The internet being the internet, millions of photos appear in your feed every day. And while it takes something really special to make you stop scrolling and stare, it takes something even more for it to stick in your head for the remainder of the year. These 8 photos from 2016 pass the test. Like all good pictures, they capture emotions and expose you to a place or experience you might otherwise not be familiar with. They also make you stare at them, wanting to know more. Plus, they contain images of an astronaut in a library and a baby eating a lemon for the first time. What’s not to love?
“Best Friend: Rumford, Rhode Island,” by Jesse Burke
Kids are not easy to travel with. That’s why if you look in the backseat of any family truckster, you’ll find them doped up on Frozen. American photographer Jesse Burke took a different tact with his daughter Clover. What started as a way to instill an appreciation of nature in his 5-year-old — and get excellent shots of some beautiful country — became both. Burke has visited everywhere from the shores of his home state of Rhode Island to the Canadian wilderness with her over the span of 5 years. Above, she poses with a guinea pig.
“Elevator,” by Ali Smith
Acclaimed photographer Ali Smith has a series of fantastic portraits about modern motherhood called Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives. Gloria Steinham loves it. Your wife will love it. You may even love it. While Smith was taking photos of all these moms, she was also getting some deeply intimate shots of her own family, namely her husband and son. Here, she catches an embrace in an elevator.
— While Shooting A Book About Moms, This Photographer Captured Amazing Images Of Her Husband And Son
“Untitled” by Nafise Motlaq
There are plenty of places in the world about which Americans have misconceptions, but there’s probably no place they misunderstand more than Iran. That’s why Malaysia-based photographer Nafise Motlaq’s work is something of a revelation. Motlaq was invited into the homes of everyday Iranians, where she shot portraits of fathers — everyday farmers, architects, engineers, and caterers — with their daughters. “He wants me to be a great architect,” says the daughter in this photo about her architect father. “He cares about my studies so much”
“Rhys” by Donna Stevens
It might look like these preschoolers are hungry for brains, but they’re doing something much more benign — it’s called watching TV, and it’s something your family is probably familiar with. Brooklyn-based photographer Donna Stevens created this series, titled “Idiot Box,” as an artistic study in how mind-numbing screen time looks to the observer. Here, a stupified toddler named Rhys stares at the aptly named idiot box.
— These Photos Of Preschoolers Stupefied By Television Will Make You Throw Your TV Out A Window
“Anonymous, Rome, Italy” by James Mollison
When he was asked to shoot a project about children’s rights, Photographer James Mollison immediately thought of that one place where kids feel some ownership: Their bedroom. His photo essay collection, “Where Children Sleep“, documents his time with kids from Thailand to Kentucky. They come from every social situation — and provide your kid with something to think about the next time your kid complains about their own room. This photo shows a boy who sleeps with his family on a mattress in a field outside Rome.
— Show Your Kid These Pictures The Next Time They Complain About Their Room
“The Bruno-Peixoto Family/ Nice, France” by Michele Crowe
Photographer Michele Crowe has done her share of celebrity glamor shots and National Geographic — worthy travel-scapes, but for her series, “The Universal Family,” she set out to capture something even more elusive — what family looks like these days. Crowe says she didn’t set out with an agenda to just shoot racially, socio-economically, or gender diverse families — that’s just the reality of family life in the 21st century. Here, a couple in Nice, France poses excitedly in their living room.
— These Portraits Prove There’s No Such Thing As A ‘Normal’ Family
“Adventure Awaits” by Aaron Sheldon
If you’ve seen The Right Stuff, Gravity, or, God help you, Armageddon, you know that astronauts (but mostly Bruce Willis) are some of the bravest people on Earth. Photographer Aaron Sheldon’s son originally got the idea to dress up like one of these tough rocketeers when he was afraid during a check-up. But Sheldon took his son’s statement and ran with it. Here, his little astronaut sets off in search of adventure at the local library.
— This Stellar Dad Photographs His Astronaut Kid Boldly Going Where No Kid Wants To Go
“David Wile” by April Maciborka
Photographers David Wile and April Maciborka had a brilliant idea one day — why not feed some babies sour fruit and take pictures of them? Their photo series “Pucker,” is what happens when life gave these kids lemons. (Hint: It didn’t become lemonade … just kind of a mix of drool and confusion.)
—18 Pictures Of Babies Eating Lemons For The First Time. That Is All.