2021: The year in pictures

From the US Capitol riot to the first post-lockdown pints in England’s reopening pubs, photographers were there to document a tumultuous year

Alex Hickson
Thursday 30 December 2021 23:34
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<p>The Independent brings you the best pictures from 2021 </p>

The Independent brings you the best pictures from 2021

The year 2021 began with optimism as vaccines were released with a hope that there might soon be a return to normal following a year of global shutdown due to the pandemic.

But it quickly became apparent that the year would be far from normal. The fears and divisions underpinning society were thrown into sharp relief with the backdrop of the Covid crisis. The year began with the insurrection at the US Capitol Building and ended with the rise of the Omicron variant and the feverish rush to roll out the booster vaccines.

During the year governments fell, the world faced unprecedented climate destruction, democracy was tested, and the issues of migration caused heated debate.

Photographers were there to capture all the heartache, conflict and beauty of a tumultuous year. The Independent has put together the best photography of 2021 taken from photojournalist from around the world.

January

A woman wearing a face mask touches the face of an elderly patient of a nursing home through a special curtain, in Rome, Italy

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington

Gabrielle Burns-Smith in her flooded home on the outskirts of Lymm in Cheshire as Storm Christoph causes widespread flooding across the UK

February

A farmer walking in a swarm of desert locust in Meru, Kenya

A couple kiss in front of a barricade set on fire by demonstrators during clashes with police following a protest condemning the imprisonment of rap singer Pablo Hasél in Barcelona, Spain

Participants wear protective clothing at the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, dubbed the most dangerous display in the world

March

Police detain Patsy Stevenson as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common Bandstand, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard

Hikers look at the lava flowing from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano some 40 km west of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik

April

John Witts enjoys his first pint in Birmingham as England eases lockdown restrictions

People react as the verdict is announced in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid are seen at a cremation ground in New Delhi

Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle

May

A man is doused by a water cannon during protests against Belgium’s Covid restrictions

A gibbon walks amid models of vehicles at a zoo in the park of miniatures in Bakhchisaray, Crimea

River herring swim in a stream in Franklin, Maine. The species were once headed for the endangered species list but have been making a comeback this year

A ballerina in the National Opera performs in Bucharest, Romania

June

Members of the media take pictures as a healthcare worker administers a Covid vaccine to a woman in San Juan, Philippines

Aerial view of the Heroes 19 de Julio cemetery in Comas, on the northern outskirts of Lima as Peru’s death toll from coronavirus had doubled

A bolt of lightning crosses the sky on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing

People make their way down steps to Durdle Door in Dorset as temperatures soared

July

A helicopter pours water onto the forest fire originated in Girona, Spain

The Prince of Wales looks on as Prime Minister Boris Johnson struggles with an umbrella at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire

Bukayo Saka of England is consoled by Head Coach, Gareth Southgate after his penalty miss during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final

People take the knee in support of England football player Marcus Rashford in front of his mural on Copson Street, Withington

August

A home is engulfed in flames as the Dixie fire rages south of Janesville in Northern California

Afghan people sit inside a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul

A polar bear is seen on ice floes in the British Channel in the Franz Josef Land archipelago

Approximately 400 migrants on a boat off the island of Lampedusa, Italy

September

Orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakasi, lies in the arms of her caregiver, Andre Bauma, shortly before her death at Virunga National Park

United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Texas

Afghan girls are pictured as they step out of their respective classes, in a school in Kandahar

October

A car drives through an empty street in the neighborhood of La Laguna as lava flows from the Cumbre Vieja Volcano

An army soldier helps a schoolgirl get to her parents, after a gunfire erupted in Beirut, Lebanon

November

A wall which fell and damaged a car during Storm Arwen which battered the UK

A migrant child drinks in a camp near Bruzgi-Kuznica checkpoint on the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region, Belarus

A migrant carries her children after being helped ashore from a RNLI lifeboat at a beach in Dungeness

December

Six giraffes bodies which died after they got stuck in mud as they tired to drink from a nearly dried up reservoir in Wajir County, Kenya

Youths rear their horses as they ride during stormy weather along a beach by the Mediterranean Sea in Gaza City

People queue at a vaccination centre at St Thomas' Hospital in London, as the coronavirus booster vaccination programme is ramped up

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