© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Your voice matters to KUAF! Your perspective will give us valuable insights into what we're doing and areas that may not address your needs. Please take a moment to complete this confidential listener survey to help us better serve you!

Unforgettable global photos of 2023: Drone pix, a disappearing island, happiness

Ten-month-old Ahmin Esas, who was born with clubfoot, shares a moment with his mother and brother in the family's home near Battambang, Cambodia. As a single parent with limited means, his mother, Pho Sok overcame many challenges to ensure her son could receive the treatment he needed.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR
Ten-month-old Ahmin Esas, who was born with clubfoot, shares a moment with his mother and brother in the family's home near Battambang, Cambodia. As a single parent with limited means, his mother, Pho Sok overcame many challenges to ensure her son could receive the treatment he needed.

A ten-month-old girl, with a first flush of silky black hair and bathed in warm light, giggles as her cackling big brother gives her a hug. Her mother, Pho Sok, hoists the happy baby and beams at both children.

The little girl in this photo, taken near Battambang, Cambodia, was born with clubfoot. Pho Sok had first believed her daughter would never walk on her own. Once she learned the condition could be treated she immediately made it her mission. Pho Sok's hope, her son's joy and her daughter's radiance are all unmistakable in this image, captured by photographer Tommy Trenchard.

That depth and emotion shine through in so many of the photos we publish on Goats and Soda. This year we've showcased images from Sierra Leone to Haiti, from Bangladesh to Peru – and each one tells an unforgettable story. Here are some of our most memorable photo pieces from 2023.


Drone Photo Award winners capture the extraordinary beauty of the ordinary

Rice mill workers start their day at the break of dawn. Some of them boil the paddy rice. Others carry it and spread it outside the rice mill to dry in the sun. To make sure that it dries properly, they rake it out, then sweep it back.
/ Md Tanveer Hassan Rohan
/
Md Tanveer Hassan Rohan
Rice mill workers start their day at the break of dawn. Some of them boil the paddy rice. Others carry it and spread it outside the rice mill to dry in the sun. To make sure that it dries properly, they rake it out, then sweep it back.

A rice field, a playground, piles of garbage — cameras from above cast a lens at earthly images with surprising, even dazzling results. Here are some of the winners from the 2023 Drone Photo Awards. Published July 2, 2023


How do you take a picture of happiness? We asked photographers to surprise us

Izna and Saba, members of Mumbai's disenfranchised and discriminated against, Transgender or Hijra community, dance with each other in a state of pure happiness to the background of their friends' laughter and smiling faces. The reason for their happiness is gratitude and sere joy for the high tide and the rains that baptise the city of Mumbai during its monsoon season.
/ Viraj Nayar
/
Viraj Nayar
Izna and Saba, members of Mumbai's disenfranchised and discriminated against, Transgender or Hijra community, dance with each other in a state of pure happiness to the background of their friends' laughter and smiling faces. The reason for their happiness is gratitude and sere joy for the high tide and the rains that baptise the city of Mumbai during its monsoon season.

For this year's International Day of Happiness (March 20, as proclaimed by the United Nations), the themes were gratitude and kindness. We gave photographers across the world an assignment: Bring us images that convey those feelings, however you interpret them. They certainly delivered. Published March 19, 2023


A disappearing island: 'The water is destroying us, one house at a time'

Children wade through floodwater on Nyangai Island, Sierra Leone. Most of the island has already been lost to the sea, and what remains is routinely flooded at high tide. Several thousand people once lived here. Now, all but around 400 have fled to higher ground on other islands or the mainland.
/ Tommy Trenchard for NPR
/
Tommy Trenchard for NPR
Children wade through floodwater on Nyangai Island, Sierra Leone. Most of the island has already been lost to the sea, and what remains is routinely flooded at high tide. Several thousand people once lived here. Now, all but around 400 have fled to higher ground on other islands or the mainland.

