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Striking Photos of the Past and Present of Papua New Guinea

Is any place on the planet less familiar to Americans than heavily forested, mountainous, linguistically complex, faraway Papua New Guinea? The images on these pages document just a few points on the wide spectrum of life in PNG today. At one end is what might be called extravagant tradition. To see that, the photographer Sandro, who’s based in Chicago, went to the Eastern Highlands and attended the Goroka Show. That’s a three-day festival where people from all over the country showcase their customs. In a makeshift studio Sandro photographed men…

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Photos Document the Last Remaining Old-Growth Pine Forests of the American South

Before the early 20th century, longleaf pine forests were ubiquitous to the southern coastal plains, encompassing approximately 90 million acres of land. But years of deforestation by the logging and farming industries took its toll on the forested ecosystem, and today only 3 percent remains. Growing up in the pine belt of southern Mississippi, Chuck Hemard would explore the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forest adjacent to his neighborhood, but it wouldn’t be until 2010 that the photographer would embark on a seven-year project capturing what still exists of the forests…

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Photos Celebrate the Lives of Gender Non-Conforming Spirit Mediums in Southeast Asia

Mariette Pathy Allen has often been called the unofficial chronicler of transgender life. The award-winning photographer and activist has spent the last three decades putting a lens on the many and varied trans and gender nonconforming communities in the United States and abroad. Since publishing her groundbreaking 1990 photobook, Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them, a collection of photographs and interviews of individuals in the United States, Allen has committed herself to capturing snapshots of daily life among members of the world’s least protected, most persecuted sexual minority. In…

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Smithsonian Magazine's Most Powerful Photos of the Year

Preserved corpses in Denmark, a church built over the spilled blood of royals, a historic dying river in Iraq, and magical music from an American master. We sent our photographers around the world to capture compelling images that tell original, inspired and heart-breaking stories. In honor of 2017, here are the 17 images that delighted and captivated us the most this year. A sub-adult grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) rubs against a tree in the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park [a.k.a. K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary], in British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 50 grizzlies live…

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement photos released

Official photographs to mark the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been released by Kensington Palace. A black and white portrait of the couple embracing face to face has been published alongside a colour picture of them sitting together holding hands. The two images were taken by fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski earlier this week at Frogmore House, Windsor. The couple are to wed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, next May. The black and white image of the smiling couple was shot in the grounds of the house…

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These Photos of the Abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery Document Its Sticky History

For 150 years, a massive building and its annexes loomed over the East River and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Inside its humid and sticky walls, workers spent long days laboring over machines refining raw sugar from Caribbean plantations. But in 2004, the machines stopped and workers laid off. For the next decade, the buildings sat still, quiet and empty—falling into disrepair, awaiting destruction. A year before demolition began clearing the way for new developments along the waterfront, photographer Paul Raphaelson documented the refinery’s remnants. Long fascinated by old factories and urban…

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