The best Boston Globe photos of 2016

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.
July 4 / Boston
It’s my second year covering the Boston Pops Independence Day concert. Last year, I was facing the crowd. I remember people cheering and thinking it would be great if I could have all these hands raised in the background. I thought, I’ll just do that next year. So that’s what I did: I went back to the same place to make a similar image from the other side. It comes at the very end, as they’re playing the “1812 Overture,” the confetti has been shot in the sky, and everyone is cheering. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
February 15 / Boston
It was Presidents’ Day, and a reporter and I were sent to the JFK Library to cover the family festival. We were standing in the lobby, and Abe Lincoln walked in. He was completely decked out head to toe. Cameron Spear was 8 and had asked his mom for an Abe Lincoln costume and a Batman suit for Christmas, which I love. He stood out from everyone else that day. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
September 16 / Scituate
Once a year, you have the harvest moon, one of the brightest full moons. They call it the harvest moon because farmers had extra time to work in the field. I wanted to shoot it over the Scituate Lighthouse. I did research, figured out where it would rise. That photo was taken at 7 p.m., three minutes in. I didn’t know that many people would be standing on the breakwater watching, a bonus. The windows were lit from the sun setting; it made for a magical moment. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
September 24, 2014 / Medford (published May 22, 2016)
We followed this congregation for two and a half years. The congregation had shrunk, and the Congregational Church of West Medford couldn’t sustain the infrastructure of this huge church, so they made a decision to reinvent themselves, sell their building, and move. They had to purge and downsize in often very painful ways. They called in the Got Junk? guys, who promised to salvage what they could. This is a hard story to show — how do you show an absence, a loss? There were these two perfectly emblematic paintings of the church and its history, Pilgrims and Jesus, being hauled out. This managed to capture the moment. (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)
May 30/ Boston
I worked on this story on heroin addicts on a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue known as “Methadone Mile.” It’s the area surrounded by methadone clinics where addicts gather after treatment but seems to also be an area for drug dealers to pop up. It’s a large community of people struggling to get off drugs or living on the streets addicted to drugs. This picture is of Kenny, a guy who’d been in and out of treatment. I remember thinking most people seemed like shells of themselves, walking ghosts. He looked like a ghost walking by night. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
July 26 / Boston
As a parent, that one really depresses me. A 7-year-old boy, Kyzr Willis, had gone missing from a day camp. The camp had gone to Carson Beach, and he wandered off. Once they found out he was missing, family and friends started showing up. This photo captures the moment they found out he had drowned. It’s heartbreaking, just crushing. Part of this job is capturing people at their best and worst moments — and this is one of the worst moments of their lives. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
October 11 / Cambridge
I’ve always found “ghost bikes” to be especially poignant memorials. It’s one thing to hear that someone died, but when you see a ghost bike, you realize you’re at the exact spot where a cyclist died. The day I took this photo, I drove past two other ghost bikes. Joe Lavins’ ghost bike is still there in Porter Square, there’s a wreath on it for the holidays. (John Blanding/Globe Staff)
March 3 / Burlington
We posted a story online about religious statues that were vandalized at St. Margaret’s Parish in Burlington, a photo from the Burlington police accompanied the article that showed the Virgin Mary statue with her head and hands cut off. I decided to check it out on my way home. Shortly after my arrival a cheerleading team came up to the statue. The girls clasped hands and began praying. The challenge was to show the line of girls clad in pink, hand in hand, yet also showing the vandalized statue. Ideally, I would have been a few feet taller and could have stood directly behind the line. I knew I had about 30 seconds to quietly find an angle that would work. Telling the story with people, their reaction and body language, is the best way to show the impact of a news event. I was so amazed when this group spontaneously showed up, this is exactly what I was hoping for. Timing is everything for news photographers, but perhaps there was a little divine intervention. (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
June 18 / Boston
