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Good eyes and good hands.

These are two key requirements for a good photographer. Good eyes to see the potential for a photo. Good hands to respond to the moment and capture it.

It is perhaps not surprising that eyes and hands are also central players in many great news photographs. Eyes and hands, gestures and expressions are often the elements that make a photograph come alive, that make it real, that make it photojournalism.

Photojournalism is a big word. Yet it occupies an ever smaller part of the photographic universe. Photojournalism is not art, though at times it rises to that status. But always, it aspires to do something rare in modern image-making: tell a truth.

In a wider photographic landscape awash in contrived, staged and manipulated images that mostly want to sell something, we ask our photographers to reveal the reality of life in our community, whether it’s mundane or monumental.

That is both a simple order and a tall one. It could certainly be argued that, like the perfect “10” in the Olympics, real truth is only something to aspire to and not likely to be achieved. Nonetheless, we aspire.

When done well, these photographs take us places most of us can’t go. No mere decorations, they are capable of being the most visceral, moving kind of content — adding life, depth and understanding to our daily report.

This year, we asked our staffers to include in their captions a little bit about their thought processes as they work.

This is the 33rd publication of The Seattle Times’ staff Pictures Of The Year edition. Many more images can be seen online at

— Fred Nelson, Seattle Times photo editor

Kathy Andrisevic, Times magazine portfolio editor