In 2016 we saw many things through our photographers’ eyes. There were images that filled our social media feeds and saddened us: rhinos with bloody holes where their horns should be and innocent people wounded or killed in unspeakable acts of terror.

There were images that lifted us: that viral shot of Usain Bolt smiling at the Olympics, Julia Roberts barefoot on the red carpet in Cannes and that marvelous Oscars-moment hug between old friends Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Some images shocked us. Our in-depth coverage of two important votes, Brexit in the UK and the US presidential election, gave the world a front-row seat to history, providing a visual narrative to two events that will no doubt shape geopolitics for years to come.

And, thankfully, some images reminded us of our shared humanity. Award-winning Getty Images photojournalist Mario Tama brilliantly captured one of these moments in his photo of Mangueira favela residents gathered to watch the Rio 2016 Games Opening Ceremony from their rooftops. Of that image, he wrote:

“In Rio the striking gaps between rich and poor are often clearly visible, with ‘favela’ communities located alongside wealthier neighborhoods. We felt it was important to register life outside of the stadium at the moment the fireworks were lit, given the economic and political situation in the country. I was invited to photograph the fireworks from the rooftop of a Mangueira resident’s home. The view was spectacular, but the warmth and hospitality of the people from Mangueira was much more memorable. I was welcomed with open arms and I won’t forget how kind and welcoming the folks of the community were.”

The power of imagery to educate and inspire, provoke conversation and change cannot be overstated. Images communicate a thousand words – just as you’ve heard the idiom a thousand times before. Fast forward and my feeling is that visuals will have an even more important role to play in closing the gap of intolerance and fear.

Our dedication to providing unrivalled depth, breadth and quality of content — from up-to-the minute coverage of breaking news events to deeper, thought-leadership feature material produced by our award-winning photographers — means we will continue to be the number one source for our customers’ editorial imagery needs.

At Getty Images we take great pride in helping the world see itself. On the pages of our Year in Focus 2016 book, we hope you will look at our best imagery from 2016 and let these pictures move you – just as they have moved us.

Explore our 2016 Year in Focus book and discover more of the most powerful images from 2016 at our Year in Focus 2016 online hub