Migrants cross the Rio Bravo on an inflatable mattress into the United States from Matamoros, Mexico, on May 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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Two moments, at opposite ends of the human experience.

In the first, on July 20, a woman squats in the thick mud in Raigad, India, as she peers out from a plastic tarp that covers her body. Her face is frozen in anguish and uncertainty as she faces the most dire of circumstances — the realization that her family is trapped under rubble after a landslide.

The second scene could not be more different. It is from March 2, on the beach in Gaza City — a starkly different Gaza City than the one its residents are experiencing today. In this image, a group of Palestinians sit in chairs under an umbrella enjoying a day at the beach. In the background, a man rides by on a horse; both are airborne, their image reflected in water on the sand.

Unthinkable anguish. Casual joy. And everything in between, too — in a world where, it is proven over and over, anything can happen and often does.

The mission of photojournalism is to capture moments that represent — and, at their best, truly reveal — the endless spectrum of the human experience. Associated Press photographers across the world have spent 2023 doing exactly that — sometimes at great risk or personal exertion, always with ethics and compassion and quality, and with an eye forever trained toward the memorable.

Independent have also included some of our top photos of 2023 whether it be the late killer whale Lolita, homegrown soccer star Benjamin Cremashi or the unveiling of the rennovated St. Agnes Catholic Church.

AP photographers found plenty of contradictions when culling the best photos of the year.

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Conflict. Ambition. Anger. Injustice. Striving. Merriment. Poverty. Blood. The quest for excellence, no matter the arena. The human body, in glorious and panicked motion and, too often, sadly stilled. Struggle — to protect loved ones, to navigate a warming planet, to escape strife and oppression, to survive nature’s capriciousness.

Death, life and more death — in all its unwelcome permutations. Bursts of joy in unexpected places. Tears upon tears upon tears. Wars that have just begun, wars that continue, wars already almost forgotten. The gamut of human existence.

News photographers in the 21st century find astonishingly different ways to show the world to us — ways we might not even notice consciously but, to them, are carefully calibrated storytelling tools.

Sometimes blur tells the story best, as in the chaos-drenched photo of a Ukrainian MSLR BM-21 “Grad” rocket launcher firing toward Russian positions in March. Or the image of a young female protester’s blurred, expectant face reflected amid painted slogans during pension-related strikes and protests in France in March.

Sometimes startling closeups reveal texture and pain — as in the detail of the worn-out portrait of Dmytro Andriyovych that sat on his grave outside Kyiv when it was photographed in February, 10 months after he was buried during the opening weeks of the Ukraine war. The rain, sun and frost etched into the portrait speak of loss, of passing time, of decay and sadness.

Sometimes it is repeating shapes that grab the senses: A pattern of brown, cracked earth that resembles a jigsaw puzzle frames a single green plant in a parched reservoir in Spain, captured in April. The seemingly dead reservoir bed makes the bright assertion of life seem all the more memorable.

Sometimes mere fragments of things can resonate most and tell the story best: That is evident in the image of a Palestinian person wounded in the Israeli bombardment, photographed Nov. 2 on what appears to be a hospital floor. The only things that show in the frame: some crumpled medical paperwork, a vial of blood and two blood-soaked feet.

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And sometimes epic wide shots show what nothing else can. Consider the arresting image, shot from above, of Argentine Boca Juniors fans gathering on Copacabana Beach the day before a championship game in Rio de Janeiro. Their collective visual — people, umbrellas, signs, sand — tell a story that no land-level image could.

As this year’s most memorable photos of all subjects and events roll by, one thing emerges above all others: the ability of human beings to hurt each other. From a young comedian shot and bleeding out on a Haitian street to 4-year-old Kenzi al Madhoun, looking straight at the camera from her spare hospital bed in Gaza after being wounded in an Israeli bombardment, the lenses of AP photographers chronicled pain from all angles.

Humans gravitate toward time periods like single years, it’s said, so we can find rhythms, commune with nature and make sense of things — so that the entire world isn’t rushing at us all at once. But that practice began when a week, a month, a year only contained so much.

Today, in a connected and absurdly complex world, a single year contains far more cataclysmic news than we can ever begin to process. Ways to make sense of it are rare. But using technology to freeze moments — capturing them in unforgettable photography — offers a small chance to pause and say: At this particular hour in our civilization, this is what happened to us.

These photos, taken together, are a catalog of an entire year. They are a mosaic of news that darted across our stage, astonished us, repulsed us, interested us and — in the best cases — made us care, if only for a few seconds, about a year that passed this way once and will never come again.

Fisherwomen and men pull in a net of fish off the coast of Chuao, Venezuela, in the early morning on June 7, 2023. Some women are joining a family tradition of fishing or launching new careers after losing jobs during Venezuela’s economic crisis. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Ukrainian military doctors treat their injured comrade, who was evacuated from the battlefield, at the hospital in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Jan. 9, 2023. The serviceman did not survive. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Palestinian men flee to northern Gaza as Israeli tanks block the Salah al-Din road in the central Gaza Strip on Nov. 24, 2023. A cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war began as part of an agreement that Qatar helped broker. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)
The body of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lies in state in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, as mourners file by to pay tribute, on Jan. 4, 2023. Benedict died Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chris Blowes, of Australia, duck-dives under a wave during the U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championships in Oceanside, Calif., on Sept. 8, 2023. More than 100 athletes with disabilities from 17 countries competed in the event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Key Biscayne

Here are some photos that ran in the Key Biscayne Independent that editors found notable.

Andrea Berdichevsky and her daughter Sofia Kreutzberger attending vigil on Friday, October 13, 2023, to support Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas terrorist attacks. Berdichevsky said her nephew was killed in the attacks. (KBI Photo: John Pacenti)
A colorful float passes down Crandon Boulevard, July 4, 2023 during the 64th Key Biscaye Fourth of July Parade (KBI Photo/Tony Winton)
Parishoners worship during the consecration Mass at St. Agnes Roman Catholic church, Friday Sept. 16, 2023, (KBI Photo/John Pacenti)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – JULY 25: Inter Miami midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi (30) tries to flicks a no look pass back to Inter Miami midfielder Lionel Messi (10) as Atlanta United midfielder Santiago Sosa (5) defends in the first half during the Leagues Cup match between Atlanta United and Inter Miami on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at DRV PNK Stadium, Miami, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Killer whale Lolita
Lolita, the killer whale, is shown in an undated photo in her pool at Miami Seaquarium. A group of former trainers, veterinarians, and caretakers have formed a group to try to stop the effort to transport the 57-year-old orca back to Washington State waters where she was captured in the early 1970s. (KBI via Truth 4 Toki)
Narciso Munoz of Hermanos de la Calle hands out food to the homeless on 17th Street in Miami on Dec. 15, 2023. (KBI Photo: John Pacenti)
Former Gen. Michael Flynn speaks at the ReAwaken conference, May 13, 2023 in Doral, Fla. KBI Photo/Tony Winton)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Rosenstiel School on Virginia Key to announce $563 million in projects to improve resilience to threats such as rising seas and coastal flooding, Friday April 21, 2023 (KBI Photo/Tony Winton)
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