2010 Pictures of the Year International
Saturday, June 26th, 2010 to Sunday, October 10th, 2010

The Annenberg Space for Photography is pleased to present "The Year" — the very best documentary photography of 2009 from winning photojournalists and visual editors in Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism competition in the world.

The POYi exhibition returns to the Annenberg Space for Photography for a second consecutive year, showing from June 26 to October 10, 2010. The exhibit aligns the goals of POYi and the mission of the Annenberg Space for Photography, informing and inspiring the public by connecting them to the human experience through powerful imagery and stories.

These print and digital photographs reflect the important events and issues that shaped our world in 2009 — a year filled with renewed political engagement in the United States and political defiance in Iran; a year of lingering economic failures and the protracted toll of war.

Images were chosen from more than 45,000 entries submitted by photographers all over the world. Additional POYi honors recognize the year's top journalistic photographers, as well as exceptional long-term documentary work via the World Understanding, Global Vision and Community Awareness awards.

POYi is a testament to the power of photography and its impact on humanity. These images combine to create a visual representation of the challenges of modern civilization, with themes such as human conflict and interaction, our relationship with the environment, how we appraise our economic status and the range of human emotions from intense joy to sorrow.

The Globe

Each year, photographers around the world document the stories, personalities, and places that capture our interest and demand our attention. In 2009, the international stage was set with stories of political unrest, environmental decline and human conflict. While some events commanded widespread media attention, others took place below the public gaze.


Each year, photographers around the world document the stories, personalities and places that capture our interest and demand our attention. Political unrest sparked by contentious elections, the effects of 90 years of the former Soviet Union's agricultural policies on central Asia and the escalating violence inflicted by drug traffickers in Latin America were issues of importance in 2009. Some events seized major media attention, while others would have slipped below the public gaze were it not for the efforts of photojournalists.

Ecologies and Economies

Photo reporting of climate change illuminates the struggles that governments face trying to maintain their country's economic stability and energy consumption while reducing pollution and conserving natural resources. Two independent documentary projects from the United States and China illustrate how different nations contend with the same balancing act.

Worldwide efforts to reduce pollution and conserve natural resources were counterbalanced by the desire to stimulate economic growth. Photo reportage of man-made environmental damage illuminates the struggles that governments face trying to maintain this delicate balance. Two independent documentary projects from the United States and China illustrate how different nations contend with a similar balancing act.

Reflecting the Human Experience

The photographer's lens is a mirror that captures a reflection of daily life, from the confident carriage of a six-year-old enrolled in an afterschool program to the private lives of a polygamous sect. By training their lens on the people and poignant events overshadowed by the daily news, social documentary photographers remind us that the world evolves through the struggles of the common man.

The social documentary photographer's lens is a mirror reflecting our society, our cultural issues and the poignant minutiae of our day-to-day life— from capturing moments of an after-school dance program to recording the socioeconomic plight Arizona's Navajo community.

The U.S.

The inaugural year of Barack Obama's presidency was marked by two challenges of historic proportion. Photojournalists documented the military experience from hometown goodbyes to bomb-scarred lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, economic shockwaves from 2008 continued to reverberate through the year as more families faced foreclosures and unemployment lines grew.

The inaugural year of Barack Obama's presidency was marked by two challenges of historical proportion: concurrent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an enduring economic crisis that was characterized by increasing numbers of home foreclosures and unemployed Americans. Throughout 2009, photojournalists tracked the human side of these events.