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National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Ami Vitale/National Geographic

These are National Geographic's most astounding pictures of the year

From capturing the defiance of Ukrainian refugees to the first all-Black expedition up Mount Everest, these are some of the year’s most spectacular snaps

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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Some photographs look pretty, some tell stories – and some do it all. It’s that latter kind of snap that is celebrated by esteemed travel mag National Geographic’s ‘pictures of the year’, which this year featured over a hundred shots that sum up 2022.

The photos are selected because they each tell a story in the most spectacular and impactful way possible. There's a snap that captures the spirit of the first all-Black expedition to conquer Mount Everest, one that communicates the resilience of Ukrainian refugees, and one that fully gauges the blistering heat of a volcano mid-eruption in the Canaries.

Nat Geo selected its winners from works submitted by the mag’s own 132 photographers, who submitted over two million pictures taken in 60 different countries. Out of those, 118 were chosen as the best.

You can check out all of National Geographic’s ‘pictures of the year’ here (which also feature in the December issue of the physical magazine) but, in the meantime, below are a few of our favourites.

National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Orsolya Haarberg/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Stephen Wilkes/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Carsten Peter/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Hannah Reyes Morales/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Evan Green
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Alejandro Cegarra/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Sasha Arutyunova/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Photograph: Renan Ozturk/National Geographic
National Geographic Picture of the Year
Image: National Geographic

For more on this story, visit natgeo.com/photos

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