It's 1950 and what better way to commemorate the mid-point of the most momentous 100 years in human history than with a snapshot of mid-century madness supplied by the Hulton Getty Picture Library. In this photograph, which apparently records an extraordinary lottery held at a Japanese cultural festival, 1,500 young men are desperately searching for two prize-winning batons in complete darkness (illumination was briefly provided for the photographer's benefit). Whatever reaction it provokes, this picture speaks volumes for the power of the photograph to bear witness to our lives as no other medium can.

Over the past 50 days, in association with the Hulton Getty Picture Library, the Independent has been celebrating the epoch of the photograph with an arresting image from each of the 20th century's first 50 years. "98 for 98" is our contribution to Photo 98 - The Year of Photography and The Electronic Image (an Arts Council of England initiative). Publishing a stunning image redolent of that particular year (many of which are on view publicly for the first time), the Independent's photo-history will continue until we've caught the spirit of 1998 itself in a striking image. Across the UK, Photo 98 is giving a platform to the world's photographic talent in a series of high-profile national events and exhibitions, featuring 120 new commissions and the work of more than 400 artists.

What's more, no daily newspaper is more qualified than the Independent for such a visual history. In the 3,559 editions since its launch in 1986, the Independent has time and again proved itself committed to the very best in photography and continues to give it the highest priority.

For more information about Photo 98, call 01484 559 888 or visit www.photo98.com. Current exhibitions: "Lot 384", an installation by Marion Harrison, explores the materiality of magic lantern slides, touching on their historical significance and origins. To 18 April. Batley Art Gallery, Market Place, Batley WF17 5DA, 01924 326 090.

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