At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place around the world, we launched a new series to help transport you, virtually, to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on our planet.
This week after 40 payments, we take a look back at some of the highlights – from hat-making workshops in Ecuador and the wilds of Alaska to lush Zambian valleys.
Ten years ago, photographer Robert Presutti accompanied a friend to a convent in rural Georgia: the Phoka Convent of St. Nino. A nun and two novices had settled in the area years earlier and had started resuscitating an 11th century church from its ruins.
Led by Abbess Elizabeth, the group of three slowly grew, so that by the time Mr. Presutti visited, the convent consisted of six nuns and a novice. By this time, the church had been completely restored.
Caleb Kenna has worked as a freelance photographer for over 20 years, traveling the back roads of Vermont, taking portraits and capturing the state’s diverse landscapes.
Until a few years ago, he rented planes to soar to the sky and create aerial images. Today he uses a drone.
Each year, millions of pilgrims descend on Karbala, a generally quiet desert town in central Iraq, to commemorate the religious holiday of Arbaeen, one of the largest organized gatherings of people in the world. In 2019, when a small group of journalists were invited to attend, photojournalist Andrea DiCenzo jumped at the chance.
The event is a spectacular display of sorrow, mourning and religious ecstasy. It commemorates the death of one of the most important leaders of Shia Islam, Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
“In recent years, Iraqis and Iranians have been joined by hundreds of thousands of religious tourists from a growing number of countries outside the Middle East, including the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Australia. “
Learn more about Arbaeen »
The Tshiuetin line is a distant railway that crosses rural Quebec. Named after the Innu word meaning “north wind,” it is the first railway in North America owned and operated by First Nations – and has become a symbol of reclamation and challenge.
Since 2015, on her numerous trips aboard the train, photographer Chloë Ellingson has documented the passengers, the route and the communities it serves.
“On a given trip on the Tshiuetin train, most of the passengers are regulars. Some are heading for the hunting grounds – like Stéphane Lessard, whom I met on the way to his friend’s cabin, whom he has frequented for 17 years.
Find out more about the Tshiuetin line »
A superfino Montecristi panama hat is creamy like silk, costlier in weight than gold and the color of old ivory. It is as much a work of art as it is fashion.
The finest specimens have over 4000 weaves per square inch, a weave so fine that it takes a jeweler’s loupe to count the rows. And each of these weaves is handmade. No loom is used – only dexterous fingers, keen eyes and zen focus.
Writer and photographer Roff Smith first became interested in hats about 15 years ago, when he read articles on straw hats that could cost several thousand dollars.
Sea lions are often referred to as “dogs of the sea”. On a small island off the coast of Baja, where playful animals populate every rocky outcrop, they live up to their nickname.
Photojournalist Benjamin Lowy visited the region in 2017 on one of his first underwater missions, after years of covering war, politics and sports.
Although popular with safari aficionados, Zambia has long flown under the radar of first-time visitors to Africa, eclipsed by its better-known regional neighbors: Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and South Africa.
But this landlocked country has some of the best national parks on the continent, mostly those bordering the Luangwa River infested with crocodiles and hippos.
Photographer Marcus Westberg first saw the muddy brown Luangwa at the age of 23. He’s been back – and the neighboring national parks of Luambe and North Luangwa – a half-dozen times since.
“In Zambia, there is something for everyone. Wildlife viewing in parts of southern Luangwa can rival that of most major African safari destinations. In Luambe, you can literally have an entire park to yourself.
Learn more about wildlife in Zambia »
Three miles off the coast of Maine, in a remote area northeast of Acadia National Park, is a cluster of islands populated only by sheep. The Wakeman family, who live on the neighboring mainland, are the caretakers year round; they maintain the traditions of the island shepherd, whose cycles have remained largely unchanged for centuries.
At the end of the lambing season, a community comes together to help round up and shear the sheep. The volunteers – about 40 people – include a handful of knitters and spinners; they often wear Nash Island wool sweaters.
Photographer Greta Rybus began documenting the Wakemans and the Islands in 2019.
“Some sheep spend their entire lives on these islands, from birth to death. They to become the islands. Their sun-bleached bones are rooted in the earth, encrusted in the grassy hills and wetlands where they once grazed.
Galen Koch and Greta Rybus
Learn more about the shepherd of the Maine Islands »
Southeast Alaska is inseparable from the Tongass National Forest, the mountainous western edge of the North American continent giving way to the hundreds of islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago. The landscape is covered with western hemlock, red and yellow cedars, and Sitka spruce.
But lifting logging restrictions can indelibly change the character of the region.
Photographer Christopher Miller grew up exploring the fringes of the Tongass National Forest, which lies just outside its backdoor in Juneau and stretches hundreds of miles along the coast. In 2019, he documented a 30-mile trip along the Honker Divide canoe route, which passes through the National Forest.
Known for its Andean peaks topped with glaciers and its labyrinth of fjords, Magallanes – in the far south of Patagonia – is the largest but the second least populated region in Chile.
Daily life here requires tenacity and resilience. Community life is facilitated in part by an unlikely source: a network of rural schools.
After coordinating with local education authorities and teachers, and with the blessing of parents and guardians of students, photojournalist Andria Hautamaki spent more than a month in 2019 visiting five of these schools.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed educational routines around the world, and many schools in Chile have turned to distance learning. But Chilean rural schools face particularly difficult challenges.
Learn more about rural schools in Patagonia »
Several years ago, photographer Richard Frishman began documenting vestiges of racism, oppression and segregation in the built and natural environments of the United States – lingering traces that were hidden from view under a veil of banality. .
Some of Mr. Frishman’s photos capture sites that were not marked, overlooked, or largely forgotten. Other photographs explore black institutions that arose in response to racial segregation. A handful of photos represent the sites where blacks have been attacked, killed or abducted – some marked and widely known, others not.
“Slavery is often referred to as America’s ‘original sin’. Its demons still haunt us in the form of separate housing, education, health care, employment. Through these photographs I try to preserve the physical evidence of this sin – because, when the revealing traces are erased, the lessons are likely to be lost.
Learn more about the “Phantoms of segregation” “
The waters surrounding Britain are dotted with thousands of small islands, only a small part of which is inhabited.
Among those who inhabit the Small British Isles there is a collection of Guardians – Guardians who spend their lives in quiet solitude, far from the crowded corners of our urban world. Their role: to maintain and manage the preservation of their small plot of land, often by carrying out research on delicate ecosystems.
Over the past three years, photojournalist Alex Ingram has visited some of these remote islands, spending at least a week there.