Getty Images picture desk editors have a nearly immediate front row look at events unfolding throughout the world, with the images captured by our photographers often reaching them in a matter of seconds. The sheer volume of photographs they see on a daily basis is astounding, with the best ones having a staying power that’s difficult to describe. Here are some of the images that left our global team of editors feeling amazed and inspired in 2016 – we hope they move you, too:

Jim Dyson
Picture Desk Manager, London

“This is one of those memorable images that stopped me in my tracks and really shows the horror and mayhem of the migrant struggle and the plight of children. Working with such challenging content day after day can desensitize you to some degree but this image in particular had a huge impact, especially since I became a father to twins in the summer. The startled expression of the baby is both adorable and heart-breaking.”

Ker Robertson
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“An image that caught my eye was this dramatic shot of Tina Weirather competing in the Women’s Super G at the World Cup Finals in St Moritz. When all the ingredients of action, scenery, weather and drama come together, winter sports images are some of the best in sports photography. In this case, the photographer, Matthias Hangst, positioned himself in a great spot and used his skill and his camera’s capabilities to capture this memorable moment.”

Andy Kiss
Senior Picture Desk Editor, New York

“Over the course of the campaign season, we saw so many images of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump where the emotions were just pouring out of their faces. I love this image because its power comes from what they are all trying to hold back. In one instant, this frame perfectly encapsulates the stunning aftershock, bitter disappointment and resignation that overcame Hillary Clinton and her supporters when she lost the election.”

Ruby Wallau
Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“My favorite moments as an editor happen when a photographer surprises me. This photo stood out to me not only because of its excellent composition, light and sense of moment, but because it demonstrates the personality behind the lens. Photographer Lintao Zhang took the time to find something unexpected while shooting. While the photo doesn’t focus on the fashion or the model, it uses silhouettes and filters to capture an elegant moment. I love it when our photographers not only take the conventional photos from an event, but also push themselves to be adventurous.”

Victoria Middleton
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“I was working the late shift when photographer Carl Court filed this photograph and I remember being struck by this image. The innocence of the boy who must be about 7 or 8 years old, playing on his bicycle, looking directly at the photographer and is juxtaposed to what seems to be a never-ending burning landscape. The image draws the viewer in and makes us question what the future holds for him and his family and all affected by ISIS. In a world where we are inundated with visuals, this image really made me stop and think.”

Jerry Fiandaca
Picture Desk Editor, New York

“2016 will likely be remembered for its divisive politics, horrific terrorism, and the passing of so many beloved celebrities. As an editor and seeing so many images of these terrible events day after day, it’s easy to forget about the good things. But if you ask me, the year’s saving grace was all the wonderful sporting moments it gave us. With Cleveland finally bringing home a championship, the Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years, and, of course, the Rio Olympics. This image of Nikki Hamblin helping her injured competitor, Abbey D’Agostino, is everything the spirit of the Olympics should represent. It’s about the world coming together, putting our differences aside, and recognizing our common humanity.”

Hilary Markiewicz
Picture Desk Editor, New York

“This image of President Obama by Alex Wong brings a smile to my face every time I see it. Imitating his daughters taking selfies with their cell phones, you get to see a man who is as much a father as he is leader of the free world. As an editor, catching moments like this of the president’s charming demeanor and “dad joke” sense of humor is what I’ll miss most come January.”

Michael Bocchieri
Senior Picture Desk Editor, New York

“I’ve seen a lot of space landings but this image by Bill Ingalls of NASA is of special historic value. Ingalls shot the image from the bay of a Russian helicopter as it tracked the Souyuz spacecraft drifting in the clouds. Aboard the craft were the members of Expedition 46— Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos. Kelly and Kornienko had just completed a record year-long mission at the International Space Station to collect data on the effect of long term weightlessness on the human body. This is a small part in the many steps needed to establish a human settlement on Mars. Next to Earth, Mars is the most habitable planet in our solar system and it is vitally important in the advancement of the human race to expand our reach outside of our own terra firma.”

