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Globe and Mail photojournalists pick their favourite images of 2011

Globe photographers tell the stories behind their favourite images

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One of the manny unwritten rules you learn early on as a photojournalist is to be prepared but to expect the unexpected. Guess I'm still learning. I was just finishing my edit from the Canucks Hockey team's loss in the Stanley Cup final and was packing up my camera equipment and laptop when word started to spread of a riot. At first I dismissed the idea believing the rioters were just a small handful and the police would have them under control quickly. Looking back now I guess I was as naive as manny others in Vancouver in my belief that a riot wouldn't happen.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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As I entered one of the waiting rooms of Port-au-Prince's only maternity hospital, Isaie Jeanty, I looked over at a line of pregnant women, all of whom were in labour. I was amazed how the group sat, quietly, calmly holding their intake papers, waiting for a bed. Many looked disconnected from what was occurring around them. Some 50 babies were born every day at the hospital at what was being called the "baby factory."

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

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There are big moments and there are small moments. This particular photograph is what I think of as a small moment. It's not an earth-shattering event, it won't cause people to run to the banks to withdraw their savings or move people to rise up in defiance against something or someone. It's a moment in the life of a young child with autism. The Globe was doing a story on a centre that works with children who have autism and I was allowed to follow part of the morning as Joshua was in therapy. In these types of assignments, I find that I usually need some time to ease into it so the subject and the therapist can become comfortable with my presence. This ultimately leads to better photographs as they're now relaxed and I'm no longer a distraction. Oftentimes, I don't have this luxury. I love this photograph for the simple reason that we see the smile of a child who is going through a lot that he can't understand, but is responding to the therapist working with him. It's a small moment, but it captures the relationship between two people, in less-than-ideal circumstances, making the most of it as one nurtures the other.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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Stefan Kuszper, 86, lies in his home on July 27 after his family brought him home from the hospital after efforts to fight his cancer failed. Mr. Kuszper died the day after this photo was taken. It's a rare opportunity to have open access to a private and personal moment such as this. As part of a longer story on end-of-life issues I was able to spend two days with the family of Stefan Kuszper as he fought terminal cancer. Working in a very small space I chose to use a wide zoom lens and one camera body. With the full support of his family I was free to photograph his finals days at home.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail/Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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When taking photos of any natural disaster, there are always two spots: the place where you can get and the place where you want to get. I arrived in Goderich on Aug. 22 after a tornado hit the small town two days earlier, and police had already closed the street with yellow tape. I saw the destroyed property on the other side of the church and I knew that the photo I needed was from inside that house. After going through the backyards of several houses and the roof of another I got to the second floor of the house where I wanted to be. I got the image and I never crossed the yellow tape.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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A patient is admitted to the mental hospital run by Abdurrahman Ali, known by the nickname Dr. Habeb, in Mogadishu on Sept. 8. One of the issues seldom discussed in Somalia, let alone any war-torn country, is the impact that conflict, famine, and disease has on the mental health of the population. While in Mogadishu in September we worked on a story about the treatment of the mentally ill in Mogadishu by doctors who care, but have very little resources available to them. During our visit to one facility a man, obviously very agitated, was being admitted, and I was able to photograph the process. This image was made purposefully with a slow shutter speed to better give a sense of the level of agitation the man was experiencing.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

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Drawing over a million people each July the Caribbean Carnival culminates in a 'grand parade' that starts at the CNE grounds and winds along the shores of Lake Ontario. While lugging heavy gear up and down the parade route all day in temperatures approaching 40 degrees can be exhausting covering the event can also be a lot of fun. It's hard not to get swept up in the festivities when surrounded by throngs of ecstatic revellers dressed in ornate and elaborate costumes as the sounds of a steelpan band plays nearby. With so much going on visually i realized it would be easy to snap away at all the the obvious pictures and overlook the more subtle images. I decided i'd try to capture a few quieter moments among the chaos, the crowds and the colorful blur of the costumes. This image of a young masquerader was taken along the parade route as she took a short break from dancing to make some minor adjustments to her outfit. Using a telephoto lens I was able to eliminate extraneous or distracting elements and focus on her downward gaze. The bold colour and texture of her feathered head dress also help to frame up her face quite nicely.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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Ty Cahoon, 16, rides his horse as he throws his lasso while practicing behind the Equine Academy in Cardston, Alta., on Oct. 19. Equine Academy is not only a pruning ground for up and coming rodeo professions, but also a therapeutic centre for children with developmental disabilities. As a photojournalist I find I often daydream about different elements coming together for the perfect picture. For me the daydream becomes as close to reality as you can get.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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When I met Loucia Linkert, 60, and her husband, Parkinson's sufferer Andrew, 72, on Dec. 8, I immediately felt their warm spirit and welcoming nature in their home. They spoke of how they fell in love 33 years ago. As I took photos, Loucia was warmly and lovingly touching her husband’s head, arm and hands. She seemed to become overwhelmed by the need to give Andrew a large hug, squishing her nose against his face, saying how much she loved him. They had just been chosen to receive $1,000 per month from Seniors for Seniors, who assist seniors living in poverty. Loucia was happy that, if only for a little while, she didn't have to choose whether to feed him or buy his medication.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

