A protester wears grass around his face to obscure his identity during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi.
In this unranked gallery, TIME presents the top 100 photos of the yearA protester wears grass around his face to obscure his identity during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi. May 11, 2015.Goran Tomasevic—Reuters
A protester wears grass around his face to obscure his identity during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2015 IAAF World Championships athletics event at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing. Aug. 22, 2015
Soccer: Women's World Cup-Final-Japan at United States
U.S. player Serena Williams celebrates with the winner's trophy, the Venus Rosewater Dish, on the clubhouse balcony after her women's singles final victory over Spain's Garbine Muguruza on day twelve of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London. July 11, 2015
A beluga whale sprays water towards visitors during a summer attraction at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo. Tokyo's temperature climbed over 34 degree Celsius on July 20, one day after the end of the rainy season.
Cyclone Marcia hits Queensland
Ten-year-old Johanara surfs. The Bangladeshi surf girls are a group of eight outgoing and spunky girls ranging in ages 10 to 13 years old, who live and work in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Poverty is forcing them into an early adulthood, as they are obligated to shoulder the responsibility of earning money to help feed their families. Early each morning, rain or shine, they leave their homes and make their way to the beach, where they work selling jewelry and eggs until late into the night before returning home. Their families are unable survive without the girls' income.
A cloud of snow and debris triggered by an earthquake flies towards Everest Base Camp, moments ahead of flattening part of the camp in the Himalayas. Rescuers in Nepal are searching frantically for survivors of a huge quake that killed nearly 2,000, digging through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu and airlifting victims of an avalanche at Everest base camp. April 25, 2015
Survivors of an avalanche wait to receive relief goods distributed by an Army helicopter in the Paryan district of Panjshir province, Afghanistan. Feb. 28, 2015.
Ice floes are viewed along the Hudson River in Manhattan on a frigidly cold day. Feb. 20, 2015. Much of the East Coast and Western United States experienced unusually cold weather in the Winter 2015, with temperatures in the teens and the wind chill factor making it feel well below zero.
A view of a kindergarten that was shelled in Debaltseve, Donetsk area, Ukraine. Jan. 22 2015
Yulia Novomlynets, 18, waits in a line to receive the humanitarian aid in the local Palace of Culture which is used as a bomb shelter in Mironovka village, near Debaltseve, Ukraine. Feb. 17, 2015.
Mourners gather around a coffin bearing Artiam, 4, who was killed in a Ukrainian army artillery strike, during his funeral in Kuivisevsky district on the outskirts of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. Jan. 20, 2015
Ukrainian soldiers conduct operations along the road leading to the embattled town of Debaltseve on February 15, 2015 in Artemivsk, Ukraine. A ceasefire began at midnight between Pro-Russian Separatists and the Ukrainian forces brokered by the EU, Russia and Ukraine. Debaltseve has become the focal point with reportedly 8000 Ukrainian forces trapped in a bottleneck inside the city.
Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on January 30, 2015. Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier on January 26, in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq.
Syrian rescue workers and citizens evacuate people from a building following a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces on the central al-Fardous rebel-held neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. June 9, 2015
Nazreen Khatoon winces in pain as she lies gravely ill, suffering from severe postpartum anemia at the Tezpur Civil Hospital in Tezpur, Assam, India.
Gul Ahmad, an infant boy suffering from acute malnutrition, is covered by his mother's scarf while being treated in the therapeutic feeding centre ward at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) administered Boost Hospital in Lashkar Gah, the capial of Helamnd Province in southern Afghanistan. Malnutrition, according to MSF staff, is a chronic problem in Afghanistan. In most cases it is not malnutrition that sees children admitted to hospital but an illness that has been brought on by the child's inability to fight off infection because its body is so degraded of vital nutrients. In infants in Afghanistan, malnutrition is often the result of mothers feeding their baby's formula or even tea instead of breast milk. The reason for this is generally a lack of access to information and education for new mothers.
Eruption of Chilean Calbuco volcano
Employees from a disinfection service company sanitize the interior of a theater in Seoul, South Korea. June 18, 2015.
Syrian migrants scramble aboard a Greek coast guard vessel from the rubber motorboat they were using to cross from Turkey to the Greek islands. The coast guards have orders to rescue any migrant boats they find during night patrols of the Aegean Sea and bring them to Greece for processing and registration. Sept. 7, 2015
A cell inmate in the district of Soyapango, municipality in San Salvador, where police conducted a night raid in search of Mara Salvatrucha gang’s members. Alleged gang members are handcuffed, identified, and then put into the barltolina, an overcrowded temporary cell at police headquarters.