The island of Nyangai off the coast of Sierra Leone is on the front line of climate change. More frequent and intense weather has eroded Nyangai down to a nubbin, and the residents who remain are fearful for its future. Published November 19, 2023


'It's not for the faint-hearted' — the story of India's intrepid women seaweed divers

Thangamma, about 80 years old, gathers seaweed off Pananthoppu beach, Pamban island, Tamil Nadu, India. Seaweed extracts are used in a booming global food industry. An estimated 5,000 women gather seaweed in the shallow reefs around Pamban island, which are then sold to local factories, providing an income for the women. Photograph by Anushree Bhatter.
/ Anushree Bhatter for NPR
/
Anushree Bhatter for NPR
Thangamma, about 80 years old, gathers seaweed off Pananthoppu beach, Pamban island, Tamil Nadu, India. Seaweed extracts are used in a booming global food industry. An estimated 5,000 women gather seaweed in the shallow reefs around Pamban island, which are then sold to local factories, providing an income for the women. Photograph by Anushree Bhatter.

In goggles and flip flops, they dive to harvest seaweed. It's risky work. They'll earn $3 to $6 a day. Now climate change and environmental rules are making it harder to pursue the traditional profession. Published May 7, 2023


Waiting for water: It's everywhere in this Colombian city — except in the pipes

In La Paz, a low-income neighborhood on the outskirts of Santa Marta, Colombia, water service from the local utility can be erratic or nonexistent. Pictured: Neighborhood kids stand next to a rain barrel positioned under a corrugated roof.
/ Ben de la Cruz/NPR
/
Ben de la Cruz/NPR
In La Paz, a low-income neighborhood on the outskirts of Santa Marta, Colombia, water service from the local utility can be erratic or nonexistent. Pictured: Neighborhood kids stand next to a rain barrel positioned under a corrugated roof.
Community leader Carlos Ramos stands by one of the major water connection points in La Paz, where residents hook up their motor pumps to push water from the main pipe through their hoses into their home cisterns<em> </em>hundreds of feet away.
/ Ben de la Cruz/NPR
/
Ben de la Cruz/NPR
Community leader Carlos Ramos stands by one of the major water connection points in La Paz, where residents hook up their motor pumps to push water from the main pipe through their hoses into their home cisterns hundreds of feet away.

The country is rich in water resources. Yet many people in the city of Santa Marta struggle to get enough to meet daily needs. They improvise, strategize — and rely on a tangle of 1-inch pipes. Published December 3, 2023


Global heat hacks, from jazzy umbrellas in DRC to ice beans in Singapore

Um Aya and Hussein of Cairo bought this pool as a treat for their children. When neighborhood kids wanted to join in the fun, the couple saw a business opportunity they hoped would benefit their family and their community. Eight years later, the pool is a splashing success.
/ Roger Anis for NPR
/
Roger Anis for NPR
Um Aya and Hussein of Cairo bought this pool as a treat for their children. When neighborhood kids wanted to join in the fun, the couple saw a business opportunity they hoped would benefit their family and their community. Eight years later, the pool is a splashing success.

We asked photographers around the globe to make pictures of how the locals cope with this year's record heat. They created some really cool images. Published August 19, 2023


A dance of hope by children who scavenge coal

Radhika (15), Anjali (16), Suman (21), and Suhani (15) in July 2022 perform a dance routine near the village of Sahana Pahari, Jharia.
/ Walaa Alshaer for NPR
/
Walaa Alshaer for NPR
Radhika (15), Anjali (16), Suman (21), and Suhani (15) in July 2022 perform a dance routine near the village of Sahana Pahari, Jharia.

Kids in India illegally collect bits of coal to sell so they can help their families. To give them a chance for a brighter future, a local educator gives them lessons in academics and the arts. Published February 18, 2023

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Gabriel Spitzer
Gabriel Spitzer (he/him) is Senior Editor of Short Wave, NPR's daily science podcast. He comes to NPR following years of experience at Member stations – most recently at KNKX in Seattle, where he covered science and health and then co-founded and hosted the weekly show Sound Effect. That show told character-driven stories of the region's people. When the Pacific Northwest became the first place in the U.S. hit by COVID-19, the show switched gears and relaunched as Transmission, one of the country's first podcasts about the pandemic.