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Photojournalists describe their experience documenting the biggest stories of 2022


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Judy Woodruff: We look back now on 2022 through the lenses of photojournalists.

It was a year marked by the war in Ukraine, devastating natural disasters, American gun violence, and deep political divisions.

Four photographers spoke with us about the events they witnessed and how they captured them.

And a warning; Some of the images in this story are graphic.

It's all part of our arts and culture series, Canvas.

Carolyn Cole, The Los Angeles Times: My name is Carolyn Cole. I'm a staff photographer with The Los Angeles Times.

And, this year, I covered the Ukraine war.

Marco Bello, Freelance Photographer: My name is Marco Bello, and I'm a freelance photographer based in Miami, Florida. I'm from Venezuela.

The biggest stories I worked this year were the school shooting in Uvalde and the hurricane season.

Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images: I'm Anna Moneymaker. I'm a Getty Images staff photographer based in Washington, D.C.

And, this year, one of the main things I covered was the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Felipe Dana, The Associated Press: I'm Felipe Dana. I'm a photographer for the Associated Press currently covering the war in Ukraine in Kyiv right now.

I think we were very surprised by how quickly everything escalated. The beginning of the war, it was really impressive how many civilians fleeing. Every day, we witness hundreds, if not thousands of civilians going through a bridge that was destroyed to stop the advance of Russian forces.

One day, I was able to go in and embed with a Ukrainian military drone unit. And this building, it was like barely standing because it was just so intense. I saw horrific things. And I try to show them as respectfully as I can, but also not to hide the reality of what's happening.

But, of course, it takes some toll on you. And, after several months that you're working on stuff, it gets on you. And especially when I get home and I go rest a little bit, it takes a while to regenerate.

Anna Moneymaker: I have been a photojournalist in D.C. since I graduated from college in 2018. No week is the same.

And the month of June was a lot of Supreme Court. The leak came around, like, beginning of May. So they put barriers around the court. They put fencing around the court. The day the decision was announced, it did feel different. Protesters were -- some of them were starting to cry. Some of them were starting to shout, or they were just stunned.

So, getting all of those pictures, I found, was really important. Someone once told me D.C. is a city of inches. It's just like, one inch away, you could get another picture. I feel like I'm being a witness to, like, the first draft of history being written. Growing up, that's the whole reason I got into photography and covering politics.

I think it was an important year, as any year is, to be present, and keep our eyes open, and cover every side of the story, which I think we have all done.

Marco Bello: I was covering the border, waiting for migrants and the Border Patrol and everything.

And one of my editors call me, and he told me: "You know, there's something weird happening at a town called Uvalde."

I was super lucky, because I was almost the first one at the scene. So, I took a few photos of the kids getting on the bus. I started to learn, to hear people talking and crying out. OK, something happened. But I didn't know until a few hours later the world was eager to have visuals of the whole situation.

I have 10 years old daughter, so I can relate with the tragedy with the parents. You have to connect with the people. That's why I don't like the long lenses. There's too much distance to create the connection. You don't have to even to talk. Just eye contacts, you say a lot of things. And I let them know how bad I feel.

With the hurricanes, everything is changing as the hurricane approaches. I was in Fort Myers Beach less than 12 hours before the hurricane hit. And the next time I saw that, Fort Myers Beach was almost erased from the earth. How powerful is the nature to create this grave of destruction.

Carolyn Cole: It's about looking for images that will help people relate to the people of Ukraine and what's happening in their country.

A major part of this story has been evacuations and whether or not people are going to leave their homes. I saw this one elderly woman and just loved the reflection in the windows of the town that's probably all that she's ever known. And now she's going to be leaving that town.

And then some of the children that had made quick friends on the bus. It's really impressive to see how defiant the people are in Ukraine under the conditions that they're living.

I have seen daily funerals for soldiers who have died in conflict. And every time, people will stop what they're doing, either put their hands across their heart or, in some cases, kneel on the ground as the casket is passing. And it's just a very moving and emotional scene.

I think it's important for American photojournalists, myself, in particular, to cover those countries where the U.S. is involved. And the American government is highly involved in this war in Ukraine. So we need to understand what's happening there. And I have already heard that people are getting exhausted from the war and that it becomes back-page news.

And it just shouldn't be. The point of these images is to try to keep reminding people, this is still going on. People are still suffering from this. And their stories deserve to be heard.

Judy Woodruff: Thank you so much to these four photojournalists for sharing their thoughts with us. Just so powerful, these images.

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