2020 has dealt us all a difficult hand, but luckily the new year is just around the corner, so what better way to reflect than through some of this year’s most powerful photos.
The picture of 2 widowed penguins has to be our all-time favorite snap…
And when you read the story behind it, you’ll understand why it’s so poignant right now. But first, let’s take a look at the rundown of some of this year’s most powerful pictures…
A firefighter sprays foam retardant on a backburn ahead of a fire front in the New South Wales town of Jerrawangala.
A long exposure picture shows a car commuting on a road as the sky turns red from the smoke of the Snowy Valley bushfire on the outskirts of Cooma, Australia.
People gather around a makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant after learning of his death, at LA Live plaza in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles.
People wearing protective masks purchase meat products at a market on January 29, 2020, in Hong Kong, China.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House 1 day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on 2 articles of impeachment after 5 months of investigation.
Director Bong Joon-ho, winner of the Original Screenplay, International Feature Film, Directing, and Best Picture awards for Parasite poses in the press room during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland.
A mural depicting deceased NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, painted by @sloe_motions, is displayed on a building.
Medical staff, wearing protective gear, move a patient infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) from an ambulance to a hospital in South Korea.
An almost empty street is seen at Times Square in Manhattan on March 16, 2020, in New York City. Stocks tumbled on March 16, 2020, despite emergency central bank measures to prop up the virus -The global economy was battered as countries across Europe started the week in lockdown, and major US cities shut bars and restaurants.
The evangelical pastor Klaus-Martin Pothmann stands in front of photos of believers who were asked to send in pictures to represent them among the pews at the St. Pankratius church in Hamm, Germany.
A woman walks through the Square Mile at sunrise on April 10, 2020, in London, England.
A maintenance worker uses cleaning products to remove graffiti after Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was defaced, in a mostly empty Hollywood, California.
Telephone boxes as rain falls in an empty Parliament Square on April 28, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who returned to Downing Street this week after recovering from Covid-19, said the country needed to continue its lockdown measures to avoid a second spike in infections.
American and Confederate flags fly at a residence in the Fancy Bluff neighborhood on May 7, 2020, where Ahmaud Arbery lived in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was shot and killed during a confrontation with an armed father and son in the nearby Satilla Shores neighborhood on Feb 23.
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse.
People are seen practicing social distancing in white circles in Domino Park during the Covid-19 pandemic on May 17, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Muslim devotees offer prayers at the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Jami mosque, in Herat. The Taliban proposed a 3-day truce over the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Alexandre Schleier (L) speaks with his eighty-one-year-old grandmother Olivia Schleier (R) through a window at the Premier Hospital, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A police officer (L) holds down a protester while another (back) sprays pepper spray as they clash outside the District Four Police station during a Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality and racism in the US, including the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump watch the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A protester holds a die-in in front of a row of police officers during a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd at the State Capital building in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Protesters gather, observing social distancing, during a demonstration on the Malieveld in The Hague, after the police killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd in the USA. – The United States had erupted into days and nights of protests, violence, and looting, following the death of George Floyd after he was detained and held down by a knee to his neck, dying shortly after.
A demonstrator fist bumps a member of the National Guard during a march in response to George Floyd’s death in Los Angeles, California.
Protesters hold up their phones during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, outside the White House.
A protester yells at a wall of security guards as she and others demonstrate over the death of George Floyd near the White House.
U.S. President Donald Trump shushes journalists before signing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC.
Demonstrators raise their fists as a fire burns in the street after clashes with law enforcement near the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct shortly after midnight in Seattle.
A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia.
A group of men including Patrick Hutchinson (carrying the man) help an injured man away after he was allegedly attacked by some of the crowd of protesters on the Southbank near Waterloo station, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade.
Joseph Fons holding a Pride Flag in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building after the court ruled that LGBTQ+ people can not be disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation.
In an aerial view from a drone, a large-scale ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor with the text “Black Lives Matter” is seen being painted at Chambers Park in Annapolis, Maryland.
A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut.
A man reacts at the scene of an explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital Beirut. 2 huge explosions rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings, and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.
Former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) and senator from California and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris greet supporters outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, held virtually amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A woman holds a photograph of the late US actor and producer Chadwick Boseman during a candlelight vigil held by fans in Los Angeles. Boseman, star of the groundbreaking superhero movie Black Panther, died at the age of forty-three after a private 4-year battle with colon cancer, his publicist told AFP August 28th.
A firefighter douses flames as they push towards homes during the Creek Fire in the Cascadel Woods area of unincorporated Madera County, California. A firework at a gender reveal party triggered a wildfire in southern California that had at that point destroyed 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) and forced many residents to flee their homes, the fire department said.
The flag-draped casket of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, carried by Supreme Court police officers, arrives in the Great Hall at the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC. Trump spent 3 days hospitalized for coronavirus.
Pope Francis attends an inter-religious prayer service for peace along with other religious representatives in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, a church on top of Rome’s Capitoline Hill.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Protestors wearing Handmaid’s Tale outfits stand outside of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC in light of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September.
People wait in line outside of a Masonic temple in Brooklyn as early voting began on October 24, 2020, in New York City. Thousands of New Yorkers came out to support their candidate for president and other offices as voting began in New York.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden waves to supporters as he finishes speaking during a drive-in campaign rally in the parking lot of Cellairis Amphitheater.
A person dressed as Jesus holds a sign supporting Kanye West outside a “Make America Great Again” campaign rally at the Rochester International Airport in Rochester, Minnesota.
People watch a big screen displaying the live election results in Florida at Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House on election day in Washington, DC.
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris arrives to deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, after being declared the winner with Joe Biden of the presidential election.
Fireworks explode above Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House as thousands waited to hear President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speak from Delaware on November 7, 2020, in Washington, DC.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 15, 2020.
U.S. Army E7 Tameouzi Green embraces his wife Vanessa after he returned home from a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan on December 10, 2020, at Fort Drum, New York. Green said he has deployed 6 times during the couple’s twenty-five-year marriage.
Photographer Tobias Baumgaertner won the Community Choice Award for his moving photograph of 2 penguins, after going viral online.
Baumgaertner wrote: “It has been an honor to be selected as one of the 5 Images and I cannot express my gratitude towards everyone who has supported me and my penguin image up to this point!
“THANKS A MILLION, you guys are the best!”
He wrote: “During times like this the truly lucky ones are those that can be with the person/people they love most. I captured this moment about a year ago.
“These 2 Fairy penguins poised upon a rock overlooking the Melbourne skyline were standing there for hours, flipper in flipper, watching the sparkling lights of the skyline and ocean.
“A volunteer approached me and told me that the white one was an elderly lady who had lost her partner and apparently so did the younger male to the left. Since then they meet regularly comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the dancing lights of the nearby city.”
“I spent 3 full nights with this penguin colony until I was able to get this picture. Between not being able or allowed to use any lights and the tiny penguins continuously moving, rubbing their flippers on each other’s backs and cleaning one another, it was really hard to get a shot but I got lucky during one beautiful moment.
“I hope you enjoy this moment as much as I did.”
The original poster wrote: “Couldn’t stop thinking about these penguins enjoying the Melbourne skyline together so I found the original photographer and apparently they’re BOTH WIDOWED I can’t handle it.”
Tobias’ Instagram page is filled with amazing shots, but the picture below has captured all our hearts this difficult year…
This year has definitely tested us. Hopefully, 2021 will be kinder to us all.