There were moments, some quiet and some overt, that had an impact on communities throughout the US this year and photographers were there to document them.
Extreme weather events tore through areas and reminded of the present danger of the climate crisis. Mass shootings and the prevalence of gun violence sent shockwaves across the nation while leaving local communities reeling in grief. Environmental injustices affected displaced people from their homes and left lasting health consequences. A complex homelessness and housing crisis gripped California and other states in the US.
There were also times of reprieve and efforts to do good amid the challenges. There were those who fought to uphold democracy, protect our food systems and environment, and undo the wrongs of the legal system by implementing criminal reforms. Here are some of those moments from this year, as represented by photographers for the Guardian US.
LeJeun “LJ” Holmes at an Oakland nursery run by Planting Justice, a food justice organization that works with marginalized communities including those affected by the criminal justice system. Holmes was formerly incarcerated before joining Planting Justice and says that working in a garden has changed his life.
Fire house 18 firefighters en route to a fire in Phoenix, Arizona. Heatwaves in Phoenix put stress on the city’s emergency support system this year.
Ruins of the Atlanta prison farm inside the South River Forest. Activists occupied the forest to protest against the approved development of a $90m police training facility in the woodlands.
Mary Green at her home in Mississippi. Mary Green’s 21-year-old son, Mark Broxton, was fatally shot in 1995. Kuantay Reeder was wrongfully convicted of murdering Broxton and spent nearly three decades in prison. Green and other members of the Broxton family supported the reinvestigation of the case.
Left: Stoney Haver, Samantha Haver, and Brandy Brogan in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Their family home was burnt to the ground by the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires. Samantha Haver’s husband Buzzard, not pictured, is a disabled veteran who requires a wheelchair and oxygen. All of his medical supplies burnt in the fire. Right: Kathryn Mahan and Jamie Knutson with their daughter, Rayyah, on the site of their home that was destroyed by a fire that started as a controlled burn by the US Forest Service. Fema has denied their insurance claims.
Visitors lounge and walk about Los Angeles’ Echo Park Lake that was reopened with a large fence around it after a community of unhoused residents was evicted.
Rusty Bowers, former speaker of Arizona’s house of representatives, at his family ranch 90 minutes’ drive east of Phoenix. Bowers denied former President Trump’s demand overturn the 2020 election result. He lost his re-election race to a Trump-endorsed opponent, David Farnsworth, in July.
A memorial at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in late May.
An American volunteer just before leaving Poland in March to defend Ukraine against a Russian invasion.
Mayor Michelle Wu at city hall in Boston. Wu is spearheading efforts to implement free public transportation in the city to improve affordability and reduce carbon emissions.
Morena Tubo instructing at a pickleball clinic in West Hartford, Connecticut. The sport rose in popularity this year.
Vanessa Nakate, climate activist and author, outside the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Davorre, at an encampment near the Emeryville and Berkeley border, said he had been living on the streets for about 10 years but on his own since he was a child.
Community members, religious leaders, and activists gathered outside the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Ten people were killed and another three wounded in a mass shooting at the grocery store.
Anne Elizabeth Moore and Tomeka Currington in the neighborhood of where they both once resided in Detroit. Moore discovered that the house she was given for free as part of a writing residency already belonged to Currington who was subjected to predatory municipal practices.
Michael Bautista blows bubbles in Washington Park, a mostly Latino area of Providence, Rhode Island. An investigation found that the city of Providence is refusing to replace toxic lead water pipes unless residents pay. Residents including Michael’s mother Elena were unable to have lead lines replaced where they lived.
Edgar Jaime walks along his farm with the world’s largest Amazon warehouse looming in the distance in Ontario, California. Once a center of the dairy industry, Ontario has become one of the biggest US hubs for the e-commerce industry.
Left: Arthur Bramhandram at the Bushwig festival in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, New York. Right: Tibetan prayer flags hanging from the trees at the Katog Choling Mountain Retreat Center in Parthenon, Arkansas.
A volunteer feels a beagle’s ears at Beaglefest in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in October. The event served as a fundraiser for the Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina in Virginia that helped to place beagles rescued from the Envigo breeding facility in Virginia.
Students play on the outdoor courts at Jordan high school in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The school is afflicted by pollution comprising lead, chromium and other contaminates said to come from the recycling plant nearby.
