From migrants trying to reach Europe and the United States to armed conflicts and protests around the globe, Reuters photographers witnessed some of the most important events of the year.
They were in frontline trenches with Ukraine soldiers as Russian troops amassed at the border. They were on the streets in Myanmar when police fired live ammunition at anti-coup protesters. And they scaled scaffolding to capture images of thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol
"I didn't want to risk getting crushed or injured by the massive crowd, which was hostile toward members of the media and had already assaulted several of my colleagues that day," said Reuters photographer Leah Millis. "I chose to risk climbing some scaffolding that had been erected for the upcoming inauguration to give me a better view."
Others followed rescue workers out into the Mediterranean Sea where they saved migrants trying to reach Europe, including a boat where a fire had badly burned a Libyan family.
"The sight of burnt flesh peeling off people as they groan, moan, cry, scream in unspeakable agony is not something one forgets," said photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi.
They also captured the joy as families reunited after a year of separation due to the pandemic and the success of farmers using boats to save their cattle from flood waters in Canada.
Below is a selection of some exceptional Reuters pictures taken in 2021 along with the stories behind the shots, directly from the photographers who took them.
Jon Nazca: Lava is seen through the window of a kitchen following the eruption of a volcano in El Paso, La Palma, Spain.
“There is something astonishingly beautiful and hypnotising about seeing a volcano erupt. But it’s a different thing entirely to spend day after day next to a volcano, listening to the incredible noise it makes, the shaking of the ground, the gases that make breathing so difficult, and the ash that falls constantly on your head..
Four days after the eruption started, I landed on the Spanish island of La Palma. I was struggling to find somewhere to stay and at last I found a house on the outskirts of town. I was worried about my safety, the house felt too close to the exclusion zone. However, it had amazing views of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, the perfect place for a photojournalist.
I wanted to capture an image showing what the inhabitants of La Palma were experiencing. I was able to access the house next door with my colleague Miguel Pereira. I went straight to the window in the kitchen and began to set up. Miguel had left a glass of water in the sink and I liked the human element this brought - the warmth of the home contrasting with the heat of the volcano outside. It’s an everyday image, a kitchen the same as any of us might have, but while you are washing dishes, outside a volcano is erupting.
The image is disturbing, even threatening. It could be your house, your kitchen.”
(Picture Editing Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson, Kezia Levitas; Text Editing Lisa Shumaker; Layout Kezia Levitas)
For part one of A Picture and its Story 2021 click HERE