12/18/2013 11:24 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2014

2013 In Photos: The Year's Most Telling News Imagery

Reflecting our hyper-visual culture, the "Best Photo of the Year" list has fast become a media staple. If you indeed come across one, what you can generally count on are the most dramatic, sensational or touching scenes from the past year's current events. Because we at BagNews spend the year tracking news imagery as much for truth telling or impressive spin, our aim here was a little different. In a short list of five photos (many of those other year-end lists can range from dozens of pics to over a hundred), we went for pictures slightly under the radar. At the same time, each of these photos -- some straight from the newswire, some bobbing to the surface via social media -- represent a deeper kernel of disclosure, novelty or poignancy about the year's top stories.

Each image links to a post at BagNewsNotes where you can look deeper.

This story appears the special Year in Photos issue of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Dec. 27 in the iTunes App store.

  • The Further Invisible Adventures of Edward Snowden
    Max Seddon/AP.
    Snowden was arguably the newsmaker of the year. Part of what transfixed the visual press was the mystery of his whereabouts -- the spy as the quintessential invisible man. This Instagram of an empty seat from AP Correspondent, Max Seddon, aboard Snowden's supposed flight to Cuba, says it all. (Get the full visual report here.)
  • Dying for Brands
    Munir uz Zaman / AFP / Getty Images
    If traditional media focused primarily on portraits of survivors or tragic images of the pancaked building, more culpable images also surfaced from the factory collapse in Bangladesh. Our post features several shots of Western brands found in the rubble. The shirt above bears a Benetton label.
  • Obama Shooting a Gun
    Pete Souza/White House
    What was politically fortuitous for the President was the ability of the White House to produce this picture after claiming, during the post Newtown gun control debate, that he was no stranger to firearms. (Published in February, it was originally taken in August 2012.) Today however, the fact the photo caters so much to conservatives is a bitter pill to swallow after the administration's gun control efforts largely came up empty.
  • Senate Armed Services Hearing: Sexual Assault
    Win McNamee/Getty Images
    Yes, the Senate hearings on sexual assault were groundbreaking, spurred by the number of women senators now on the committee. The photos of the testimony, as we elaborate on here, were also profoundly moving. In the photo, Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of the Service Women's Action Network, testifies before the most anguished looking military brass. What makes this photo so ironic, however, is how incident after incident continues to be reported, even involving officers charged with addressing the problem.
  • Pope Francis on the Subway
    What surprised us about this striking photo of the newly named Pope Francis is how the picture hardly circulated. In our discussion of the picture, we concluded -- in this day and age -- it must truly demonstrate the man's modesty.