A newt rests on Linda Sheppard’s hand, who documents it and then releases it on the other side of Chileno Valley Road. The Chileno Valley Newt Brigade is a group composed of volunteers with the goal of protecting newts as they cross a busy road that divides their mating grounds from their grassy homes.
Molly-Catherine Kennedy with her father, Tom Kennedy, who is suffering from cancer, at their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington lies within the Cape Fear River basin of North Carolina that has high levels of toxic forever chemicals collectively known as PFAS.
Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm searches for beans in the garden in Harrison county, West Virginia. Dawson, and her husband, Mike Costello, run a supper club to build community around food.
Rachel Grashow, left, and Brooke Sodahl play with their kids at the Sodahl home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sodahl donated her eggs to Grashow and her husband Ken Walton, who now have two daughters.
Lelon and Senorita Howard stand in their yard near the creek that connects with the Atlantic Ocean via the Pungo River and Pamlico Sound. The Howards live in a marshland community in North Carolina that has been affected by the climate crisis.
Mike Brodeur in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Brodeur has struggled with opioid addiction since his he was a teenager. He had a job as a towing company manager for many years but is now unhoused and feels like there’s no help available for him. The historic Tenderloin district struggles with poverty, homelessness and addiction, especially now with increased use of fentanyl.
Kathy and Lew Carter said their lives were disrupted by the smell from the hog confinements that surrounded their former home in Williams, Iowa. With almost a third of US hogs being raised in Iowa, the quality of life and environmental impact of industrial hog production is driving residents of Iowa counties out of their homes.
Left: An attendee at the Taste of Soul festival in Los Angeles, California. Right: Chef Crystal Wahpepah is the owner of Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Oakland, California, a restaurant with a mission to introduce people to Indigenous food.
Children and parents play at a hotel pool in Boise, Idaho, where they wait to find permanent housing. Boise saw a housing affordability crisis this year.
Students follow their instructor, Joe Buchanan, demonstrating a task in an electricity course at Wise County career tech center in Wise, Virginia. The first climate law in the US, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), will provide funds for training, innovation, and manufacturing as well as financial incentives and tax breaks to those transitioning away from fossil fuels. The law can affect regions in Appalachia that have historically relied on coal.
Erin Jackson, winner of the gold medal for women’s speed skating in the 2022 Winter Olympics, in Ocala, Florida.
Aaron Lowden, an Indigenous seed keeper and farmer, is bringing traditional Acoma crops back to communities in New Mexico.
A french bulldog enjoys a treat at the Dogue cafe in San Francisco, California. The controversial cafe opened in September.
Media members are seen following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II outside the British embassy in Washington DC.
Ashley Hanson, an unhoused person, lives in a remote stretch of the Mojave desert in southern California, where the summer weather is brutally hot and there is no running water for miles. At least 200 people are living on the outskirts of the northern Los Angeles county.
Ruth Sherman in her rent stabilized two-bedroom apartment in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Sherman is among the lucky renters in New York who pay little in a city with high cost of living.
Leeann Avendaño, a nursing student at Long Beach City College, has struggled with homelessness as a student since she was 19 years old. Avendaño was able to receive assistant housing in Long Beach, where she has been able to focus more on her studies.
Practitioner Caitlin Grussing blows the conch three times to signal to everyone that morning meditation is about to begin at the Katog Choling Mountain Retreat Center in Parthenon, Arkansas.
Ramon Price Sr lost his son in a shooting on the Interstate Highway 580 in Oakland. Highway shootings in California doubled in two years and Governor Gavin Newsom proposed over $10m over the next three years to support a highway violence taskforce that will collect data on shootings and increase patrols in places that have the most incidents.
Gustavo Otzoy walks past a large construction site and a vendor selling clothing in Los Angeles. Otzoy was one of the last people to be evicted from a homelessness encampment at Echo Park Lake.
Ethan Vorhes and his aunt Jean Westendorf load hogs on to trailers at the family’s 4,000-hog farm near Marble Rock. Revenue from the farm helped the family survive financially as they spent years fighting a legal battle over water drainage and pollution on their land. Vorhes acknowledges problems with confinement operation in rural Iowa.
Julia Cheek in Chico, California. Cheek lost her home in the Camp fire and has struggled to find permanent housing.
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/dec/27/how-the-guardian-us-saw-2022-in-pictures How the Guardian US saw 2022 – in pictures | Photography