Shantel Young and her husband, Rob, were moving. They had two kids in a small Dorchester apartment, and wanted a safer neighborhood. She had been waiting for a housing voucher for years. Once you get it, you have this small window of time to find a place. This was her third try — the first, the landlord bumped the rent, and the second hadn’t been de-leaded. She was really frustrated and then everything fell into place. The movers had just cleared out the old apartment and left. Shantel did this little dance, kicked up her leg, and spun around. She was celebrating and saying goodbye. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
April 26 / Boston
I was walking around the Public Garden. What caught my eye was these little baby ducklings swimming around, trying to get up the embankment wall where the Swan Boats are. Then I noticed they were all heading toward mom. Mom spread her wings out, and they were disappearing under her wings. I was so close, the ones coming out of the pond were almost running over my foot. You do think about “Make Way for Ducklings.” I was thinking, make way for my feet and don’t step on one. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
July 3 / Mount Tabor, Vermont
The Rainbow Family of Living Light has a gathering of like-minded people who build a community in the woods and come together to pray for peace on the Fourth of July. It’s a beautiful idea. Everyone is welcome; the requirement is a belly button. I packed a tent and a sleeping bag and hiked in. There’s a central meadow where people come together for a communal meal. This photo looks otherworldly. It was this surreal, weird, beautiful moment that captured the feel of the place. It’s just a whole other world. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
August 2 / Old Orchard Beach, Maine
This summer I spent a few days visiting some of the more nostalgic beaches in New England: Old Orchard Beach in Maine, Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, and Salisbury Beach and Nantasket Beach in Massachusetts. I was talking with our director of photography, Bill Greene, about how the boardwalk atmosphere and these slices of Americana are disappearing. He told me I should explore it. In this photo I was looking for a good scene setter at Old Orchard Beach. I loved the Palace Playland as a background, I just needed something interesting to happen. Then I saw Jenny Gouthro, 12, practicing her handspring just a little down the shore. I rushed thinking she would be done soon but it turned out I had plenty of time. The young gymnast was making up for the practices she was missing at home. Her mother, Melissa, laughed and said, “she could do that all day.” Joel Golder, the owner of the Palace Playland struck a chord when he said, “Once this amusement park is gone . . . it’s gone. We’re the only beachfront amusement park left in New England. . . This is a place filled with good memories of happier times.” That it is. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
February 10 / Boston
The Big Air was an amazing event. They built a gigantic ski ramp that barely fit in Fenway — it was way taller than the scoreboard. If you go up there, it looks like a suicide run. What’s it like to be a human fly ball? Those athletes know. They’re absolutely amazing. They had to land around home plate and stop before they wound up in someone’s chowder in the EMC Club. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
October 10 / Boston
This is what happens when Xander Bogaerts tries to fly to Aruba without a jet. No, actually, I was up high with an 800mm lens that gives a commanding view of the field. There was a play at the plate and I saw Xander launch himself face first toward home. Two unusual things then happened. The home plate ump moved forward toward first base and he momentarily blocked my view. I was still swearing when Xander emerged from the other side of the plate and signaled himself safe while doing a face plant at the same time. (Stan Grossfeld / Globe staff)
January 20 / Burlington
I was shooting an assignment about the Burlington High School wrestling program. I went up into the stands, got a little elevation, and shot wide to show the whole scene. You can see fans in the foreground, and it’s dark in the background because the light is concentrated on the mat. The bright colors, the silhouette of the referee, it’s different than you normally get at a wrestling match. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
July 28 / Foxborough
This year, at Patriots training camp, you had the “Deflategate” suspension hanging over Tom Brady. You didn’t know what the mood would be. Typical first week, the players were running back and forth doing wind sprints and jumping jacks. Nothing unusual is happening until Brady stopped in the middle of the field and did this yoga pose. Look at the balance. He’s looking straight ahead and nothing in the world is going to bother him. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
November 25 / Boston
I am often asked by young photographers, “What makes a good sports photo?” My standard reply is a good crop, two faces, and a ball. When covering basketball you are always looking to make a non-armpit photo. The night I was editing this Celtics photo and saw three faces, a ball, and all those hands, I knew I had captured a special moment. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
