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TIME’s Best Portraits of 2022

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When we look back on where we’ve been in any given year, we may think about how much our kids have grown, what we’ve accomplished at work or at home, how much money we’ve saved (or not). But we should also remember that our lives are part of a greater whole, a larger story of how our hopes and disappointments mesh with those of others. And that story is best told in faces, as captured in these TIME portraits from 2022.

When we see Paola Kudacki’s elegant, expressive portrait of Serena Williams, we’re reminded of everything this extraordinarily gifted athlete has given us—but we also see the face of a woman who, like many of us, has had to make difficult decisions about balancing her career with raising a family. Yet as one career rounds toward a new phase, another is just winding up: the young Japanese-born phenomenon Shohei Ohtani, an All-Star as both pitcher and hitter, is infusing American baseball with new energy. Ian Allen’s portrait captures both the determination and the sense of joy this record-breaking star brings to the game.

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Portraits of the Year 2022
From left, top row: Lorna Simpson for TIME, Forough Alaei for TIME, Alexander Chekmenev for TIME; Middle row: Kristina Varaksina for TIME, Paola Kudacki for TIME, Sabiha Çimen—Magnum Photos for TIME; Bottom row: Kanya Iwana for TIME, Camila Falquez for TIME, Tania Franco Klein for TIME

These portraits also show us people who are working hard to change our world. Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo movement in 2006, and her dedication to fighting for survivors of sexual assault has only intensified in the years since. Lelanie Foster’s rendering of this remarkable activist captures her galvanizing spirit. In other portraits, we see ordinary citizens facing challenges that many would rather look away from. A young family, parents and two children, make a new life for themselves in Portland, Ore., after leaving their Austin home due to Texas’ increasing hostility to trans youth. Ricardo Nagaoka’s portrait shows this small, tight group huddled together, closing ranks against the forces that threaten to crack them apart—yet the mother of this family faces the camera defiantly, revealing her willingness to do whatever it takes to make life better not just for her children, but for all of ours as well.

You’ll find portraits of entertainers who have been part of our lives for years, like Steven Spielberg. He may be a filmmaking genius, but photographer Tania Franco Klein also captures something of his boyish mischievousness. And Michelle Yeoh, long a superstar in Hong Kong movies, has received long overdue praise in the U.S. for her performance the indie hit Everything Everywhere All at Once. Michelle Watt’s portrait shows this dynamic performer in action, capturing her boundless energy and radiance.

These portraits remind us, too, of the kind of bravery humans need to summon when the stakes are high. Just two months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in February, photographer Alexander Chekmenev captured a remarkable image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Kiev. In this defiant yet refined black-and-white portrait, Zelensky faces the camera directly, solemnly, as if making a promise both to his people and to the world at large. It’s a picture whose power reaches us in a flash, dissolving whatever international borders or oceans might separate us. A great portrait breaks boundaries that way, reminding us of the extraordinary qualities of that thing we so commonly think of as everyday life.—Stephanie Zacharek

