Photo © Stephanie Foden

Our Favorite Photos of 2018

The 10 images by our contributors that astonished and inspired us the most this year.

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By Ellen Hall

Editorial Producer

24 Jan 2019 - 5 Minute Read

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If you need any proof that the world is a dazzling, diverse, and fascinating place, look no further than our photo contributors. Through photo essays and scholarship entries, they took us all over the globe this past year, from a sulfur mine in Indonesia, to a rock-hewn church in Ethiopia, to a blues club in America’s Deep South.

They told us stories about back-breaking work, joyous celebrations, human generosity, and age-old traditions. They showed us how very differently people around the world live, and how much we actually have in common.

Here are our favorite images from 2018 – believe us, it was hard to narrow it down to only 10!

At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, men and women wait to be served a vegetarian lunch by volunteers.
Emily Polar
At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, men and women wait to be served a vegetarian lunch by volunteers.

Photographer Emily Polar volunteered at the Golden Temple, which receives and feeds up to 150,000 people daily. Check out her photo essay and read about her experience here.

Bluesman Lucious Spiller pours his heart out through his fingers at Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Stephanie Foden
Bluesman Lucious Spiller pours his heart out through his fingers at Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Stephanie Foden and her partner Joel Balsam took a road trip through rural Mississippi, USA, ground zero for the blues. Follow their complete journey here.

Pilgrims prepare to enter one of Lalibela's many rock-hewn churches.
James Griesedieck
Pilgrims prepare to enter one of Lalibela's many rock-hewn churches.

James Griesedieck won our 2018 Travel Photography Scholarship with this essay about Christmas Day celebrations in Lalibela, Ethiopia's most holy city. See the rest of his award-winning photos.

Seek, and you shall find order in chaos, like the regular shapes and straight lines in this image from the old community housing neighborhood near downtown Saigon.
Satyaki Chakraborti
Seek, and you shall find order in chaos, like the regular shapes and straight lines in this image from the old community housing neighborhood near downtown Saigon.

Satyaki Chakraborti was a finalist in our 2018 Scholarship. View the complete entry about community housing blocks in Saigon.

In the volcanic crater of Kawah Ijen, in East Java, Indonesia, miners carry inhuman loads of sulfur on their shoulders, from the bottom to the peak.
Francesco Soave
In the volcanic crater of Kawah Ijen, in East Java, Indonesia, miners carry inhuman loads of sulfur on their shoulders, from the bottom to the peak.

Francesco Soave was another of our 2018 Scholarship finalists. Here is his complete entry about Indonesian sulfur miners.

Teams equipped with water pistols and balloons descend on the streets of Siem Reap during the Khmer New Year celebrations.
Kelly Beckta
Teams equipped with water pistols and balloons descend on the streets of Siem Reap during the Khmer New Year celebrations.

For her scholarship workshop, previous Scholarship Winner Kelly Beckta documented the Khmer New Year in Cambodia, which includes epic water fights. Here's the resulting photo essay.

Pehalwani wrestlers doing their full-body workouts before and after their twice-daily training.
Sai Priya
Pehalwani wrestlers doing their full-body workouts before and after their twice-daily training.

Sai Priya made our 2018 Scholarship shortlist with her essay about Pehalwans at the wrestling training institutes of Kolhapur, India.

A nomadic herder in Mongolia wrestles a half-wild horse to the ground.
Dimitri Staszewski
A nomadic herder in Mongolia wrestles a half-wild horse to the ground.

Dimitri Staszewski witnessed this awe-inspiring yearly ritual, where nomadic herders cut the manes and tails of some 50 horses. Learn about his experience in his photo essay.

A wild honey hunter climbs down a cliff to harvest a honeycomb, as a swarm of angry bees attacks.
Bhishma Thapa
A wild honey hunter climbs down a cliff to harvest a honeycomb, as a swarm of angry bees attacks.

Bhishma Thapa made our 2018 Scholarship shortlist with his essay about wild honey hunters in Nepal. View the rest of his amazing photos here.

These 3,000-year-old cave dwellings in southeast Iran are still inhabited.
Maria Sahai
These 3,000-year-old cave dwellings in southeast Iran are still inhabited.

Maria Sahai visited the semi-nomadic villagers of Meymand, Iran, to get a glimpse of a vanishing way of life. She shares the full story in this photo essay.

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Editorial Producer

Content producer in World Nomads' North America office, editor of the Stories section, and resident bird nerd.

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