Culture comes to life through the evolution of ideas and images: Our artists and photographers then document these creators and their work — thereby creating photos that share with us intimate moments that we won’t get to see. Over the past year, photo editors at The New York Times have ordered thousands of photos of movie stars, choreographers, opera singers, musicians and artists who have made memorable contributions. for the cultural world.
In a frame of Chantal Anderson, actor Caleb Landry Jones takes a sip of coffee on his kitchen counter, last night’s dishes piled up in the sink, as sunlight streams in from the window above. On the other hand, Rosie Marks gives us an in-depth look at what Charo is still Charo: working out at home, doing full hair and makeup, in a frozen-in-time gym. In this picture of Awol Erizku by Michael Tyrone Delaney, the artist stands in front of his work, his gaze fixed on the toddler. It is an image that speaks to both his personal relationship with his child and his artistic relationship with her.
Together, these photographs capture the narrative of a year in the arts, building a growing collection of scenes and inner worlds. We asked several photographers to discuss the intentions behind these frames and the stories they see in them. Now that the year is coming to an end, let’s take a look once again at how we’ve seen the culture this year. — JOLIE RUBEN, premium photo editor
I like to think of this portrait of Anthony Roth Costanzo in the spirit of early plays, a kind of dollar-denominational world-building version in which rudimentary means of expression invite smoke and mirrors. become an active part of the world rather than obscuring it. I created a background that is a flower field that always bends in the wind. The string that hangs the flowers is both practical and meaningful to dispel any illusions that the wind is real; show my card, as it is.— Erik Tanner
The way Kat Edmonson puts her arm around Kenneth Ard’s arm, the way his body rests on his back on this stool, the texture of the stool, the color of their outfit, the overhead light and the fog from the generator smoke. As a weirdo, it’s like a metaphor for what it feels like to step out of the closet: It’s like an exhalation, a wonderful moment when everything makes sense, feels connected, and lush, but only if you allow yourself to experience it in that sugar. — Justin J Wee
I brought flowers to support Beanie. Yellow Rose, featured in the movie “Funny Girl,” starring Barbra Streisand. I wanted to evoke the idea of a torch being passed. – Okay McCausland
As a former dancer and D’Angelo fan, I was inspired by these two worlds of dance and R&B. I just asked Kyle if he could improvise a bit for me. Soon, I was in the middle of an intimate private performance in the BAM lobby. — Lelanie Foster
I wanted to document Charo’s mild commotion at home in her compound. There’s a lot going on in the frame: the carpet of artificial grass, rusty dumbbells, an old TV, a missing piece of mirror – and then there’s her in the middle, wearing the same bright yellow outfit like in an ’80s workout video, with hair and makeup that could be pulled straight from one of her sold-out Vegas shows. She insisted on us staying after the shoot and served multiple plates of meat and cheese. — Mark Rosie
I watched “Dune” three times before doing this shot, each time making notes on my yellow pad. The sound engineers have done an incredible job of immersing the audience in this alien world, I want the visuals to at least try to do the same, like we’re narrating from the surface. Arrakis’s face. — Peter Fisher
Instead of trying to separate different elements in the frame, sometimes I want different parts of my photo to connect and flow together to create shapes and lines. The neck of the bass guitar meets the circle of the bass drum and the legs of Melanie Charles connect with the bass, forming a diagonal line with Jonathan Michel’s fingers. Melanie’s living room is filled with music, musical instruments. You get the feeling that there’s not much that separates her life from her music. — Sinna Nasseri
Entering Awol Erizku’s studio was like stepping into his mind. It was a large warehouse, filled with striking images and sculptures in progress. He asked to take a picture with his daughter, Iris. A lot of his work is done with his daughter in mind. For me, this image embodies the theme of building Black heritage and cultivating the Negro’s imagination. —Michael Tyrone Delaney
I had about 10 minutes with Nicolas Cage in a hotel in Manhattan. The story follows his latest film, which has meta quality: Nic plays himself at different stages in his life. I think a mirror would represent that well. One side of his face is the foreground, and there is also the smaller foreground of his hand. The background in the middle shows his circular reflection while the background is another reflection of Nic. And there is a foundation beyond that. The depth of this frame is a big part of its strength. — Sinna Nasseri
