TIME’s Best Photojournalism of 2011

Dominic Nahr—Magnum for TIME
Dominic Nahr—Magnum for TIME
Dominic Nahr. From "Can Sudan Split Without Falling Apart?" January 10, 2011 issue.

A boy playing the keyboard is covered up a by a huge curtain during at a special event also attended by Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the semi-autonomous government and Vice President of Sudan, at the Nyakuron cultural centre in Juba. Daily life images of South Sudan during the run up to the Referendum being held January 9th 2011. Many are hopeful that everything will run peacefully, although others believe war may break out at any moment.

Sometimes words just aren’t enough. We realize that’s a bold statement for a news magazine to make. After all, words are our currency. Yet we know that there are times when, to fully tell the stories that need to be shared, we need more than words.

This year it was as evident as ever. From the tsunami in Japan, to the war in Afghanistan, to the Arab Spring, our reporters, columnists and correspondents worked tirelessly to bring you the stories that matter. But beyond the words and interviews that filled our pages, our photojournalists sought out the pictures that told a deeper story. Whether they were behind the political scene like Diana Walker as she photographed Hillary Clinton aboard a military plane or risking life and limb like Yuri Kozyrev as he captured the conflict of Libya’s revolution, TIME’s dedicated photographers brought the stories to life.

In March, acclaimed TIME contract photographer James Nachtwey traveled to Japan to capture images in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. A veteran photojournalist, even he found himself at a loss for words when trying to describe the country’s devastation. Yet in his hauntingly bleak images of ravaged towns and wounded families, we glimpsed what language failed to convey — and it was heart breaking.

TIME‘s words offer the important facts, clear-eyed insights and sharp analysis needed to understand the story. Our photojournalism offers the chance to not only see, but also feel the story. —Megan Gibson

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