The Big Picture

The best Boston Globe photos of 2015

Staff photographers share the stories behind the year’s most powerful pictures, selected by the editors of the Globe Magazine and the Boston Globe photo department.
1
September 7 / Skala Sykaminias, Greece — The Syrian refugee migration had reached a crisis, and the editors decided we should go to Europe. This is history; it’s an honor to document our world. We got a flight from Athens to Lesbos and had an hour-plus drive to the shores they were landing on. We saw this boat pull in; it was immediate chaos, everybody scurrying out and trying to get to shore. In the midst of it all, I turned around and saw this peaceful moment behind me, these two gentlemen praying on the beach. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
2
June 9 / Havana — The Globe sent me back to Havana at this historic time between the US and Cuba. When you go to Havana, you cannot avoid the Malecon, a 5-mile roadway along the ocean. The architecture is stunning but crumbling. There were families crammed into these dilapidated buildings. One evening, we insisted that our translator get us in to see who lived in these ruins that are going to one day be million-dollar-view homes. I noticed an older man walking and started following him. In his posture, you can get a sense of the larger story, this oppression, the weight of the past 50 years of Communist rule. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
3
June 9 / Barrow, Alaska — We were on assignment in Barrow, Alaska, one of the most northern points of the United States, to do a story on how the Arctic ice is melting. We got off the plane at 10 p.m., checked in to our hotel, called Top of the World, and decided to go for a quick walk. The sun never set; even 2 in the morning could be like a sunny day. At the shoreline, we saw a guy with a wet suit who decided to go for a midnight swim. He didn’t realize how bone-chilling cold it was. I’d say he was in less than two minutes. It was like South Boston’s polar plunge — but this really is the Arctic plunge. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
4
January 19 / Boston — The “4 Mile March” on Martin Luther King Day was protesting police treatment of minorities nationwide. The march in Boston was pretty big. When you’re covering something like this, you try to distill all the sights and emotion into one image. Sometimes, that’s achieved with a mass of people; sometimes it’s about isolating one face. This man was one of the people leading the march. I zoomed in. This one face showed all the outrage that people were voicing that day. There’s this small nuance I love: a rip in the banner of the flag; it almost looks like he’s trying to hold that together. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
5
January 6 / Everett — The Everett casino was a really big story with no good way to illustrate it. A guy at a podium is not necessarily it. Sometimes the things outside the press conference say more than the actual press conference. I was on my way into Everett City Hall, where the mayor was welcoming representatives from Wynn Resorts. This scene seemed to say it all: a meager little Christmas tree with lights held together by extension cords and, overhead, the glowing promise of what could be. It was a great study in contrast. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
6
February 19 / Boston — The thing about photographing snow is there’s no palette to work with — everything is white. Even though we had a ton of snow, it was hard to show how much we’d gotten. When these commuters appeared walking through the layers of snowbanks outside South Station, I started laughing because it was just insane. It was the moment where winter broke me. It seemed to say it all — how absurd winter had been. I also like the range of expressions: This woman is all bundled up while the guy with the coffee has just accepted it. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
7
September 1 / Malden — It was the first day of school at Salemwood School, but I didn’t get there until midday, so class was already in full gear. I needed something that said “first day,” but my pictures were looking like any other day. The teacher announced they were going to take a break and do a GoNoodle video. Aiden, the second-grade kid in the picture, got up and started practicing his dance moves. This kid was so excited about being back in school. The teacher was having trouble getting the video to the TV screen. When she finally got it going, it was absolute mayhem. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
8
July 18 / Miragoane, Haiti — We were in Haiti for a story on education, following a schoolteacher who teaches English in the Boston Public Schools. He had been teaching himself Creole and wanted to go to Haiti to learn what life was like for his students back home. In the hotel where we were staying, we lucked onto a graduation ceremony in the courtyard. These are all theology students lining up for commencement. I like the emotion in their faces, the pride and commitment. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
9
August 19 / Derry, New Hampshire — We were covering Donald Trump’s campaign, a front-page story about how he’s not going away — that no matter what you thought about Trump, he was a serious contender, leading in the polls. We were at a campaign rally, and he comes out on stage, reaches over and hugs the flag. The crowd roared. I think his smile is pretty genuine; he reacts to how the crowd reacts to him. He was happy — he’s got the crowd eating out of his hand. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
10
September 21 / Boston — It’s unthinkable that Baby Doe was unidentified and unclaimed for so long and lived in the area. Both the mother, Rachelle Bond, and the boyfriend who is accused of killing Bella were in the prisoner’s dock. It seemed more important to photograph her, to figure out how a mother could allegedly allow this to happen to her child and then help cover it up. Even though she was kind of staring me down, it was not something I would look away from. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
11
April 2 / Cambridge — I wasn’t trying to get a picture of geese; I was basically looking for a weather picture at the Broad Canal in Cambridge. But these geese showed up, and voila. I looked at them, made a frame, and didn’t give it two seconds of thought. The in-house caption I put on the photo, “geese debate current events,” is just me being goofy. Maybe one goose was just telling the other, “We could be in Boca Raton right now.’’ (Lane Turner/Globe Staff)
12
April 1 / Boston — This was a rehearsal for the Boston Children’s Theatre production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” My task was to do a portrait of a young actress, Zehava Younger. I saw beautiful light coming in from the curtains, so I had her step over there. It just took a few seconds; it was one of the rare pictures that turned out exactly how I envisioned it — this young girl with porcelain luminosity. There’s something quite captivating and soulful about her features. She’s a great fit for the part. (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)
13