People rowing boats enjoy night view of cherry blossoms in full bloom on Chidorigafuchi moat in Tokyo, Japan. March 30, 2015
APTOPIX Germany G-7 Summit
Tulips blooming in fields between Amsterdam and Leiden, The Netherlands.
Migrants cross into Hungary as they walk over railroad tracks at the Serbian border with Hungary. Horgas, Serbia. Sept. 7, 2015. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called “Balkans route” has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The number of people leaving their homes in war torn countries such as Syria, marks the largest migration of people since World War II.
Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke
A group of migrants wait at a makeshift detention camp for Hungarian authorities in Roszke, Hungary, to register their arrival in the European Union. Aug. 29, 2015
A migrant holds his child during a clash with Hungarian riot police at the Horgos border crossing in Serbia. Hungary's decision to seal its border rippled across Europe and other migrants scrambled to find alternative routes, in an effort, in most cases, to reach Germany. Sept. 16, 2015
Macedonian police clash with refugees at blocked border
Gendarmerie attempt to prevent people from entering the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles in Calais, France. Hundreds of migrants were trying to enter the Channel Tunnel and onto trains heading to the United Kingdom. July 30, 2015
A body discovered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine while on patrol near the Texas-Mexico border floats in the Rio Grande, in Rio Grande City, Texas.
Residents wait for rescue helicopters at a flooded residential area as the Kinugawa river burst their banks, caused by typhoon Etau, in Joso, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan. Sept. 10, 2015.
A young Israeli settler snorkels as sheep belonging to a Palestinian shepherd drink water from a spring located in the Jordan Valley near the Palestinian village of Uja, near the West Bank town of Jericho. April 8, 2015.
Shejaiya, the destroyed neighborhood abutting the border fence with Israel, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Aug. 1, 2015
Mourners gather during the funeral service for seven children from the Sassoon family before their burial in Jerusalem. March 23, 2015.
Palestinian school girls walk in line past the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrambled to contain inflammatory rhetoric from his government over the holy site, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, at the heart of a wave of deadly Palestinian unrest. Oct. 27, 2015
APTOPIX Mideast Saudi Arabia Hajj
Afghan policemen display their skills at a police training centrr in Nangarhar
Border Patrol Agents apprehend migrants hiding in sand dunes in Riviera, Texas. These migrants were avoiding the interior checkpoint located in Sarita, Texas, on Rt. 77 North to San Antonio. Interior checkpoints are located on northbound highways 60 miles north of the Rio Grande River in Texas. This is the nation's busiest corridor for human smuggling and migrants must circumvent authorities by traversing private ranches on foot. This final portion of the journey yields the majority of migrant deaths in Texas. Border Patrol agents expertly track footprints and pathways through miles of ranch land to apprehend migrants. Most apprehensions happen at night, with the aid of infrared technology. Feb. 2015
Properties surrounded by desert in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The state's history as a frontier of prosperity and glamour faces an uncertain future as the fourth year of severe water shortages has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to mandate a 25 percent reduction in non-agricultural water use. April 3, 2015
The arrival of Pope Francis at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Sept. 22, 2015
Pope Francis arrives for a special audience with members of the dioceses of Cassano allo Ionio, from southern Italy, at the Vatican. Feb. 21, 2015
A view from a plane during the so-called "Eclipse Flight" from the Russian city of Murmansk to observe the solar eclipse above the neutral waters of the Norwegian Sea. March 20, 2015.
Pluto as seen in an image taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface.
A large plume of smoke rises from the Rocky Fire near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that burned over 22,000 acres since it started earlier that week. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. Aug. 1, 2015
A Syrian government soldier fires a heavy machine gun at ISIS positions on the other side of a street in Deir-ez Zor. May 18, 2015
An unidentified dead man hangs from his waist under an overpass in the southern part of Mexico City, Mexico. The man was found wrapped in white bandages and a cap was covering his head. This is the first time a body appears on a bridge or overpass in Mexico City, a common practice among criminal gangs fighting for control of turf in other regions of Mexico. Mexico City authorities repeatedly stated that the capital is safe from the wave of violence that continues to affect many parts of the country. Oct. 19, 2015
A man carries two children as panic broke out among mourners who payed their respect at the terroristic attacks sites at restaurant Le Petit Cambodge and the Carillon Hotel in Paris. Nov. 15, 2015.
