This is Tatiana Arroba, a folk dancer who performed after the March Against Monsanto in Quito, Ecuador, last May. The pure joy she expressed with every move was so infectious that she effortlessly earned the distinction as the creator of the Planet’s Best Smile in 2013.
That’s among 25 photos I selected as the year’s most memorable, those capturing moments that will forever remain indelibly imprinted in that part of my brain where poignant memories are stored. These are not necessarily my 25 favorite snaps from the past year, but they do represent moments that came to define 2013 for me. Like this one in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, a spot that really was on my List of Things to See Before I Die.
Each year presents new paths to follow. The one I chose in 2013 was forged well before the year began, and involved, among other things, a six-month overland jaunt from the southern tip of Argentina to the mountains of Costa Rica and a bout of hepatitis A. It included trading in the stability of a full-time job, one that I enjoyed, for the unpredictable but invigorating search and discovery of new opportunities and possibilities—one in which Piran Café will finally, after seven years on the internets, play a leading role.
I have some big plans for this website in 2014, some of which will be unveiled soon after the first of the year. But before moving forward are two more glances back, beginning today with these 25 images. If you’ve been a regular visitor here over the past year –and I can’t thank you enough!– you’ve probably seen some of these. I hope you enjoy them again.
First up, capturing a few everyday moments of everyday people.
Next: the best vista of the year? This one near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
Moving on with a few shots illustrating the immeasurable power of nature, first with a calving at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina and then with the aftermath of the Chaiten Volcano eruption in Chile.
Then there is man’s arrogant struggle with nature. Just 15 years ago the Balmaceda glacier in Southern Chile was at water level. Below that, a technically legal harvest of shark fins on a beach in Manta, Ecuador.
And then there were the birds. Lots of them. Traveling the past year reignited an old passion and fascination with winged creatures, even the flightless.
Next, the obligatory sunset. Three of them.
And finally, that fleeting moment when it’s you against the world. And you’re winning.