November 16 / Lynn
This was a girls’ soccer semifinal playoff. The winner would go to state championships, so the stakes were high. These teams played to a 1-1 draw, so it was sudden death, the first to score wins. My challenge was to get the reaction from whichever team scored. I was trying a new telephoto lens, it allowed me to get in the middle of the field to cover both ends. When Ashley Raphael from Central Catholic High School of Lawrence scored, she leapt up in the air, like she was flying. It’s a moment she’ll remember forever. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
October 10 / Boston
I’ve been covering David Ortiz since he started with the Red Sox. You don’t realize how fast the career of a baseball player goes until you cover him as a rookie and then on his last day. It was sad to see. The Red Sox lost to Cleveland in the American League Division Series. Fifteen minutes after the game ended, he came out. Everyone in Fenway was standing. Here’s Big Papi, the toughest, baddest player in the world, overcome with emotion. He faced the fans and did this perfect circle around the mound, waving like a windup doll. The more he did, the more tears came down his face. (John Tlumacki / Globe Staff)
October 12 / Northfield, Vermont
Sana Hamze was the first student allowed to wear the hijab in Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets. She was concentrating so hard on not breaking any rules. They are trained to look forward and never look around. The baseball cap says “Rook,” and they have to wear it for a certain amount of time. There’s such a military feel to this — that flag, and the other soldier passing — it’s all very orderly and rigid. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
November 7 / Manchester, New Hampshire
This was Donald Trump’s last rally in New Hampshire the night before the election. I got to the arena, and when I saw this little boy with his boater hat in a jacket and tie, I said, there’s my subject. He was dressed in this iconic way, like a throwback to an outfit from the ’30s. Trump and his supporters talk about going back to a past age, and this boy was dressed like a country boy attending a parade in simpler times. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
February 1 / Nashua
This Chris Christie campaign event looked interesting — an automotive building at Nashua Community College. It turned out to be good and bizarre in that New Hampshire primary way. This 7-year-old girl was running around and jumping up and down. I was waiting for that airborne moment, her feet off the ground. Christie came in on a bus, and she sings the national anthem. It turns out she was his good luck charm; she had been doing the circuit, singing to open his events. I had no idea, I just thought this was a little kid who was really excited about politics. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
November 8 / Wellesley
Hillary Clinton’s an alumna of Wellesley College, so on election night the gymnasium was filled with proud alums and hopeful students. The evening started off with great energy, there were smiling faces, people doing selfies with life-size Hillary Clinton cutouts. As the returns started coming in, that energy fizzled. The smiles disappeared and by the end, there were tears. There was Maria Manning with this look of disbelief when they were talking how close Michigan was, doing the math for the candidates’ path to win the Electoral College. I couldn’t find a more telling face for the evening. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
November 8 / New York
I went to New York to cover Trump’s election night party. At a certain point, it became clear Hillary was not going to win. They’re calling these really big states for Trump. Everyone is looking at the TV screens at the front of hall, so to get someone’s face, they have to turn around. I took this photo when they called Ohio. This guy turned, with the two hats and the scream. It’s what you’re looking for — the supporter’s reaction that’s going to tell the story. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
March 20 / Boston
I’ve covered the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade several times. I decided to go to the end of the route and saw these women in a celebratory mood. Firefighters from Elmhurst, New York, were coming by and this woman just pulled him in and planted a kiss on him. I don’t know if he knew that was coming. Maybe it was the uniform. I didn’t see a ring on his finger, but when I identified myself, he didn’t feel like giving his full name. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
March 16 / Boston
