A year in images, captured by AP photographers in 2021

Honduran migrants clash with Guatemalan soldiers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian) (Sandra Sebastian, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“Some say the world will end in fire,” wrote the poet Robert Frost — and for much of 2021, Associated Press photographers captured scenes of a world ablaze, amid rumblings of ruin.

In New Delhi, a man sprints amid the funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims — too many fires, too much heat, too many victims. On a beach near the village of Limni, Greece, the horizon is lit by the flames of wildfires raging across the eastern Mediterranean.

Recommended Videos

And at La Palma in the Canary Islands, the inferno is in the Cumbre Vieja volcano. But more than 10,000 million cubic meters of ash turn the world into a negative, with black ash taking the place of white snow.

Not all of the combustion is so literal.

There is fury: the astonishing moment when police aimed their guns at rioters trying to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol; Mexican demonstrators against gender violence, hurling themselves at barricades; an Ethiopian woman’s wrath as she fights for every split pea in starving, war-torn Tigray.

And there are the sorrowful embers of violence. Stoic Palestinians carry the body of a child who died in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, while a continent away, mourners bear the body of a man killed while protesting the coup in Myanmar. And in Haiti, the wife of slain President Jovenel Moise, Martine, leaves a memorial gathering in black widow’s weeds and mask.

There was more to 2021, of course. There was fun: Lady Gaga wore one of the world’s largest dresses to Joe Biden’s inauguration.

There were moments of hope. Even as millions more died of COVID-19, billions were vaccinated. Health care worker Nazir Ahmed ventured to remote Kashmiri meadows to inoculate shepherds, some of them vaccine resistant. He stands in his protective gear on a hillock, like an emissary from COVID times who somehow found himself in a South Asian remake of “The Sound of Music.”

There are other images that recall the movies, but askew.

Those men on horseback in 10-gallon hats are not the cowboys of classic Westerns; they’re border agents, corralling Haitian migrants as they try to cross the Rio Grande into the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acua, Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Thousands of Haitian migrants have been arriving to Del Rio, Texas, as authorities attempt to close the border to stop the flow of migrants. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

And the man and woman caught in a passionate embrace in Barcelona, Spain, are not characters in a romantic comedy; behind them, a riot rages over the imprisonment of a rapper convicted of insulting the Spanish monarchy. And the streets are on fire.

These are some of the most powerful images from 2021:

Shredded trees and the shells of homes lie half buried in mud near the Taal volcano almost a year after it erupted in Batangas province, a popular tourist destination just south of Manila, Philippines, on Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A woman holds a cutout of President Donald Trump's face at a rally in Washington in support of Trump called the "Save America Rally" on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Firefighters battle the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, in Doyle, Calif., on Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A couple kiss in front of a barricade set by demonstrators during clashes with police following a protest condemning the arrest of rap singer Pablo Hasl in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Protests over the imprisonment of the rapper convicted for insulting the Spanish monarchy and praising terrorist violence have morphed for the third night in a row into rioting. Pablo Hasl began this week to serve a 9-month sentence in a northeastern prison. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A migrant is comforted by a member of the Spanish Red Cross near the border of Morocco and Spain, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Demonstrators attack a barricade protecting Mexico City's National Palace during a march to commemorate International Women's Day and protest against gender violence, on March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A penguin swims in an enclosure housing gentoo and chinstrap penguins at Mexico City's Inbursa Aquarium on Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
President-elect Joe Biden, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, watch as Lady Gaga steps off the stage after performing the national anthem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A voodoo pilgrim bathes in a waterfall believed to have purifying powers during an annual celebration in Saut d' Eau, Haiti, on July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A farmer smokes a bidi, or hand-rolled cigarette, during a tractor rally to protest new farm laws in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Yemeni fighters backed by the Saudi-led coalition ride on the back of an armored vehicle as they leave the front lines of Marib, Yemen, on June 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
People react as the body of a relative is retrieved from the ruin of a building at an area affected by an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing a number of people. (AP Photo/Yusuf Wahil) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Tin Tin Win, center, weeps over the body of her son, Tin Htut Hein, at his funeral in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Tin Htut Hein was shot on Saturday, Feb. 20, while acting as a volunteer guard for a neighborhood watch group that was set up over fears that authorities were using criminals released from prison to spread fear and commit violence. (AP Photo) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Yohaness, from Eritrea, prays with other migrants as they arrive at the coast of Italy on board the Spanish NGO Open Arms vessel after being rescued in the Mediterranean sea, about 8 miles south Italy on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Italy has allowed a Spanish-flagged charity ship with 265 rescued migrants aboard to anchor off Sicily on Monday. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Recommended Videos