When I met her, Ethel Cain was living in a little house in a small town somewhere in Alabama. It’s a complete transformation of the time without any obvious modern signs – videotape, table setting, wood paneling, down comforters. In this photo, we’re in Ethel’s bedroom, where she sleeps and records, the microphone just a few feet from the bed. We are talking about her childhood in the church. She was lying, and I was kneeling beside her with the camera, a pious sight. —Irina Rozovsky
One of my favorite ways to take pictures is to get out into the streets and explore the world; I like playing side by side and casual encounters. Even the streets know that Michael Che is the GREAT GENIE-US! — Andre D. Wagner
Every morning in Los Angeles, there’s usually a layer of fog (“sea layer”) that blocks out sunlight. We were incredibly lucky on this shooting morning — no fog, just direct, beautiful California sunshine. The light is also low enough in the sky to cast a beautiful shadow over Janie Taylor’s half body. I asked her to dance in a way that reflected her work, and she showed a lot of expression and movement in this light. — Thea Traff
For this story, I attached myself to New York City birders who are obsessed with tracking birds, while the rest of us are only concerned with our lives. . I wanted to show that difference in a photo, so I split the frame by holding the binoculars on the top half of the lens, I focused on a red-tailed hawk, while the bottom half showed a person. Men are walking on the ground without even knowing it. of the magnificent creature above him and the admiration surrounding the city’s birds. — Sinna Nasseri
When I was a kid growing up in Baltimore, I was fortunate to have a group of gay friends. We call ourselves “The Pridelights.” The three people in this image, Terry, Michael, and Von, were one of the core members of the group and, in many ways, the core of my childhood. This composition resembles the cover of the iconic “Destiny Fulfilled” album, an album that was very important to us when it was released. We were constantly fighting over who on our team was Beyoncé (Von and I), Kelly (Michael) and Michelle (Terry). There are hardly any pictures of us together when we were kids. Looking at this picture now, it feels adjusted. — Gioncarlo Valentine’s Day
It is nearly impossible to distill the experience of Heizer’s masterpiece “City” in one frame. From dusk to dawn, I have the rare opportunity to wander through the vastness of space, letting the light guide me. Standing in the bone-chilling cold, I made several long exposures of about 10 seconds. Seeing the “City” in the moonlight makes me think of how humans have built mysterious structures on this planet for thousands of years, many of which are related to the sky above. — Todd Heisler
What I love about Abbi Jacobson is how relatable the characters she plays – you really feel like you know her and are her friend while watching her. When I knew we were going to be shooting in LA, I thought Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant was the perfect place to meet up. It’s a family owned place that you will come back to again and again with friends. There’s an intimacy and history there that I want in the photos. — Chantal Anderson
Wolfgang Tillmans and I captured this couple melting a viewer in front of a photo in his MoMA survey at the same time, him on iPhone and me with our camera. I guess his picture is better. — Daniel Arnold
Gisèle Vienne gave me a tour of the house, and this room was immediately my favorite. Light filtered through the dirty windows, the sculptures of her mother, the withered trees, the floor. This photo was taken at the end of the shoot so she danced for a while and it was very hot outside. I couldn’t tell how much she sweated, though the flash did reveal it. That’s when it started to get really interesting. She let go, and I finally became invisible. — Sam Hellmann
At the end of my time with the group, I returned to the darkened meeting room to find them arranged in a loose circle as they shared stories. Technically, I had finished photographing them, but they were too immersed in the conversation and used to my presence. This particular photo, of Lorraine O’Grady in court, ended up being my favorite. — Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
It’s hard to pose for two dynamically when they tend to just stand or sit next to each other facing the camera. Claire Danes and Jesse Eisenberg play a newly divorced couple on the show, so I came up with the idea of posing them as if they were hugging or dancing slowly, in a pose that reflected their personalities. — Thea Traff
Additional production by Alicia DeSantis, Tala Safie, Maya Salam and Josephine Sedgwick.