When I started reading the restrictions for photographing actor Aaron Fried, at the Wang Theatre, I thought, well this is nothing I haven’t heard before. You can’t speak to the subject, and you will only have a few minutes, as he makes his costume change from a farmer into the Cowardly Lion in the national touring show of “The Wizard of Oz.” I just kept looking for the situation that would convey the urgency of the costume change, and his timing to get back to the show. After the costume change, he had to make his way from the basement to the stage, and the long, speedy walk in the basement corridor. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
January 1 / Marshfield
I love this photo because it was one of the first pictures I made in 2016. It was New Year’s Day and I had some time before starting work, my wife asked if I wanted to go watch the Polar Plunge at Rexhame Beach in Marshfield. That sounded like fun, so I took my camera. The one thing I was not expecting to see was a 6-foot-tall gorilla — or a man dressed as one — walking on the beach. I think the little boy was as surprised as I was as he ran away. It was actually Ed Sobel’s birthday and he and a friend were checking the Polar Plunge off their bucket list. Anyway, as a photographer it was nice to start the year with a laugh. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
August 28 / Millinocket, Maine
Stacey Kozel, 41, is an amazing person. She was diagnosed with lupus at age 19, which eventually lead to her being paralyzed from the waist down in 2014. I met up with her while she was attempting to summit Mount Katahdin at Baxter State Park in Maine, as part of her quest to complete the Appalachian Trail. She spent more than 60 hours over four days in August focused on reaching the peak and the northern terminus of the trail. She’s able to walk thanks to her Ottobock C-Braces, but the braces aren’t robotic, they do not walk for her. That week she faced so many challenges, the braces malfunctioned, Baxter State Park rangers urged her not to attempt the climb, and there was the trail itself. In this photo Stacey was confronted by a blockade of boulders and spent the next hour struggling to climb over them. It was soon after this triumph that Stacey decided it was time to turn back. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
May 16 / Boston
The Mattapan trolley is from another era, a rolling time machine. Boston bought hundreds of these PCC streetcars, the newest built in 1945. Now there are 10 left, all on this nine-minute route from Mattapan to Ashmont. I needed to photograph the people who rode on it, otherwise, it’s just a piece of machinery. I took hundreds of round trips, hoping for quiet human moments. They were these beautiful young kids, so nice together. He lifted his head on her shoulder, and I knew, that’s the picture I’ve been waiting for. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff)
April 23, 2015 / Westborough (published August 28, 2016)
I’ve spent the last year and a half working on this Spotlight series on mental health in Massachusetts. Early on, Spotlight editor Scott Allen arranged a field trip for the whole team — editors, reporters, the videographer — to go to Westborough State Hospital, which closed in 2000. It was amazing how much was left behind. The wheelchairs were still there, the residents’ pillows, their old clothes, vials of medicine. Clearly, what we did then to treat mental health wasn’t working, and what we do now isn’t working — that’s why there is a Spotlight investigation. When I look at this picture, it makes me think that we as a society have not properly taken care of the people who need our help the most. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
November 24 / Cannon Ball, North Dakota
The first thing that struck me when I got to Standing Rock was the scale of the protest. Thousands of people had set up camp in the sprawling prairie, camping out in tepees and tents. The scene was made more impressive by how cold it was there. I was photographing a peaceful protest on the road that ran in front of the camp, but I could see across the way that police had lined a hill and we could hear them calling on protestors to disperse over megaphones. We made our way over to see what was going on. The protesters had constructed a bridge to take them across to Turtle Island, a burial ground for the Standing Rock Sioux, one of the disputed areas that police had been guarding. One by one the protesters began to cross. Some, like the woman in this photo, carried makeshift shields and many brought goggles, masks, and Milk of Magnesia. They gathered at the base of the hill and sang, chanted, and prayed. The air was thick with the smoke from burning sage as each protester was smudged before they crossed. The police were on top of the hill with water hoses and tear gas. In potentially volatile situations you’re always trying to think a few steps ahead. The bridge was only wide enough for one person to cross at a time and it was only going in one direction. If something had happened on the island and I had crossed, I would have been trapped there. So, I decided to stay on the mainland side. Ultimately, the standoff remained peaceful and the protesters returned across the bridge. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
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