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Eleven-year-old Saad Nandhla, left, and 12-year-old Ebrahim Tagari, stand with their cricket bats at hand. What is currently a field with portables behind Valley Park Middle School will soon become a cricket oval. I'd been assigned to illustrate a story on how one Toronto community was going ahead with a project that would give the local immigrant community something to call their own. In the large field of an elementary school, people were planning on building a cricket pitch, a sport the largely South Asian community follows passionately. Unfortunately, it was March and the grassy field was muddy and wet. I made the best photographs I could in those conditions. I also needed other photos in case these didn't quite work. Since the area was high-density with large apartment complexes, I had to work these into the photograph to illustrate the need the community had for a place where they could get together, enjoy a sport they grew up playing and get outside to do something physical. This is an unusual portrait in that the heads are cut out of the photograph. I had photographed them head to toe as well, but this composition seemed to work best for me. It made it less ethnicity-specific and more symbolic of inner-city youth, their environment and how that space can be adapted to their needs. The bleakness of an asphalt and concrete world can be overcome when everyone involved works towards an attainable goal.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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Samir Sinha helps 92-year-old patient Steven out of bed during a house-call visit on April 5. Dr. Sinha is one of just a few doctors who work with the SPRINT program to provide house visits to elderly patients. I accompanied a doctor on a series of medical visits with homebound patients. On the second visit of the day I photographed a bed-ridden elderly man as Dr. Sinha helped him to his feet, something his wife was not able to do. Low light and tight space was dealt with by using higher ISO and a fast wide prime lens.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail/Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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"Walk a Mile in her Shoes", is an annual campaign where men walk one mile wearing high heels to raise awareness about violence against women, the RCMP participated and a couple of officers walked along the crowd wearing the painful shoes. The most challenging part of this particular assignment was to get the right angle with the shoes being an important part of the final composition.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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Zebras grace late in the day inside the Kenyan National Preserve in Nairobi on Sept. 10. The majority of travel I have done has been to areas of the world where grief and suffering are prominent. I have not taken advantage of my time in foreign places to enjoy some of the beauty often overlooked while working on other stories. My colleague, Geoffrey York, The Globe and Mail's Africa bureau chief, was determined to not let this be the case after we completed our work in Somalia, so he pretty much insisted that I take some time to enjoy a mini-safari with him before flying home. While it's very strange to take in a day like we had after experiencing a week in such a sad place as Mogadishu, I was very happy that Geoffrey took the time to arrange this outing. It was an opportunity to decompress somewhat before heading home, and it was a thrill to see some of the beauty that Africa has to offer. This image was taken late in the day as our driver rushed to get us out of the preserve before the gates were locked for the day.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

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Physically impressive and intensely competitive, Serena Williams is a photographer's dream. While covering the 2011 Rogers Cup in Toronto last August I had the opportunity to photograph her as she captured her second WTA win since coming back from injury. Whether screaming in disgust or pumping her fists in celebration every move the brash tennis star made seemed to be a potential front-page photo. So when Williams' advanced to the Rogers Cup Final against Australian Samantha Stosur, every photographer at Rexall Centre was thrilled. As the match went on it became apparent that Williams was directing her fits of demonstrative jubilation toward a particular corner of the stadium where Canadian recording artist Drake was sitting courtside. Leading up to the tournament there had been rumours that Serena and Drake were romantically involved. Whether the rumours were true or not it was obvious that each time Williams won a point she would turn and pump her fists directly toward the hip-hop star. Naturally, by the end of the match, many of us had recognized this and positioned ourselves on the 'Drake side' of the court. When Williams finally fired a blistering ace past Stosur taking the match 6-4, 6-2 she jumped high in the air, turned toward Drake (and our lenses) and, as anticipated, pumped her fist in celebration.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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In a tent outside the Isaie Jeanty, Port-au-Prince's only maternity hospital, on Jan. 10, 2011 which, at the time, was the only cholera treatment centre set up for pregnant patients were orphans whose mothers died of cholera. Kept isolated from the other babies he looked so pale, small and alone, I was drawn to him. Fed by staff through a tube because he was too weak to eat on his own, his future was unclear. I felt sad that he may not have had a family to go home to, if he recovered at all.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

