Every year is made up of countless moments that humble us, terrify us, sadden us. Moments that make us laugh, cringe, shake our heads in disbelief or wonder. Photographers strive to capture those moments, to tell us something of the times we live in. This gallery presents the pictures that did just that over the past year:
Pictured: About two weeks after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated eastern Japan, killing some 16,000 people, a baby undergoes a check for radiation in Fukushima City. A nearby nuclear power plant suffered major damage in the March 11 disaster, and the zone surrounding the facility was evacuated. As yet, no one has died as a direct result of nuclear exposure, but fears over the long-term effects of radiation leaks from the plant, which has since been disabled, have not dissipated.