Photographs can do so many things. They make us smile, cry, see clearly, fool us, calm us down, enrage us, and stir us to action.

Stacker selected the best new photographs, turning to the International Photography Awards (IPA) that “salute the achievements of the world's finest photographers, discover new and emerging talent, and promote the appreciation of photography.” Stacker worked with the IPA to compile all the award-winning photographs that were selected as “Best in Show” in 2019.

Several of the best photographs tell compelling stories, like Moscow’s Evgeny Stetsko documenting his battle with lung cancer in a series of self-portraits, disabled boys living in a rundown Moldovan orphanage, and indigenous Bolivian women overcoming bigotry and climbing mountains.

Others capture the astonishing skills of athletes diving deep into the sea, flying off a roaring bull, or guiding a team of sled dogs through the darkness. Creating some images meant photographers putting themselves at risk, scrambling over cliffs at night, hanging precipitously from aircraft, or traveling into war-torn lands.

Many of the best photographs are shot from unique angles, presenting subjects in fresh ways to challenge our views. Some are close-ups, so intimate that the subject is reduced to just a detail or its essence. Others were taken from above, transforming landscapes and architecture to artistic patterns of geometry, shapes, or colors. Some play with techniques such as 19th-century tintypes or intricate collages.

The winning photographs tell the wrenching stories of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution, factory workers at risk in Bangladesh, Palestinian protesters raging at the border with Israel, and residents trying to survive in disputed Kashmir. The pictures portray people living with disabilities or struggling for survival with dignity, understanding, and kindness.

All of them teach us about our fellow human beings, the things we do, the creations we build, the ideas we conjure up, and the planet we inhabit together.

LOOK: Photos of the Year From the International Photography Awards

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