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A world of surprising splendor, captured by AP photographers

December 27, 2018
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A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 20, 2018, during a weekly protest on Gaza's border with Israel. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
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A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, April 20, 2018, during a weekly protest on Gaza's border with Israel. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Through the eyes of Associated Press photographers, the world of 2018 was always captivating, sometimes comical, often awe-inspiring — and above all, beautiful.

They saw beauty in the disarray of clothing left behind by 450 refugees and migrants, rescued from a boat off the Libyan coast; in the clouds of smoke from a California wildfire, captured from aloft; in the toil of a Mexican farmworker, surrounded by a carpet of cabbage.

They found splendor in some of the most unexpected places. At an Israeli bodybuilding exhibition, competitors flex and glisten; at a Brazilian fashion show, sex workers shimmy and strut.

There are oddities: goats in a tree in Morocco. Painted aboriginal performers in traditional dress passing through airport security in Papua New Guinea.

But some of the most striking images mingle beauty, tragedy and even horror. We glimpse a young man in a body bag, one of thousands of migrants gone missing in South Africa. A South Carolina man, hand to his face, is battered by the winds and storm clouds of Hurricane Florence.

And a Rohingya woman takes her infant son, the product of a rape by six Myanmar soldiers, from her 8-year-old daughter as the girl looks away — a family arrayed like the figures of a Renaissance painting, in Bangladesh, in the terror of the 21st century.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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M's daughter, right, hands over her baby brother to their mother in their shelter in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. M was raped by six soldiers from Myanmar's security forces after they strangled her 2-year-old son to death. The Hague-based International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she is launching a preliminary investigation to establish if there is enough evidence to merit a full investigation into deportations of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)