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, France. Nov. 13, 2015. At least 129 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions. French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced that he was closing the country's borders.
People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. Jan. 7, 2015
People gather outside of Notre Dame cathedral ahead of a ceremony in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 15, 2015
A man and two boys stand on a hillside, waiting for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders to address supporters during a campaign rally at Prince William Fairground in Manassas, Va. Sept. 14, 2015
The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. NASA Astronaut Wilmore, Russian Cosmonauts Samokutyaev and Serova are returning after almost six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 41 and 42 crews. March 12, 2015
Members of the rebel group the Sudan Liberation Army led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) climb towards the front lines in Jebel Marra, Central Darfur, Sudan. The mountainous area has been a stronghold of the SLA-AW since the conflict between the neglected population and the Sudanese government broke out in 2003. March 4, 2015
Syrian refugee girl, Zubaida Faisal, 10, skips a rope while she and other children play near their tents at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. July 19, 2015
North Korean children perform at the Pyongyang Kyongsang Kindergarten.
President Barack Obama, Amelia Boynton, right, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and the first family lead a march toward the Edmund Pettus bridge, 50 years to the day after Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala. In an address, Obama rejected the notion that race relations have not improved in the years since—as well as the notion that racism has been defeated. March 7, 2015
The mother of two men killed in a double homicide in eastern New Orleans reacts after confirmation of their identities came from police. New Orleans, La. May 25, 2015.
Officers Paul Watson, right, and his partner Officer Richard O'Brien make a traffic stop in Philadelphia, PA., as neighbors look on. After the police searched his car, the man was released. July 29, 2015.
Visitors pay their respects during an open viewing for Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the South Carolina State House. Columbia, S.C. June 24, 2015 in Pinckney was one of nine people killed during a Bible study inside Emanuel AME church in Charleston.
Dylann Roof appears via a jailhouse videolink at the Centralized Bond Hearing Court in North Charleston, S.C. June 19, 2015. Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and firearms charges in the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C.
Holly Holm of the U.S. (pictured right) lands a kick to the neck to knock out compatriot Ronda Rousey and wins the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title fight in Melbourne, Australia. Nov. 15, 2015.
Riot Police remove housing rights activists as they try to stop Luisa Gracia Gonzalez and her family's eviction and the demolition of their house by a forced expropriation in Madrid. Feb. 2015.
Chinese actors playing Japanese soldiers are blown off a wall in an explosion during the filming of the series "The Last Noble," set during the second Sino-Japanese War on in Fangyan, China. Seventy years after the end of World War II, there is still widespread resentment across China toward Japan and its wartime misdeeds. It is estimated that hundreds of films depicting China's victory over Japan in 1945 are produced on the mainland every year and the genre remains one of the country's most popular entertainment draws. Aug. 13, 2015
Supporters of the presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressive Congress hits another supporter with a motorbike during celebrations in Kano. Nigeria's opposition APC declared an election victory for former military ruler Buhari and said Africa's most populous nation was witnessing history with its first democratic transfer of power. March 31, 2015
Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, pleads with soldiers to protect him from a mob of demonstrators after he emerged from hiding in a sewer in the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, Burundi. Niyonzima escaped the lynching by running into the sewer. May 7, 2015
Liberia Turns Towards Normalcy As Fight Continues To Eradicate Ebola
People stand near a burning pile of 15 tons of elephant ivory seized in Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to a giant pile of elephant ivory, vowing to destroy the country's entire stockpile of illegal tusks by the year's end. The 15 tonnes destroyed was worth some $30 million (over 26 million euros) on the black market and represented up to 1,500 slaughtered elephants. It dwarfs the ivory burned by previous Kenyan leaders. March 3, 2015
Floods kill at least 8 in Georgia's capital, zoo animals escape
Oma Salema, 12, holds her undernourished brother Ayub Khan, 1, at a camp for Rohingya in Sittwe, Myanmar. The government of Myanmar says it is determined to stop the departures of migrants fleeing religious persecution in places like Sittwe, but it will not budge in its refusal to address the conditions driving the exodus across the sea. June 5, 2015
Rohingya migrants pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter to others aboard a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea. A boat crammed with scores of Rohingya migrants—including many young children—was found drifting in Thai waters, with passengers saying several people had died over the last few days. May 14, 2015
