Getty Images’ creative team of art directors, editors and visual anthropologists are constantly looking forward to determine the trends and imagery that will be relevant in the future. Although they are focused on what’s ahead, we’ve asked them to take a rare step back and share the images from 2016 that they found moving, beautiful, inspiring and thought-provoking.

Lauren Catten
Senior Art Director, London

“As an art director, it’s a difficult process to develop a creative relationship with someone where you are able to successfully transfer an idea from your head into theirs. As a result it is not a frequent occurrence but this shoot was one of those rare times. Photograher Klaus Vedfelt and I have worked together for a couple of years and we spoke about this project for about a year before it came to fruition. The results were even better than I could have imagined and it is one of few shoots I feel truly proud of. This particular image stands out for its ethereal beauty juxtaposed with the cool stares of strength. The twins’ composure is uncanny for such a young age. You can feel the intensity of their determination. Combined with the incredible treatment and composition, it hits all the right notes of encouraging you too look deeper; it stays with you long after seeing it.”

Emilie McKittrick
Senior Content Editor, New York

“I love how this image so perfectly captures the boy’s expression of trepidation. Shot at his level, rather than looking down as an adult might at a child, lends the moment a certain intimacy. There is a palpable frustration as well as humor in this scene.”

Amy Lehfeldt
Senior Art Director, New York

“This is one of my favorite images of the year. There is so much going on in the image, adding layer after layer to the story. It’s not only a powerful story of small town life but the composition and light pull you in and move you around the image as if you are standing right there.”

Claudia Marks
Senior Art Director, New York

“This is one of my favorite images from this year – it speaks to a couple of things I feel passionately about that I hope will also be on people’s minds next year: color, both as the subject and as the idea of diversity.”

Bill Bon
Senior Art Director, Seattle

“What I like about this image is the sense of scale of this amazing moment and how it’s captured from such a unique perspective. The scale of the fire is incredible and all the people viewing it just happen to be in the right position to form a perfect composition.”

Guy Merrill
Senior Art Director, London

“I love this portrait – all the elements come together so well. She’s such a fantastic model and it’s brilliant how she maintains such a powerful gaze whilst posing against a pale pink backdrop.”

Andrew Delaney
Director of Creative Content, New York

“This is a simple, yet effective—and oh so beautiful—kaleidoscopic view of New York. It’s part of a visually stimulating series that tickles the senses from a surreal perspective.”

Beth Wachtel-Lipke
Creative Content Manager, New York

“I love this image because it is deceptively simple but says so much about comfort, adaptability, relaxation, and safety; it also works as a ready-made meme with a bit of naivety and unfiltered humor. The color palette and patterns of the tablecloth and the cat’s swirling tabby fur are also quite soothing. I immediately smiled when I saw this image and I know from the photographer that “Bear” here saw the new cast iron skillet sitting on the kitchen table and promptly curled up to take a long nap. She didn’t adjust him or alter the scene in any way and like most cats, he acts like he owns the whole house.”

Lindsay Morris
Senior Manager, Creative Planning, New York

“The calmness of this image really stood out to me. It’s been a tough year, and I think everyone could use a little Zen.”

Beth La Frenier
Senior Content Editor, Seattle

“I love the unique perspective of this image. We tend to see the same point of view in images where a model is taking a photo. Looking up in this image removes the sense of place and gives the feeling that this could be any one of us, anywhere in the world. This perspective gives the viewer the freedom to create the environment and subject of the ‘photo within the photo’ in their imagination.”

See the trends that will define the year ahead in Getty Images’ 2017 Creative In Focus