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article imageReview: 'AFP-2014 The World in Photos' captivates with striking images Special

By Michael Thomas     Apr 14, 2014 in Entertainment
As an international new agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP) is everywhere, but as their latest collection of their best photos show, their photographers show exemplary talent at taking captivating pictures wherever they go.
The annual hardcover book The World in Photos (2014 edition) is split up into various sections: News, Daily Life, Nature and the Environment, Sport and Art & Culture.
Naturally, the News section is the largest, following the turmoil in countries like Syria, Egypt and Mali. There's also a small documentation of Pope Francis' rise to power, including one stunning image of lightning striking the Vatican on the day he was declared the new Pope.
While most of the other categories are self-explanatory, covering events like the Oscars and annual sports competitions, the last section, Daily Life, is the most magical. The far-too-brief section gives the reader a glimpse of life in faraway places. There are incredible photos of hot air balloons floating over a lake, stark contrasts of blue sky and red sand, a baby panda, a sea of men dressed in black, and more.
Some photos were clearly a matter of photographers in the right place at the right time. One photo in the sporting section shows Usain Bolt winning a race. The photo reaches a new level when you notice a lightning bolt crackling in the sky.
At least one photo in the collection generated some controversy. The photo, of a French soldier wearing a skull mask, gave rise to an uproar across the world.
Then there are the simple but powerful snapshots; a man in Mali holding a machete in case of an attack by Islamists; a wounded soldier in Syria looking dismayed but not upset as he sits in a truck, bleeding from his leg; the look of pure jubilation as two Bayern Munich soccer players celebrate a victory; an activist in Turkey holding a victory sign while wearing a gas mask.
This book is not one to flip through casually — take time with each photo, and you'll be transported to a unique point in time.
A masked protestor flashes a V-sign during the clashes near Taksim in Istanbul on June 3  2013 durin...
A masked protestor flashes a V-sign during the clashes near Taksim in Istanbul on June 3, 2013 during a demonstration against the demolition of the park
© AFP / OZAN KOSE
Aleppo  Syria: A young wounded Syrian sits in the back of the truck while waiting to be taken to hos...
Aleppo, Syria: A young wounded Syrian sits in the back of the truck while waiting to be taken to hospital
© AFP /FABIO BUCCIARELLI
Olivier Morin  the AFP photographer who took this exceptional photo  managed to capture the champion...
Olivier Morin, the AFP photographer who took this exceptional photo, managed to capture the champion Usain Bolt crossing the finish line at the same time as a lightning bolt illuminated the Moscow sky
© AFP / OLIVER MORIN
Bolt from the blue... lightning strikes near the Vatican on the day of the Pope s announcement
Bolt from the blue... lightning strikes near the Vatican on the day of the Pope's announcement
© AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
Hot air balloons fly over the Loire  during the 39th French Air-Balloon Championship  on August 30  ...
Hot air balloons fly over the Loire, during the 39th French Air-Balloon Championship, on August 30, 2013, in Brissac-Quincé, Western France
© AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER
This photo taken at Taipei City Zoo shows staff stimulating their newly born panda cub after she was...
This photo taken at Taipei City Zoo shows staff stimulating their newly born panda cub after she was successfully delivered by parents who were gifted from China
© AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL
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