Top AP photos of 2019 range from the epic to the intimate


A U.S. Border Protection officer stands in heavy rain near the border fence between San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico, on Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Ours is a world of sweeping vistas, and intimate scenes. In 2019, Associated Press photographers captured both.

A single Border Protection officer stands in the rain at the border; pieces of heavy equipment, replacing a stretch of border wall, are dwarfed by the open, blue sky. And the bodies of a Salvadoran father and his toddler daughter, drowned just short of their destination, float in the Rio Grande.

Hordes of Hong Kong activists, umbrellas in hand, are glimpsed through a window framed by tattered posters; a police water cannon, seen from above, sprays scores of Chilean demonstrators. And a single churchgoer drops to the ground to pray near tires set afire by protesters in Haiti.

The scale of some images is breathtaking. Trails of rockets light the night sky over Sederot, Israel. Motorcycles, ant-like from a distance, race across sand dunes in Peru. A drone’s eye view tracks the dividing line between lush Amazon jungle on one side of a road, and burnt ruins on the other.

A mourner places a hand on the shoulder of Devi Posto, killed during clashes between security forces and supporters of former President Evo Morales, during a vigil at the San Francisco de Asis church in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, on Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A silverback mountain gorilla named Segasira looks up as he lies under a tree in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, on Sept. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
A police water cannon sprays anti-government demonstrators in Valparaiso, Chile, on Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A churchgoer drops to the ground and prays in the street near burning tires lit by protesters, during a march called by religious leaders in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Oct. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Marching anti-government protesters are seen through a window with peeled off posters in Hong Kong on Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A lush forest sits next to a field of charred trees in Vila Nova Samuel, Brazil, on Aug. 27, 2019. The fires that swept parts of the Amazon this year added to global worries about a warming climate, as well as the sense of urgency at the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, on June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’ wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current. (AP Photo/Julia Le Duc)
Robert Fuller lies unconscious after plunging drugs that will end his life into his feeding tube as his husband, Reese Baxter, upper left, and friends hold him, in Seattle on May 10, 2019. Fuller was one of about 1,200 people who have used Washington’s Death with Dignity Act to end their lives in the decade since it became law. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The Israeli Iron Dome air defense system takes out rockets fired from Gaza near Sderot, Israel, on May 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Ana, an 88-year-old Greek Catholic, waits for the arrival of Pope Francis and the start of the Divine Liturgy and the beatification of seven martyred bishops of the Eastern-rite Romanian Catholic Church, in Blaj, Romania, on June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Competitors ride their motorcycles across the dunes during stage nine of the Dakar Rally in Pisco, Peru, on Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
A U.S. Border Protection officer stands in heavy rain near the border fence between San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico, on Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Workers replace sections of the border wall, left, with new sections, right, on Jan. 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

But the close-ups are no less remarkable. A mourner, lit by three candles, touches the body of a man killed during clashes with Bolivian security forces. In Washington state, friends and family lay hands on a 75-year-old throat cancer victim as he takes his last breaths, a suicide.

Sometimes, the focus is even tighter, like the full-frame face of a silverback gorilla, peering intently into the camera. Or the wrinkled, 88-year-old woman in Blaj, Romania — just one eye in the picture, gazing forward as she awaits Pope Francis’ arrival.

In their eyes, the photographers find vistas.


For the full array of AP’s best photos of 2019, go to

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