The Most Surprising Photos of 2013

Sydney Festival's giant Rubber Duck installation
Damian Shaw—EPA
Jan. 3, 2013. A giant Rubber Duck installation in Darling Harbour, Australia, the latest incarnation of artist Florentijn Hofman's famous oversized toy which measures 15m high and 18m wide.

While the culture of social media did its best to ensure that 2013 had its fair share of entertaining, surprising and, above all, shareable photo moments, ultimately the past twelve months included as many genuinely shocking as surprising pictures. The year left us in varying states of outrage, bewilderment, bemusement and astonishment.

But there were some wonderfully unexpected and unusual images—a shark inside a shark and selfies with the Pope to a bear on a tightrope and a bundle of baby pandas—that delighted, enthralled and distracted us. Here, LightBox looks back over the past twelve months and presents a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors—and which, we trust, maintain their ability to utterly, thoroughly surprise.


Phil Bicker is a senior photo editor at TIME.


Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Qin Hao

Meet Panono, the All-Seeing Camera You Toss in the Air

It might look a bit like space-age basketball, but it's actually a portable, bounce-able Google streetview-style camera. Meet Panono, a passion project by Berlin-born photographer Jonas Pfeil.

Read More
EGYPT. Cairo. 2012.

After the Revolution: Interior Lives in Egypt

A woman and children hide inside Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2013.

Tyler Hicks, Josh Haner Pick Up 2014 Photography Pulitzer Prizes