Chelsea Guglielmino
Senior Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“As an entertainment photo editor, this picture perfectly encapsulates 2016 to me. It makes me think about cyberculture, voyeurism, and the blurred lines of original artwork. Scott Marsh’s mural was based on a meme by Jen Lewis that was created from an image shot by Getty Images photographer Jason Merritt. Brendon Thorne’s image brings the ownership of the image back to a Getty Images photographer. Just when it seems to have come full circle, I think about the hands in the frame. The person taking the picture will probably upload it to Instagram – and it all begins again!”

Krystal Grow
Picture Desk Editor, New York

“As editors on the news desk, we have both the pleasure and burden of being among the first people to see photos from major breaking news events, both tragic and triumphant. This image was taken the day after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, as people across the country gathered to mourn the 49 killed and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in American history. After all the images of sadness, chaos, loss and despair that came through the desk in the hours following the shooting, David McNew’s image of defiance, love, strength, and unity was a particularly poignant and powerful reminder of photography’s ability to inform, enlighten, and communicate complicated ideas and emotions with grace and beauty.”

Sarah Morris
Senior Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“Images from fashion week are easily the most enjoyable to edit as the lighting, staging, makeup and styling all inspire photographers to get really creative in their shooting. This image from backstage at the Antonio Marras show during Milan Fashion Week is beautifully captured. The deep tones of the background and the model’s lips contrast beautifully with her pale skin. The subtle use of filters to create a soft focus effect on the edges of the frame seamlessly leads the viewer’s attention into the model’s piercing expression. The image is all the more remarkable when you consider it was shot in the notoriously hectic backstage environment at a fashion show instead of in a tightly controlled studio space. All these elements combined to create an almost painterly quality that makes the image really unique from other backstage photos.”

Matt Blyth
Senior Picture Desk Editor, Sydney

“I was lucky enough to edit this image after Cameron Spencer took it at this year’s Australian Open. My first reaction was ‘Oh wow, that’s mega!’ In all my years of editing tennis, I’ve never come across an image like this. It was shot close to full-frame, clean and most importantly the action is perfect. When have you ever seen a tennis player playing a shot when being perfectly horizontal!”

John Keeble
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“We see great images every day, images that make you go ‘wow!’ With this image, it made me stop due to the sadness of the situation. When I looked closer at the image, I noticed the way the two boys held onto the chocolate bars and sweets they had been given in an attempt to comfort them. I remember thinking back to when my son was a similar age and how I just wanted to protect him. I also remember comforting him with a chocolate bar, which he held onto just like the boys in the image. To me, this shows the power of an image; it made me stop, it made me feel sadness, it made me think about these boys’ lives and the situation they are in. It even made me think back and feel thankful.”

Larry Cutchall
Senior Picture Desk Editor, New York

“This image made me sit up and take notice the day it came in to the desk. I stared at the image by contributor Alexander Koerner for a long while. The fact that the distressed runner, who had been leading the field, ultimately finished second and was being helped across by his brother who finished third, cemented the image for me as containing the essential elements of a great photo – drama, newsworthiness and composition.”

Sean Conway
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“Picking one image from all the stunning imagery we see each day is a massive task.
Nothing comes close though to the journey that these migrants have taken in this picture from our image partner Anadolu. In one picture, it sums up how dangerous this journey can be for a ‘better life’.”

Elise Shively
Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“I love this shot of Bill Murray and the emotion that was captured. It’s the perfect example of ‘The Decisive Moment’.”

Simone Brown
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“I first saw Stuart C. Wilson’s image on the front page of ‘The Guardian’ when I was on my way to work. It actually made me stop and look because the image is so graphic and striking; it really draws you in. This image also highlights the ‘alternative view’ technique of approaching an assignment from a different angle.”

Juan Ramos
Picture Desk Editor, New York

“This image, shot by David McNew in Los Angeles, captures an uneasy moment between the police and anti-Trump protesters. Along with a copious series of images from that day, this image evoked that gossamer of despair that puts a strain on a decade of editorial objectivity. It was a moment on a historical precipice, when political, social and cultural discourse becomes angry clashes and your home will never be the same.”