February 19 / Northampton — Elizabeth Warren made a visit to the Bluebonnet Diner in Northampton. I saw this woman, Lucille Pontbriand, and plunked myself right in front of the table, saying, “I’m going to stay here in case the senator decides to stop.” I had this feeling she would. There was something so iconic about the scene. It had a classic diner feel, the Saltine crackers, the coffee and creamers. She was 91 years old, looked like a lifelong Democrat out of central casting. She was so happy; you can see how hard she’s gripping the senator’s hand. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
14
January 7 / Boston — It’s a traditional thing governors of Massachusetts do when they leave office. They put the red carpet out in the State House’s Doric Hall, out the front gate to where there are throngs of people waiting outside. That door is only used for ceremonial purposes. I was in the back, camped out for two hours waiting, then the whole place filled up. It’s mostly Deval Patrick’s staff and their families; they all had their cellphone cameras out taking pictures. Everybody wants to remember the moment. He put his hand on his heart in reverence, showing he loved everybody. Then the doors opened and he walked out into the spotlight. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
15
March 18 / Needham — Alex and Leo had come from Burundi to the United States; Leo was seeking treatment at Shriners Hospital in Boston for his burns. He fell into an open cooking fire when he was 2 and now was 4. Alex, who was not related, had volunteered to come and bring him for treatment. What struck you when you met these two was the bond they had. After his lessons, Leo came in for a hug and looked up at Alex. Some people might look at this image and say it’s a bit graphic, but to me it’s an image of love. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
16
May 28 / Oxford, Maine — This was a sad story to cover. A family in Maine had become homeless, and we followed them as they bounced between campsites looking for somewhere to live. The boys stopped at this hollowed-out shell of a car and picked up a piece of automotive hose as though they were binoculars and looked up at the moon. I see it as an innocent and hopeful moment that shows how resilient these kids were. It was tremendously hard to watch, but you hope telling their story will make a difference. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
17
September 8 / Lakes of the Clouds, New Hampshire — Richard Dreselly has climbed to the top of Mount Washington many times. At 90, he said, “I’m going to give it a try.” I had to carry all my equipment, extra batteries, microphones, lens, an added 20 pounds. I was thinking “This isn’t bad” — for the first 500 feet! Dreselly was like the Energizer Bunny. Nothing kept him from wanting to complete this feat. The second day, we got to the Lakes of the Clouds, 5,000 feet up. He walks on the rocks, lies down, and dunks his head. It’s a baptism of accomplishment. After he went into the hut, I did the same thing. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
18
June 12 / Boston — It was a Friday night game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In the second inning, Justin Smoak hit a long triple to center field; Mookie Betts was running full speed after that ball, not looking where the wall was. He’s the type of player who goes all out. It was not your average collision; it was scary, very violent. He actually sat right back up and finished the half inning. That was a big relief. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
19
February 4 / Boston — People were depressed by the snow, but after the Super Bowl win, it was like snow be damned, we’ll have the parade anyway. Everyone was just joyous, thanking the mayor for going ahead with the parade. People were standing on snowdrifts, bringing them eye level with the players. I was on a flatbed truck with some Patriot linebackers. Julian Edelman climbed up on the roof of the Duck Boat, which is pretty precarious. He was in party mode, dancing, throwing footballs to people, and he did an imitation of his touchdown spike. It’s dangerous, but no one tells Julian what to do — especially if you’ve just won the Super Bowl. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff)
20
June 23 / Boston — This was the end of June, one of the longest days of the year, probably between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m. The sun was going down and the sky was getting more colorful by the minute. It was very orange, a combination of storm clouds and sunset. Every photographer there was shooting it. I’ve shot a lot of different skies over Fenway in 30-odd years — lightning, rainbows; this was probably the most colorful. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
21
March 10 / Boston — Photographing any kind of high school sports championship has the potential for interesting photos, this is especially true for basketball at TD Garden. Here most of the starters from Old Rochester Regional High School playing in the state semifinal had left the game and they were celebrating as the clock wound down. I don’t often shoot sports, afterward I realized this was probably the first high school basketball tournament I covered since photographing Patrick Ewing taking down the net at the old Garden while playing for Cambridge Rindge and Latin. (John Blanding/Globe Staff)
22
August 21 / Boston — Whenever I cover a concert I always carry in a long telephoto lens so I can capture a tight detail image. I’ve photographed Willie Nelson many times dating back to the 1980s. I was fascinated by the weathered look of his guitar and his hands. The best way to see a person’s age is to look at their hands. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
23
April 20 / Lexington -- Every year on Patriots Day, the entire photo staff descends on the Boston Marathon course while I head to Lexington Battle Green to cover the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. It’s amazing how the town comes alive at 4:30 a.m. as hundreds of people eagerly wait for the battle to begin at dawn. The real challenge is coming up with something slightly different each year. Some years I focus on a particular reenactor and try to tell their story. This photo shows Mike Smith in his role as a Minuteman — he seems transported in time. He waits in near darkness for the soldiers from the king’s army to arrive, anxious, uncertain, yet caught up in how powerful the day has become in our nation’s history. (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
24
June 9 / Mansfield -- I was in Mansfield covering the funeral of 13-year-old Shane Farrell, who was killed in an accident with a school bus while riding his bicycle. I was told some of his classmates and other mourners would be lining Main Street. There were hundreds of red balloons and people dressed in red – his favorite color. As I walked through the crowd, I saw this young man kneeling with his balloons; I tried to respectfully capture the sensitivity of the moment. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
25
February 10 / Boston — Amidst all the excitement and drama surrounding last winter’s epic snowstorms, staff photographer Wendy Maeda found this wonderfully quiet moment of a commuter stranded at North Station. In a scene reminiscent of an old world painting, Lavina Kilmer waits for a 9 a.m. train to Brunswick, Maine, as the cancellations start to mount on the board. A “great frame,” as we say, and one of my favorites of the year. (By Bill Greene / Boston Globe Director of Photography) (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
In this blog: Big Picture
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