—The advent of the 35mm Leica compact camera, almost 90 years ago, gave photographers mobility — freeing them from the limitations of larger format cameras. In the hands of photographers such Robert Frank, the 35mm camera literally blurred the lines of what a great photograph could be. Robert Capa’s emotive, raw and Slightly Out of Focus images of war held a potency and conveyed an urgency.
For others, such as Alexi Brodovitch, it resulted in images that imbued a visual poetry through motion, with a propensity for painterly photographic expression.
In today’s ever accelerating culture—and proliferation of homogenized imagery—news photographers are increasingly utilizing slow shutter speeds, pushing the limits in low-light conditions and emulating the early days of the small format camera to find a more distinctive, creative, fitting and abstract aesthetic to document our world in constant motion.
From sporting events including last year’s Winter Olympics Games and the FIFA World Cup, where speed was inherent, came the somewhat expected abundance of blurred and motion images.
Elsewhere Stuart Palley’s beautiful painterly and poetic long exposure photographs of wildfires gave us a new and refreshing perspective on a much documented subject, while Bulent Kilic captured the raw emotion and desperation in the immediate aftermath of a Turkish mining disaster through blurred images. Kilic is just one among many other news photographers that chose to apply such abstract aesthetics to document the speed and energy of life moving before them.
Here TIME presents a selection of photographs—from the Ferguson protests and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, to fireworks streaking past the super Moon and lightning striking One World Trade Center—that capture our world in motion.
Phil Bicker is a Senior Photo Editor at TIME