Bishnu Gurung sobs after her 3-year-old daughter, Rejina Gurung, was found buried in the rubble in the village of Gumda in Gorkha district, near the epicenter of last month's Nepal earthquake. May 8, 2015
Tran Thien Nhan, with severely malformed head and diminutive body, is an Agent Orange victim in Danang, Vietnam. His mother, Ngo Thi Tinh, and grandmother, The Thi Dao, care for him.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton waits to be introduced before speaking about rural issues at the Des Moines Area Community College, in Ankeny, Iowa. Aug. 26, 2015.
U.S. Secret Service Agents stand guard as Marine One, with U.S. President Barack Obama on board, prepares to land at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in New York City. President Obama is traveling to attend Democratic fundraisers. Nov. 2, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama extends his hand to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, N.Y. Sept. 28, 2015
House Vote for Speaker Position at US Capitol
A Jeb Bush supporter is seen at the “Growth and Opportunity Party” In Des Moines, Iowa. Nov. 7, 2015.
American businessman Donald Trump at the #FITN Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H. April 17-18, 2015
Naomi Scott, center, of McMinnville, Ore., takes a picture with Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. Aug. 9, 2015.
Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz smokes a cigar after speaking at an event called "Smoke a cigar with Ted Cruz" at a house party at the home of Linda and Steven Goddu in Salem, New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential candidate, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a crowd at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H. At the rally, New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen endorsed Clinton.
Sepp Blatter FIFA
Refugees rescue in Mediterranean sea
Europe Migrants Photo Gallery
Handout photo of the figure of a boy inside a suitcase is seen on a scanner at the border between Spain's north african enclave Ceuta and Morocco
A Colombian police officer carries a pack of marijuana seized in Cali
Nuclear Iran Talks in Montreux
Visitors look out over city streets from the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, in New York. May 29, 2015.
In this aerial photo, people prepare to launch a canoe from a flooded parking lot near Bear Creek Park in Houston, Texas. The Colorado River in Wharton and the Brazos and San Jacinto rivers near Houston are the main focus of concern as floodwaters moved from North and Central Texas downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico. May 30, 2015
A migrant walks towards shore in Lesbos, Greee after swimming from the inflatable boat he had taken in the crossing from Turkey, September 27, 2015. James Nachtwey for TIME
Refugees mainly from Syria, but also Afghanistan, Iraq and parts of Africa making their way across Europe. Walking from Serbia across border to Croatia, where they gathered at Tovarnik to board trains and buses to be transported to either Hungary or Slovenia, then to be taken to border with Austria and onward. by James Nachtwey
A man walks with his son behind him as they make their way to the train station in Tovarnik, Croatia, on the border with Serbia. In the Balkans, many migrants traveled by foot, echoing more ancient journeys. Sept. 17, 2015
Security forces and rescue teams examine the wreckage of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane after it crashed into a residential area in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia
An aerial picture of the site of explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin
Young Buddhist monks gaze out of a helicopter as they are evacuated by the Indian army from a monastery in the Himalayas. May 2, 2015
In this unranked gallery, TIME presents the top 100 photos of the yearA protester wears grass around his face to obscure

Goran Tomasevic—Reuters
1 of 101

TIME Picks the Top 100 Photos of 2015

Dec 07, 2015

2015 has been a year dominated by the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe, as thousands of people from Iraqi, Syria and Afghanistan, among many other nations, fled their homes. They left behind war, poverty and persecution in hope of better lives on European shores. The heart-wrenching images that emanated from Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Hungary, Croatia and France were not the only ones to convey people’s desperation in face of adversity. In Southeast Asia, Rohingya migrants were forced to drift in Thai waters in search for a nation willing to rescue them.

In the U.S., the year was marked by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Iran Nuclear deal, the tragic shooting at the Emanuel church in Charleston, S.C., and the early start to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Terror also came to the streets of Paris in January, when members of the Charlie Hebdo staff were brutally assassinated, and in November when eight terrorists killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks.

But the year also had its moments of wonder, and those were captured by photographers too—like a stunning photo of the International Space Station crew coming back to Earth and the first clear photograph of Pluto, a planet that had remained a blur, literally and scientifically, for 85 years.

In this slideshow, TIME’s photo editors present an unranked selection of the best 100 images of the year.

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