time2013

Photography by Reuters

March 5, 2013. A mouse climbs onto the back of a snake as it bites another mouse during the snake’s feeding time at a zoo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The mouse failed to stop the snake and was swallowed by another snake soon after, local media reported.

TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2013, a look back at a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors.

Photograph by Taslima Akhter

Savar Dhaka, Bangladesh. April 24, 2013.

“Around 2 AM among the many dead bodies inside the collapse, I found a couple at the back of the building, embracing each other in the rubble. The lower parts of their bodies were stuck under the concrete. A drop of blood from the man’s eye ran like a tear. Since then, this couple remains firmly in my heart. So many questions rose in my mind. What were they thinking at the last moment of their lives?”

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2013

Photograph by John Tlumacki—The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Boston, Mass., USA. April 15, 2013.

“The first bomb went off on the Boylston Street sidewalk less than 45 feet from me. The percussion from the blast jolted me. I saw runner Bill Iffrig from Lake Stevens, Wash., fall to the pavement. I ran forward to photograph him. Three Boston Police officers bolted towards him at the same time, one with her gun drawn, as the second bomb exploded three blocks away. I had not seen the officer’s gun until I edited the photos. I didn’t understand at first what had happened, thinking maybe it was a cannon salute or a manhole explosion. But when I ran to the sidewalk area several feet away, I saw the horror of what the bomb did. I then began to comprehend what I was photographing. I tried not to take my eye off the camera. Smoke was thick. A police officer looked me in the eyes and said, “You shouldn’t be here. Another bomb could go off.” Bodies were still smoldering, legs were blown off, and massive amounts of blood covered the sidewalk.”

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2013

Photograph by Olivier Voisin (1974 - 2013)—Demotix/Corbis

Twenty-five journalists have died in Syria alone since the inception of the conflict in March 2011. Freelance photojournalist Olivier Voisin died of shrapnel wounds near the city of Idlib while covering the conflict earlier this year. In an email sent to a friend shortly before his passing, Voisin expressed his fear that the war will continue for many years. Voisin died in February. He was 38.

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013 on LightBox.

Photograph by Allan Sekula (1951 - 2013)—Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

Artist and critic Allan Sekula not only influenced how we understand photography, but redefined how the medium is discussed. Working between the worlds of conceptual and documentary photography and film, Sekula tackled issues of late contemporary capitalism and globalization, as in his projects Fish Story (above).

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2013 on LightBox.

2013: The Year in 365 Pictures

Pictured: Dec. 4, 2013. A general view of the welcoming ceremony of the promotion of new police officers at the Prefecture de police in Paris, France. (Pierre Andrieu—AFP/Getty Images)

Visit LightBox for updates throughout the month as we complete our 365 gallery, featuring one photograph from each calendar day of the past year selected by TIME’s Senior Photo Editor Phil Bicker.

Photograph by Muzaffar Salman—Reuters

Sept. 18, 2013. A Kurdish Free Syrian Army fighter holds out a doll while his fellow fighter takes shooting position in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, Syria.

TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2013, a look back at a selection of under-reported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors.

Photograph by (1) Carl Court—AFP/Getty Images | (2) Nick Morrish—British Airways/Eyevine/Zuma Press

These days, it’s close to impossible for a photographer to produce a wholly original image. Everyone is a photographer, and chances are, if you’re taking a photograph of something, someone else is too.

See LightBox’s 2013: An Amazing Year of Déjà Vu gallery featuring over 100 diptych and triptychs of images filed on the news wires that awaken a familiar sense of recognition.

Photograph by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding/Reuters

March 10, 2013. A female giant panda, Ke Lin, watches a panda mating video at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Sichuan province. According to the staff of the research base, they showed Ke Lin this video trying to teach her know how to mate as she kept rejecting her. After watching this video, Ke Lin and Yong Yong successfully mated.

TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2013, a look back at a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors.



Photograph by Alessio Romenzi

April 15, 2013. Relatives of a civilian wounded by a regime forces air strike brought balloons in his hospital room in Aleppo, Syria.

One of my personal favorite images of the year. A beautifully quiet and subtlety poignant image from Syria made by Alessio Romenzi, a frequent contributor to TIME. This photograph would surely have made the 365 gallery were it not taken on the same date as the Boston Marathon Bombing. —Phil Bicker, Senior Photo Editor, TIME

Read more on Photos of the Year That Almost Got Away: Behind and Beyond 365 on LightBox.

Photograph by William Daniels—Panos for TIME

From the tunnels deep underneath Moscow to the storm-ravaged aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, the halls of the White House and the chaos in the Central African Republic, TIME photographers captured some of the year’s most compelling news images. 

See TIME’s Best Photojournalism of 2013 on LightBox.

Photograph by Eugene Reznik

Over the past month, LightBox has published its selection of year-end galleries, a retrospective photographic survey of the year that was: the 10 best photos of the year, the best of TIME’s commissioned portraits and photojournalism, the best photobooks, the year’s most surprising photos, the year in déjà vu and 365 (a photo per day in 2013).

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we do it and a spotlight on some of the photos of the year that (almost) got away.

Watch on timelightbox.tumblr.com

Video: Endless Love — Inside the Photo Albums of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer

On June 26, 2013, in the landmark case of United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional — a victory that made Edith Windsor‘s marriage to Thea Spyer, her partner of more than 40 years, legally recognized by the federal government. It was an outcome Windsor prayed would benefit every gay American.

Edith Windsor is runner-up for TIME’s Person of the Year.