TIME’s Best Portraits of 2012

Mark Seliger for TIME
Mark Seliger for TIME
Warren Buffett. From "Warren Buffett Is on a Radical Track," January 23, 2012 issue.

A great portrait captures the very essence of its subject, and this year, TIME continued its long legacy of storytelling with a number of compelling photographs. 2012 saw newsmakers in several categories and countries, so we sent photographers around the world to capture them as they made their mark. In Turkey, Peter Hapak photographed several Syrian families who had sought refuge in the country after fleeing their homeland to escape the brutality of Assad’s regime; in Iowa, Martin Schoeller captured Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas as the young gymnast trained — both in the gym and at home; and in Israel, Marco Grob photographed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in 2012, proved that his influence is not only large, but lasting. Their portraits — and the rest in this gallery — are visual testaments to the diverse and colorful personalities who made 2012 memorable; herewith, a look at TIME’s best commissioned portraits this year.

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LOVED ONE LOST:NAME: Jabril BradleyAGE: 20DOB: 10/6/1990SEX: MaleDATE OF DEATH: 9/1/2011TIME: After MidnightLOCATION: 9th st and Ave of the States, Chester, PACIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO MURDER: Bradley was riding his bike home from a friend’s house on the east side of Chester, September 1, 2011, when an unknown gunman opened fire. He was struck in the back once and continued to ride his bike home. A number of blocks later he collapsed to the ground from blood loss. He bled to death on the street. Bradley’s family claim that he was shot because of mistaken identity. According to his mother, Bradley was supposed to still be in prison. He was serving a sentence for possession of a controlled substance and was allegedly released before his time was up. Within weeks of his murder, the FBI came looking for Bradley at his mothers house, claiming that he got released by mistake. IN PHOTOGRAPH:NAME OF FAMILY MEMBERS: Sister to Jabril Bradley: Danita Harris, 30.Son to Danita Harris: Jah’lil Harris, 3.

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