John Drescher

The N&O’s Year in Pictures: Amusing, inspiring, sad

Short Cake, an 8-year-old pony, runs in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at Spence’s Farm, in Orange County. “She came from the Amish in Ohio,” farm owner Spence Dickinson says. “You can ride her, or she can pull a wagon.”
Short Cake, an 8-year-old pony, runs in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at Spence’s Farm, in Orange County. “She came from the Amish in Ohio,” farm owner Spence Dickinson says. “You can ride her, or she can pull a wagon.” mschultz@newsobserver.com

As a year unfolds, News & Observer photojournalists shoot tens of thousands of photographs.

For our 12-page Year in Pictures section, which is included in home-delivered copies of Friday’s paper, we selected about 60.

The challenge of choosing those images this year fell to Ethan Hyman, who has been a member of our photo staff for 13 years. Hyman, 44, calls the selection process “agonizing.”

Hyman started by asking his fellow N&O photojournalists to send him their choices for best photos of the year. He then added some pictures to reflect some of the biggest stories of the year in the Triangle and North Carolina, giving him a total of about 600 images.

“While many of the images are photos that just are amazing, others are incredible images from the stories we will remember from the year: Duke wins the national championship, the murders of (students) Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha,” Hyman said. Of assembling the 600 photos, he said, “That made it a much more manageable starting point.”

But he still had to narrow the 600 to 60. (The 60 pictures plus more images from the year also can be viewed at nando.com/localphotos.)

“Since each page can only have five to six photos, the editing became really tough,” he said. “A lot, I mean a lot, of amazing photos didn’t make the cut.

“Sometimes it was because there was no space. Sometimes it was because there just wasn’t a home for it with all the themes we had. Sometimes it was because there was already a great image that was similar. Sometimes it was because the photo needed to run big and we already had a display photo figured out. This was the toughest part of the edit. It was agonizing actually.”

Hyman worked with others to organize the pages by theme. There’s a page on natural wonders, a page on popular musicians, a page on politics, a page on the Duke men’s basketball championship.

As with everything we do, the Year in Pictures was a team effort. Photo editors Scott Sharpe and John Hansen helped Hyman select the photos. Metro editor Thad Ogburn chose the themes and wrote the text. Robin Johnston designed the pages to give the photos maximum impact.

Hyman is passionate about journalism and photography. Whether he’s on a football field or in a war zone (he has worked in Kosovo and Iraq), he wants you to see and feel what he sees and feels. He immerses himself in the story, and he immersed himself in the Year in Pictures.

Hyman hopes readers find the photos to be “beautiful, moving and powerful” and that the section also provides a summary of a memorable year.

Some of the photos are amusing, some are inspiring, some are sad. Kind of like the year itself.

We hope you enjoy the pictures.

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