bold for such a demure crowd."
(AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)
"I took this picture on July 1 in the port of Pozzallo at the southern tip of Sicily. It shows migrant families waiting to disembark from an Italian navy ship after being rescued in the Strait of Sicily," writes Giovanni Isolino. "Covering migrant landings and shipwrecks, sometimes you see children arriving alone. And even when they have their families, they are usually upset, and frightened. Seeing a child smile like this is something very rare, and special."
(AFP Photo / Giovanni Isolino)
"It was bitterly cold on the hilltop, with an icy wind whipping up gusts of snow. We had come to attend a ceremony in memory of fallen pro-Russian rebels -- held at the vast Savur-Mogyla World War II memorial," writes AFP photographer Eric Feferberg. "It is a truly Dantean complex that was partly destroyed in fighting between Ukrainian government troops and separatists in July and August. Being there, you had both a sense of real beauty and nostalgia, and of utter desolation."
(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)
"As the time of Christmas stockings draws near, my gift came early with the Victoria's Secret 2014 show," writes AFP's Leon Neal, sent to cover the celebrity-packed lingerie show in London. "But I knew this was a serious event on the photographer’s calendar, not to be taken lightly however frilly the subject." For it is a fact of the news business: smiling, scantily-clad supermodels often drive more sales than headline politics, sports or entertainment.
(AFP Photo /Leon Neal)
Akbar Khan survived the Bhopal gas disaster 30 years ago -- but it left him with acute breathing, heart and joint problems. Steam baths are one of the Ayurvedic methods used to treat thousands like him, at a clinic in the Indian city. "It's difficult to photograph a tragedy after so many years," writes AFP's Indranil Mukherjee. "You’re trying to find an original angle and the best lighting to bring out the survivors’ emotions. But at the same time, you have to be extremely sensitive. After all, they’re having to relive the trauma of an event in which they lost a part of their life."
Health workers dance in front of a severely ill Ebola patient at a treatment center run by the Red Cross Society in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on November 15, 2014. "The scene lasted two minutes", said AFP reporters Ann Chaon and Céline Cléry, who witnessed it. "A way to distract the patients — and try to bring some relief to their sorrow and fear. A moment of grace in a world hungry for it, in these dark days of Ebola. And we, too, were grateful for it."
"I came across Shuruq by chance one day, while walking in a playground in Aleppo", writes photographer Baraa Al-Halabi. "The nine-year-old little girl was playing with her brother, two sisters and mother. Since she has no legs, her big brother was pushing her on the swing".
"Aleppo was once Syria's economic capital. The town has been ravaged by more than two years of merciless fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces. Daily bombings by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have left thousands of people dead and caused mass destruction. Shuruq's mother says she lost her legs when a bomb destroyed her home".
(AFP Photo / Baraa Al-Halabi)
(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)
A black flag torn down
Bombs launched by Western aircraft strike an Islamic State group position on the Tilsehir hill, west of the Syrian town of Kobane, on October 23, 2014. AFP video reporter Mostafa Abulezz tells the story behind these impressive images.
A Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police while he was covering a protest in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 17, 2014. AFP photographer Alex Ogle tells how he shot this striking image.
(AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis
Black flag over Kobane
Fighters keep watch under the black flag of the Islamic State group on a hill to the east of the Syrian town of Kobane. AFP photographer Aris Messinis shot the picture early in the afternoon on Monday, October 6 from the Turkish village of Mursitpinar, just across the border. Its unusual composition and the fact that the militants' silhouettes seem out of proportion to other elements led some AFP clients to call the agency to check it was real.
It was. Here is the explanation.
AFP Photo / Gabriel Bouys
The street stars of Milan fashion week
"A big fashion show is like a Hollywood film premiere: the A-list stars take their time getting there. But outside, the crowds arrive well in advance to get noticed, and snapped posing at a top world fashion event", writes the AFP chief photographer for Italy Gabriel Bouys. "This year, just for once, I slipped away from the catwalks and took my camera backstage, and outside, where I discovered a buzzing parallel world I had no idea was there."
AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana
War as spectator sport in the Golan Heights
"It is before dawn on the Golan Heights and a squad of Syrian government troops are engaged in fierce combat with rebels of the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front", writes AFP Jerusalem-based photographer Menahem Kahana. "The clashes are taking place just metres from the barbed wire fence that separates the Syrian side of the strategic plateau from the Israeli-held sector. I am watching from an abandoned Israeli army bunker, around 100 metres from the demarcation line. This is war, taking place right before my eyes, and yet it could almost be another world. I am not a target, and none of the fighters cares remotely what is happening on the Israeli side."
"I have the strangest sense of being in a movie theatre."
James Foley: focus on humanity amid suffering
Colleagues remember the American reporter James Foley, a beloved companion who was executed by jihadist militants. (AFP Photo/Nicole Tung)