Julia Liebscher
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“I was editing the set of photographer Lintao Zhang at the Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017, and out of the thousands of images I was looking at, this picture sprang to my eyes as it is beautifully captured. The black and white contrast along with the clean lines and the transparency of the veil make a great combination. The involvement of the audience gives an almost devotional impression of the whole moment.”

Rachael Jackson
Senior Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“I can’t imagine what growing up in the public eye would be like and I’ve never been to the Caribbean. I really like this image because it gives a sense of place and time. These folks are on vacation in a beautiful, tropical location but time has stopped for them as Prince Harry walks by. All eyes are on him while he goes about his business in his own world.”

Afton Almaraz
Senior Picture Desk Editor, New York

“It’s hard to forget the moment when Donald Trump walked on stage at the RNC with lots of pomp and circumstance to introduce his wife, Melania Trump. Staff photographer Alex Wong was in a perfect position to capture his unconventional entrance. It was unknown if Trump was going to make an early appearance, and if so, how? While editing on-site, I remember hearing in the media room Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ starting to play, and within seconds, Alex Wong’s capture of Trump’s epic WWE-style entrance came through to the team. It’s an instantly unforgettable photograph that captures more than Trump’s dramatic entrance amid a haze of backlit fog – it speaks volumes about his showmanship and grandiose personality.”

Rebekah Downes
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“The morning of June 24, 2016 was a surreal one, which left most of us Londoners in a daze. As the result of the EU referendum became clear, reactions from across the country chimed out across the media, from feelings of pure joy to dread. I worked on many pictures that busy morning, but none captured the shock result quite as well as Rob Stothard’s image of Remain voters reacting to the news. The unmistakable expressions of disbelief and disappointment is captured in a beautifully candid way, perfectly illustrating the feelings of 48.1% of the population. As soon as I saw this image I sprang into action, sharing it with the world on Twitter via @GettyImagesNews alongside Jack Taylor’s image of Leave EU campaigners celebrating, a powerful contrast.”

Brandon Choe
Picture Desk Editor, Los Angeles

“Heidi Klum’s doppelganger costume humorously commented on the narcissism of being a model. Especially relevant in today’s Instagram culture, Klum took self-obsession to the next level by duplicating herself with five models. Her expression is a red carpet standard but the others were eerily different. Though each one is a model, the uncanny valley between them and Klum was impossible to ignore. That off-kilter quality made this photo brilliantly interesting and unconventional. If Halloween was a day to confuse the spirits then she would easily have fooled them all.”

Maribel de la Torre
Senior Picture Desk Editor, New York

“There were many images this year that I held dear but this photo by Mario Tama from his first set of photos covering the Zika virus in Brazil really stood out to me. It was the first time I was getting a closer look at this epidemic. This quiet moment between a mother and son exemplifies to me the care Tama took in showing this devastating story to the world.”

Amy Zielinski
Senior Picture Desk Editor, London

“In March, Brussels’ Zaventem airport was rocked by a suicide bomb. It’s rare that a photographer gets to an attack site so quickly to document victims before authorities secure off the area. In this case though, Georgian journalist Ketevan Kardava was travelling when the attack took place and photographed the scene. The woman on the right, a flight attendant, could be any one of us passing through an airport or train station innocently going about our daily business. We can relate to her exhaustion, shock and confusion. She’s staring right at us and it’s hard to turn away from her and the dishevelment of her clothes as result of the suicide bomber. The woman on the left speaks on the phone, probably calling for help or reassuring loved ones until you notice her hand is soaked in blood. In this image you aren’t seeing a life and death moment of a victim barely hanging on or dead, instead you identify with both woman dealing with their situation. It’s a horrific image that reflects that moment of chaos of being a survivor of a terror plot.”

Explore more images from the moments that defined 2016 at Getty Images’ 2016 in Focus digital experience.