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The past year was filled with exaltation and grief, delight and sadness, like all other years. Photojournalists work with these basic emotions and the common-denominator events of life in our cities and towns. They spend time with people going about their lives, going to school and work, governing, making art and music, playing games, watching others play games and making our streets safe. Finding the picture that tells the story is the job, and photographers come to work every day not knowing what they will face. The one sure thing they will do is study those everyday movements of our communities searching for ways to celebrate the unique and the ordinary.

Then, some days, the extraordinary happens.

For our region, 2014 began with the Seahawks’ giddy, roller-coaster run to the Super Bowl. But the year was also punctuated tragically by natural disasters and school shootings. In either circumstance — ordinary or extraordinary — the photojournalist looks through the camera lens with the same goals in mind: to capture the moment, searching for the story in the faces and details. To put the reader at the scene. To get beyond the shallow, the obvious, the superficial and find the deeper significance of what is happening. The goal is to reveal first truth, then beauty, wherever it can be found.

The personality of this place shines through in the spirit of those moments they capture.

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No one is ever really prepared to deal with unfathomable events. By searching for the storytelling photo in every situation, photojournalists help the rest of us bear witness.

The work of every Seattle Times staff photographer is represented here.

Please join us at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Seattle Public Library for a conversation about the Year in Pictures.

— The editors