Portraits of the Year 2022
Myesha Evon Gardner for TIMEAmanda Drummond and her children.Jennie Joseph Wants to Fix the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis One Midwife at a Time,” March 14 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Bryan Huynh for TIMEMarkella Kavenagh and Ismael Cruz Córdova.The Secretive, Extravagant, Bighearted World of The Rings of Power, the Most Expensive Show Ever Made,” September 12 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Peter Fisher for TIMEDirector and writer, John Waters, in his Baltimore home.America’s Filth Elder John Waters Isn’t Slowing Down,” February 28 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Michelle Watt for TIMEMichelle Yeoh.Icon of the Year: Michelle Yeoh,” December 26 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Alexis Gross for TIMENadya Tolokonnikova.How Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Is Using Crypto to Fight for Equality,” March 3.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Alexander Chekmenev for TIMEUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky photographed in Kyiv on April 19.Inside Zelensky’s World,” May 9 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Kelia Anne for TIMESydney Sweeney.Time 100 Next: Phenom,” October 10 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Ricardo Nagaoka for TIMEKaren and Chris with their kids at their new home in Portland, Ore. after leaving their home in Austin, Texas because of anti-trans state action.As Texas Targets Trans Youth, a Family Leaves in Search of a Better Future,” July 14.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Catherine Hyland for TIMEArtist Surl Lee, photographed alongside his artwork.A Vibrant North Korean Community in London Finds Its Days Are Numbered,” September 28.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Tony Luong for TIMEEconomist Emily Oster in her backyard in Providence, R.I.Emily Oster Still Thinks Data Can Help Ease (Some) Parental Anxiety,” August 8 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Andre D. Wagner for TIMEFilmmakers Coodie & Chike.The Inside Story Behind the Kanye Docuseries Two Decades in the Making,” February 14 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Jesse Rieser for TIMEKari Lake.How Kari Lake Went From Local Anchor to New Face of the MAGA Right,” November 7 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Annie Flanagan for TIMEMaya and Evan.The Pain and Pride of a Generation Changing How America Sees Gender,” June 20 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Prarthna Singh for TIMEKaruna Nundy, photographed outside the Supreme Court of India, on March.Marital Rape Isn’t a Crime in India. This Lawyer Is Fighting to Change That,” March 28.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Petra Collins for TIMEBlackpink.Entertainer of the Year: Blackpink,” December 26 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Lelanie Foster for TIMETarana Burke.Tarana Burke: What ‘Me Too’ Made Possible,” October 24 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Benjamin Rasmussen for TIMEVitalik Buterin, seen through a monitor at ETHDenver.The Man Behind Ethereum Is Worried About Crypto’s Future,” March 28 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Hong Jang Hyun for TIMEMr. Bang Si-Hyuk, chairperson of HYBE, with BTS.HYBE and Bang Si-hyuk Are Transforming the Music Business—With a Little Help From BTS,” April 11 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Paola Kudacki for TIMESerena Williams.What Serena Williams Gave the World,” September 12 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Julie Renée Jones for TIME13-year-old Ayden Varno, with family near his home in Ohio, on Oct. 16.For Kids with Long COVID, Good Treatment Is Hard to Find,” October 24.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Camila Falquez for TIMEZendaya.Time 100 Most Influential People: Zendaya,” June 6 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Marcus Maddox for TIMETaylor and Tophs Harris.What It Takes to Get Support for a Black Boy With Special Needs,” January 11.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Jarod Lew for TIMEDr. Werner Spitz, photographed in St. Clair Shores, Mich., on March 29.Meet the 95-Year-Old ‘Medical Detective’ Who Has Examined Famous Cases From JFK to JonBenet Ramsey,” April 13.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Luisa Dörr for TIMEBiology teacher Najiba Ebrahimi and her daughter, Azada, in São Paulo, Brazil, on July 10.Far From Home: One year after the fall of Kabul, Afghan women are attempting to build new lives abroad,” August 22 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Campbell Addy for TIMESoccer player Bukayo Saka in London.How Bukayo Saka Became the Inspiring New Face of British Soccer,” October 24 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Tania Franco Klein for TIMEDirector Steven Spielberg photographed in Los Angeles on Nov 7.Steven Spielberg Waited 60 Years to Tell This Story,” December 5 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Justin J Wee for TIMEOrion Jean.Orion Jean Is TIME’s 2021 Kid of the Year,” February 28 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Mary GelmanPalad’d’a, a St. Petersburg artist, feminist, and member of the Udmurt people.Portraits of Russians Risking Everything to Support Ukraine,” May 9 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Ian Allen for TIMEShohei Ohtani, the unanimous 2021 AL MVP, photographed on Jan. 23.Shohei Ohtani Is What Baseball Needs,” April 25 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Bryan Schutmaat for TIMEA wild horse in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.Someone Is Killing Wild Horses in Arizona. One Woman Is Determined to Find Out Who,” April 11 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Eric Ryan Anderson for TIMEMickey Guyton in Nashville on Nov 9.Mickey Guyton Is TIME’s 2022 Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” December 26 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Robbie Lawrence for TIMEMourning and memorializing Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London, England.Scenes From Around the World in the Aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s Death,” September 9.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Tony Luong for TIMEWampanoag Chef Sherry Pocknett in her restaurant, Sly Fox Den Too, in Charlestown, R.I.Her Tribe Fed the Pilgrims. Here’s What She Wants You to Know About Indigenous Food,” November 21 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Martin Schoeller for TIMEAaron Judge.Athlete of the Year: Aaron Judge,” December 26 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Glauco Canalis for TIMETikTok star Khaby Lame and his Shiba Inu, Thor.TikTok’s Silent Star Has a Lot to Say,” October 24 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
AB+DM for TIMEKeke Palmer.Time 100 Next: Innovator,” October 10 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Evelyn Freja for TIMEPlaywright Tom Stoppard photographed at Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie on Sept. 15.Tom Stoppard Assesses the Cost of His Charmed Life,” October 24 issue.
Portraits of the Year 2022
Jovelle Tamayo for TIMEDr. Sequeira, who provides gender-affirming care to young people, on Jan. 28.Pediatricians Who Serve Trans Youth Face Increasing Harassment. Lifesaving Care Could Be on the Line,” March 14 issue.

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