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How can we make the best of a bad situation? What are the moments that spark joy? These are some of the questions we’ve been thinking about a lot — and happily, we’ve found some visual stories that provide insight into the little things. Tyler Mitchell’s work never fails to delight, and his visual quest for what utopia could look like makes a better future feel both possible and profound. Similarly, Lucas Foglia’s work examines how the the natural world interplays with humankind.

Sartre said that “hell is other people,” which is a fair stance some days, but the inspiring project by Neil Kramer about his time in quarantine with his mom and ex-wife suggests that peace can be forged — even in seemingly fraught situations. When Cornell Watson was laid off, he was able to turn his passion for photography into a career by examining the Black experience. Daniella Zalcman has been looking at how the Hawaiian language is being preserved for future generations. Our photo roundup of chess players through history proves that good things transcend borders and time. Speaking of time, now is when all the yearly roundups start, including a can’t-miss portrait series by the New York Times and a thoughtful look by American Photography about how democracy is visualized.

Speaking of which, sign up for JPG, the newsletter from BuzzFeed News’ photo desk, to hear what it’s like to cover the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as a photographer.

Tyler Mitchell’s Love for a Common Way of Life – Aperture, Issue 241, “Utopia”

Young teenagers running and playing in a field under a blue sky.


Tyler Mitchell

These Historical Photos Of Chess Will Make You Want To Play — BuzzFeed News

Group of women huddled over a chess board on a stoop


Keystone-france / Getty Images

He Was Laid Off, But Now Takes Stunning Photos Of The Diversity Of Blackness – BuzzFeed News

A man lying on a flag with his head underwater as two boys watch him


Cornell Watson

The Inspiring Quest To Revive The Hawaiian Language — Smithsonian Magazine

Woman with ukulele sitting in a semi circle of young children


Daniella Zalcman

Closeup: Photographers Who Capture Democracy in Action — American Photography’s Pro-Photo Daily

Young girl with American flag screaming in joy


Mark Peterson

This Photographer Has Made The Best Of Quarantine With His Ex-Wife And His Mother — BuzzFeed News

Man in bathtub with two women on either side of him


Neil Kramer

Great Performers 2020 — The New York Times Magazine

Woman peering into the camera.


Gareth McConnell



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