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Timber Whitehouse, area chief of the Fraser River stock assessment, stands in the Adams River on Oct. 26 looking for dead sockeye salmon to estimate the size of the run. He is also looking for evidence of pre-spawn mortalities, which sometimes kills up to 50 per cent of a stock before the fish have spawned. Using a $16 fish tank and three bags of kitty litter I was able to show the reader one view of two completely different worlds, dramatically increasing the picture's visual interest. The fish tank keeps the camera dry, but the kitty litter has a twofold purpose: to give weight to the tank, which would otherwise float downstream, and to secure the camera in place.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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The hearse carrying Sergeant Ryan Russell turns onto Wellington Street West as it heads to the Metro Convention Centre for a funeral service on Jan. 18. Sgt. Russell was killed in the line of duty while trying to stop a stolen snow plow near the intersection of Dupont Street and Avenue Road. Although I really don't like to have any preconceived ideas when going to assignments, for this one I pretty much knew right away what my photograph would be. I just needed to make sure the details were such that I could realize what I envisioned. As expected, the location where they made a turn was stacked deep with police officers and the public. It meant I had to move my ladder often as the crowds grew and the photographers tried to anticipate exactly where the procession would be coming down University. I'd been making photographs throughout the morning of the crowds and police procession but knew that the one photograph I'd been waiting for still hadn't been made. I was kind of getting nervous, as I often do when I overthink things, but everything worked out in the end. The procession made its slow right turn and as it slowly made its way, I made a sequence of photographs, and in this particular frame, all the elements came together. I knew I had the keeper. All that was left to make my way to the nearby coffee shop (which I and other photographers had temporarily called home) and file the photos back to the paper.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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Comedian Shaun Majumder and his four-year-old Boston terrier, Jazzy, at the Soho Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto on March 31. Hotels are a common location for us to photograph celebrities. The problem is that hotel rooms pretty much all look the same. Luckily when I arrived to photograph Majumder he brought along his dog. Majumder ran through a series of facial expressions as I shot but was unaware that both he and Jazzy were striking a similar pose.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail/Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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How many things have happened to me in 14 years? I've lived in four different countries, met my wife and had two sons, to name a few of the things that came to my mind when I got the assignment to take a photo of Tammy Marquardt. She had spent the past 14 years of her life in jail, accused of killing her two-years-old son, based on the evidence presented by the disgraced pathologist Charles Smith. When I got into her home she was feeding her five-month-old baby, Tiffany. I could feel her peace when I took this photo, the same day that a court announced her conviction had been wrong. A mistake that lasted 14 years.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

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A group of Mennonite boys, aged 15 to 18, leave a homemade rink on a farm owned by Noah Martin in Wallenstein, Ont., on Jan. 8. This image was one of the last images I shot while doing a story about hockey played in its classic style. It is also one of my favourite images from last year. I was able to find a game being played by some Mennonite young men in Waterloo Region, and despite some strict rules that they live by, I was able to photograph them enough to produce a centre spread for a Monday Folio. As a hockey fan myself, it was great to watch these young men play the game purely for fun, and in a pure sporting style.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

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Last September, after nearly a year of footwork to secure our journalist visas, Globe reporter Sonia Verma and I traveled to Havana to work on several stories focusing on the recent economic reforms happening there. For the first time since the 1959 revolution Cuban president Raul Castro has loosened certain government restrictions involving such things as car ownership, small business and agriculture. Due to chronic food shortages under the state-controlled agriculture industry the Castro government has decided to offer free 10-year leases on idle parcels of countryside to Cubans willing to farm the land. Sonia and I were fortunate to meet a local farmer named Armando Aroche who was producing crops of sweet potatoes and tomatoes on his plot of land located less than an hour outside Havana. The dusty rural landscape and warm light offered great photographic possibilities and Mr. Aroche warmly welcomed me into his home when I sheepishly asked if I could stay the night so I could continue to photograph the next morning. Since Mr. Aroche and his family spoke only a few words of English and I spoke even less Spanish we spent most of that evening communicating using only a crude form of charades over beer and roast chicken. The next morning we left the house at 5:30 a.m. to meet the rest of the men in the fields. There was a slight mist hanging over the fields and the light was muted and subdued. This particular frame was taken in the few moments before the sun came over the horizon as one of the hired men paused while harvesting sweet potatoes.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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