The most memorable images of 2010

From the shocking to the hilarious to the utterly heartbreaking, our favorite photos of the year

By Salon Art staff

Published January 1, 2011 2:01AM (EST)

To say 2010 was an eventful year would be quite the understatement. It was an election year, of course. Also a year of plane crashes, landmark legislation, meat dresses, flash mobs, Tea Party protests, faux scandals, Wikileaks and more devastating floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcano eruptions, factory explosions, mine collapses, oil spills and forest fires than we could even begin to count. The world cheered the Olympics, the World Cup and the return of Tiger Woods, and mourned the death of Paul the Octopus. Election disputes turned bloody. The Roma were driven out of France. Celebrities posed for their mug shots. And through it all, the situation in Haiti -- which began with an earthquake on January 12 -- went from bad to worse to indescribably tragic.

Many of these events yielded striking images. Others made for great stories but not such great photos. Every week (or nearly so), in putting together The Week in Pictures, we sorted through thousands of images -- riot police, baby animals, rising waters, red carpet appearances -- and narrowed them down to a group that attempted to tell the story of what it was like to be in the world that week. But here at the end of the year, we won't try to recap the news. What we've gathered instead are the 50 images that have stuck with us -- the most beautiful, shocking, wacky or haunting scenes we published throughout the year -- which still tell a story of the year that was.

For our cover art, above, we've chosen the image you all found by far the most compelling, judging by clicks -- the lovely Dita Von Teese.

These are our favorites. We hope you'll tell us about yours.

Salon Art staff

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