The best unpublished photos of 2019

Discover unseen moments seen through the lens of our photographers.

Easter means a day of rest and celebration for the families of hardworking rangers and staff in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The park, in the war-torn northeastern part of the DRC, attracts rebels keen to poach elephants because tusks can pay for munitions. The rangers are trained and directed by the nonprofit conservation group African Parks to protect the continent’s wildlife, and restore and run national parks.
Photograph by Brent Stirton

And the runners-up: The best unpublished photos of 2019.

What’s better than being able to choose the best photographs of the year? Getting to choose 19 more that shine a light on the year’s most important and provocative stories.

Putting together a visual story requires not just a photographer and writer, but the many editors who work behind the scenes. These various players make countless decisions along the way—from which light to capture at which second, to which photos will fit into the larger narrative of a story. So many details are considered in presenting the breadth and depth of a National Geographic feature.

But this also means that many of our favorites land on the cutting room floor.

There’s the lion slipping through sunbeams in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, a swirl of sea turtles that looks almost like abstract art, and those bare-chested men on a Pakistani beach.

Then of course there’s that rat diving headfirst into some New York City underworld of only its knowing, and with such aplomb.

So we’re seizing this moment to share the photos that still stick in our minds—and that we can’t resist sharing before the year is out. Enjoy.

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