TOKYO (AP) — Individually, the photographs are the product of a moment, capturing glimpses of joy, grief, rage, hope, and resilience.
As a whole, the work this year of Associated Press photojournalists in Asia forms a visual patchwork quilt, an extraordinary reflection of the varied panoply of human experience in one of the world’s most fascinating regions.
Some of these pictures delight. Some horrify.
Some, even after repeated examination, retain a sense of mystery.
Take an American ballerina, clad in shimmering white, caught in a blur of revolving motion as she rehearses in China. Or a Muslim bride who gazes pensively through a saffron-colored veil during a mass wedding ceremony in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Or footprints left in a patch of green moss after prayers in New Delhi.
In Malaysia, a base jumper dives from a tower above the sparkling city lights of Kuala Lumpur at night. Blood splatters like raindrops from the tattooed body of a Filipino penitent as he flagellates himself to atone for sins.
There is violence and tragedy here, too.
An enraged young man leaps onto the fallen body of a security officer in Bangladesh. Ethnic Rohingya wade through the surf, their meager belongings clutched in their hands, after being denied refuge in Indonesia.
As with many great news photographs, a single image is often all it takes to illustrate the complex political and social currents that sweep through the region.
A dozen police officers in Hong Kong, for instance, surround a single woman as they march her away on the eve of the 34th anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square massacre.
A blurred double image shows Russian President Vladimir Putin as he delivers a speech in China.
A group of men help support the elderly Dalai Lama after the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader speaks to a group of students, his flowing robes blending into those of the monks around him.
Some of this year’s most powerful photos reveal the beautiful, often deadly power of nature.
A vast ocean of stars glitters in the night sky over traditional sheepskin tents in remote Mongolia. Whales dive in a harbor near Sydney, their tails poised above the water in lovely synchronicity.
A veil of sand and dust seems to envelop a man wearing a green mask as he walks among Beijing’s office buildings.
And in the Philippines, lava flows like red icing down the black slopes of a volcano.