How photography helps us make sense of this unforgettable year

A deadly virus. Lives in lockdown. Passionate calls for justice. The images of 2020 reflected the humanity of a turbulent time.

Read
What was it like to be a photographer in 2020?

National Geographic photographers seem possessed of an inner GPS. Fueled by restless curiosity, they roam the planet in search of fresh perspectives to capture and new stories to tell. In 2020 this inner GPS took Ruddy Roye to the front lines of America’s racial reckoning and set David Guttenfelder on the trail of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the year’s losses and chaos, Anand Varma captured rare natural marvels, Hannah Reyes Morales recorded soothing scenes of peace, and Diana Markosian witnessed triumphs of the human will.

‘Our job is to be part of this struggle in a very positive way’
‘Our job is to be part of this struggle in a very positive way’
‘It was such a revelation, seeing this pandemic play out’
‘It was such a revelation, seeing this pandemic play out’
‘Everybody’s got an important story to tell’
‘Everybody’s got an important story to tell’
‘We helped students heal from the abrupt way their year ended’
‘We helped students heal from the abrupt way their year ended’
The pandemic dealt photographers setbacks—and surprises
The pandemic dealt photographers setbacks—and surprises
See more of 2020’s best photography, including discoveries, animals, travel, and moments we’ll never forget.

Watch This

Behind the Scenes of Our January 2021 Special Issue, ‘2020: The Year in Pictures’
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic editors to see and hear how the January 2021 “The Year in Pictures” special issue came together—from selecting the most powerful photographs to deciding on the themes, design direction, and cover.

Latest Magazine Issues

Through an Astronaut's Eyes

Mysteries of a Virus

2020: The Year in Pictures

Saving the Great Lakes

A World Gone Viral

Reimagining Dinosaurs

Meet the Robots

Stopping Pandemics

The Last Voices of World War II

You'll Miss them when They're Gone

The End of Trash

Last Journey Into Slavery

Under Jerusalem

Women: A Century of Change

Last of its Kind

The Arctic is Heating Up

A World on the Move

The Moon and Beyond

The Hidden Cost of Wildlife Tourism

We are Not Alone

The Ultimate Climb

The Future of Medicine

The Search for the Sacred Texts

Battle for the American West

Last Tribes of the Amazon

The Story of a Face

The Science of Sleep

Building a Better Athlete

Planet or Plastic?

Artist, Provocateur, Rogue, Genius, Picasso.

Black and White

Through an Astronaut's Eyes

Mysteries of a Virus

2020: The Year in Pictures

Saving the Great Lakes

A World Gone Viral

Reimagining Dinosaurs

Meet the Robots

Stopping Pandemics

The Last Voices of World War II

You'll Miss them when They're Gone

The End of Trash

Last Journey Into Slavery

Under Jerusalem

Women: A Century of Change

Last of its Kind

The Arctic is Heating Up

A World on the Move

The Moon and Beyond

The Hidden Cost of Wildlife Tourism

We are Not Alone

The Ultimate Climb

The Future of Medicine

The Search for the Sacred Texts

Battle for the American West

Last Tribes of the Amazon

The Story of a Face

The Science of Sleep

Building a Better Athlete

Planet or Plastic?

Artist, Provocateur, Rogue, Genius, Picasso.

Black and White

Through an Astronaut's Eyes

Mysteries of a Virus

2020: The Year in Pictures

Saving the Great Lakes

A World Gone Viral

Reimagining Dinosaurs

Meet the Robots

Stopping Pandemics

The Last Voices of World War II

You'll Miss them when They're Gone

The End of Trash

Last Journey Into Slavery

Under Jerusalem

Women: A Century of Change

Last of its Kind

The Arctic is Heating Up

A World on the Move

The Moon and Beyond

The Hidden Cost of Wildlife Tourism

We are Not Alone

The Ultimate Climb

The Future of Medicine

The Search for the Sacred Texts

Battle for the American West

Last Tribes of the Amazon

The Story of a Face

The Science of Sleep

Building a Better Athlete

Planet or Plastic?

Artist, Provocateur, Rogue, Genius, Picasso.

Black and White

Subscribe to National Geographic

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet