As 2017 finally draws to a close, we can all look back on a year that in many ways seems to have lasted 10. And we thought a lot happened last year. 2017 has been very interesting and emotional. Again.
When it comes to the photography on The Verge, 2017 was the year of “more.” Not only have we taken and published more original photographs than ever before, more people at The Verge have been taking them. More of our writers and reporters are now regularly shooting their own photos to accompany their stories, and I hope even more will pick up their cameras and phones in 2018.
While the range of subjects and the shear volume of gadgets we photographed increased exponentially, we also created a number of new photographic formats during 2017: We photographed cars as gadgets for ScreenDrive; arranged items neatly for What’s in Your Bag; shot artists and their art for Technographica; and created isometric patterns with gadgets for Guidebook and our Back-to-School and Holiday Gift Guides.
This past year also saw a dramatic increase in the amount of original content we created for our social media channels (particularly Instagram Stories) and a far greater use of movement in the imagery, particularly the use of stop motion animation.
So once again it is time to select our favorite photos from this past year, including many from a growing number of our regular freelancers. As we have so many photographs to choose from, making a final selection has been incredibly hard and no doubt we have missed out many that should have been included. But after all, there’s only so many photos of smartphones, laptops, headphones and iPhone cases you can reasonably fit in to one single post, especially when you factor in the need to leave room for a photo of cuddly pillow with a wagging tail.
The photographs below are arranged chronologically by the date they were first published. —James Bareham
CES LAS VEGAS: 2017
2017 was my first Consumer Electronics Show. I think that it’s safe to say that it was a little different from what I had imagined. Because among the usual collection of bizarre gadgets like connected underwear, I was lucky enough to photograph the most ridiculously over-the-top $40,000 turntable and $100,000 pair of diamond encrusted headphones. Who says technology is getting cheaper every year? —James Bareham
In New York City, the Second Avenue subway line was like a myth passed down through generations. First proposed almost a century ago, I think few people ever thought it was going to be completed. But on New Years Day, 2017, I rode the first train to go south from 96th street and Second Avenue with hundreds of other excited strangers. I caught this quiet moment after that initial ride. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Wireless earbuds seem like old news at this point, but a month after Apple’s AirPods were first released we were all pretty jazzed to try them out. This shot was the lede image for a Racked/Verge collaboration that asked the question “Are AirPods fashionable?” I photographed each of the contributors in a style inspired by Apple’s early iPod ads. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
The historic Women’s March brought millions of people onto the streets in cities across the world. The Verge had folks on the ground in a handful of US cities and we compiled their photos into a group photo essay. I took this shot while standing on the overpass that cuts across 42nd Street and over Grand Central. The crowd stretched east for as far as the eye can see. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
The shoot with the Leica M10 was the first a number of still-life shoots of cameras in 2017. All of them were shot on the same black seamless background with identical lighting. The intent was to give the reader a simple way to compare and contrast the different models, as well as give both Amelia and I a good excuse to shoot some moody pictures of cool cameras. —James Bareham
London-based motorsports photographer Patrick Gosling travelled to the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, in the Alsace region of France, to shoot an exclusive portfolio of beautiful behind-the-scenes photographs of the $2.6 million Chiron. Even when it is in pieces, the Chiron still looks like a work of art. But then again, with that price tag, maybe it should be. —James Bareham
Vjeran Pavic, who is based out of The Verge’s San Francisco office, has had a very busy 2017 working both as a video director and a photographer — often on the same shoot. I chose this series of Vjeran’s photos because of his subtle use of different color papers to create a graphic background for this Samsung Chromebook. So simple, and yet so effective. —James Bareham
This one-of-a-kind car was quite a spectacle and fun to photograph, especially up close. Its 41,999 RGB LED lights on 2,460 strips were mesmerizing. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Reporter Sean O’Kane and I chose what seemed like the snowiest moment to shoot this electric skateboard. Though it was freezing cold, the swirling movement of the snow added some real movement to the image. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
There’s nothing I love shooting more than events. I spent years shooting concerts before coming to The Verge, but I love anything with time and space constraints. Put me in a studio with endless lights and backgrounds and cameras and choices and I flounder. But drop me in the middle of a 2.5-mile race track on NASCAR’s biggest weekend of the year, when I also have to be doing reporting for the story I’m writing? I’ll take that kind of challenge every day.
Part of the fun in shooting something like the Daytona 500 is the sheer access you get as an accredited photographer. You can lean out over the wall on the pit road, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the photojournalists in victory lane, or wander in search of the best spot to capture The Big Wreck. I tried to capture little bits of all of this to pepper in around the photos and words that served the story I wrote about NASCAR’s push into the future. What I wouldn’t give to go back. —Sean O’Kane
This photo is, in my humble opinion, the Vergiest Vergecast photo ever. —James Bareham
Senior Editor Vlad Savov is the man to speak to if you want to know about headphones. After all, he has reviewed most of them. Vlad has also taken some quite stunning product photos of a wide variety of headphones this year, as well as more than a few self-portraits wearing them. This self-portrait is by far my favorite: the lighting, styling, expression and haircut lend this photo the look of a film still from George Lucas’s THX 1138 —James Bareham
Organized by the same group behind the Women’s March, A Day Without A Woman was held on International Women’s Day and encouraged women to abstain from work (if possible) and protest. This image was taken at the southeast corner of Central Park on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan where speakers addressed the crowd prior to the march setting off. The woman in red in the center of this image held her pose as long as I was standing there. This photo is one of my favorites from that day. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
In addition to headphones, Vlad Savov’s other passion in life is exotic super cars — which is somewhat ironic as he doesn’t drive. Vlad went to cover this year’s Geneva Motorshow and managed to come back with photos of a wide variety of motoring exotica including the Pagani Zonta Roadster, Bentley XP 12 Speed 6e, Renault Trezor and McLaren 720s among many others. —James Bareham
Being on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for the first time was really interesting, especially as I was there to witness the IPO of SNAP, a tech company The Verge has covered closely since its earliest days.—Amelia Holowaty Krales
The Samsung Galaxy launch, or “Unbox” in March was quite a spectacle. At the close of the presentation, Samsung employees, bathed in blue light, paraded through the audience holding the new S8 aloft. Later, during the hands-on portion of the event after the presentation, a very dapper gentleman in a sparkly suit tried on a set of VR glasses. I had to get a snap. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
For our review of the S8, I wanted to find a way to shoot the Samsung phones in a way that emphasized the huge, almost edgeless screen. It struck me that the solution was to shoot the phones on an even bigger screen: an iMac 5K screen to be precise. Verge Art Director William Joel created the stunning wallpaper art work for both the iMac and S8 screens, and it turned out so well that Will created wallpapers for every subsequent major smartphone review we undertook this year. —James Bareham
PHONE CASES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BUNNY
No one can track down a bizarre smartphone case quite like Reporter Ashley Carman. In 2017 she reviewed cases covered in fake Lego and pompoms, as well as a fluffy bunny and a rubber duck. For each of Ashley’s lighthearted reviews I found a different patterned background to shoot against. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
When Verge Weekend Editor Andrew Liptak paid a visit to the office, he brought along a Shore Trooper costume from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that he made himself. So we ordered pizza. Yup, that happened. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
This laptop is ridiculously enormous. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
When it came to lighting actor Naveen Andrews, star of The English Patient, LOST, and the Netflix series Sense8, I started with the set up I use for shooting The Verge staff portraits and then kept adding more lights and more color gels until it looked suitably dramatic. I felt Naveen deserved no less. —James Bareham
Photographing purely functional technology in an interesting way is always a challenge. But Anker’s products were particularly tricky: they are basically black boxes with ports. Not a lot to work with. So shooting them with strong lighting to create long shadows and give them the appearance of floating seemed a little different from the norm. —James Bareham
When Deputy Science Editor Alessandra Potenza set off to Hawaii to visit a seed bank storing some of the rarest seeds on earth, she also took a camera with her and came back with this very impressive photo essay. —James Bareham
My trip to Pandora: The World of Avatar was one of my highlights of 2017, not least because it was such an unexpected surprise. I confess that when I made the trip to Disney World to attend the opening of this new attraction, I went with more than a small dose of cynicism. But as soon as entered the park I was taken aback by the breadth of imagination and astonishing attention to detail that had gone into the creation of this attraction. Mind you, it certainly helped that I could ride the incredible Flight of Passage four times without queuing for hours on end. —James Bareham
When the incomparable Walt Mossberg announced his retirement earlier this year, we knew that we needed to mark the occasion in a significant way. And what better way of celebrating Walt’s illustrious career than by letting him guide us through his remarkable collection of gadgets. —James Bareham
I have chosen this picture purely because it is just one of the many photographs I have taken of Executive Editor Dieter Bohn typing with purpose. —James Bareham
It was a hard day at the office when I was tasked with photographing a ScreenDrive with Ashley Carman driving the beautiful $400,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn. This image didn’t make it in the original post but it’s one of my favorites from that afternoon. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Because of Polaroid nostalgia, instant cameras will always have a place in my heart. Sean O’Kane wrote the review of the Fuji Instax and I got to play with it for an afternoon. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Eero CEO Nick Weaver swung by The Verge office to tell Editor-in-chief Nilay Patel about his plans for WiFi and making our homes smarter. His visit also gave me the chance to shoot a very candid and simple portrait. —James Bareham
Verge producer Sarah Bishop became Hermione Granger for a day for our visit to The New York Academy of Medicine’s rare book collection. We were given the chance to see the original books that are part of the digital collection, From Basilisks to Bezoars: The Surprising History of Harry Potter’s Magical World, released to mark the 20 year anniversary of JK Rowling’s original Harry Potter novels. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
There are two truly unbelievable things about Formula E’s first race in New York City. One is how amazing it is that the all-electric racing series, launched in 2014, is even still around; starting a racing series is hard, starting one with new technologies that not everyone is on board with is a totally different kind of challenge. The second, though, is that the series pulled off a race in New York City. That’s something major motorsports like Formula One and IndyCar were never able to make happen over the last few decades, and yet here was the upstart EV racing series putting on a double-header race weekend on the streets of Brooklyn in just its third year.
So we had to be there. The field might not be full of Earnhardts or Hamiltons, and the races are far from the spectacle of something like the Daytona 500. But that makes it all the more interesting (and challenging) to shoot. Add in the cramped confines and scenic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, and you wind up with an event I couldn’t stop myself from overshooting. —Sean O’Kane
Reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany traveled to Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center to cover Con of Thrones, the first-ever full-scale fan convention for HBO's Game of Thrones, and came back with this wonderful set of candid photographs. —James Bareham
I sailed up the East River (and was momentarily stuck) in a garden floating on a barge with Alessandra Potenza for this story about Swale, part installation project, part community outreach. The organization aims to bring green spaces to urban communities to encourage foraging, picking and snacking —Amelia Holowaty Krales
I took this portrait of Charles Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara (Lord March for short) back in the summer of 2016. I had returned to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FOS) in England for the first time in almost 15 years. This portrait was published as part of my written preview of this year’s FOS, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary. In addition, the feature also included photographs I took during the original press preview at Goodwood House way back in 1993. In the 25 years since the FOS has now grown into one of the biggest and most important motoring events in the world. —James Bareham
I picked this awesome photo of Circuit Breaker Editor Jake Kastrenakes taken by Amelia because it is just so good. And, like the earlier shot of Vlad wearing headphones, it too looks like a still from the George Lucas’s film THX 1138 —James Bareham
Yup, we correctly called it, and Amelia shot the photo to prove it. —James Bareham
I will use any excuse to get out to the beach, even on a cold day. I liked the idea of shooting a dreamy, contemplative moment, almost like a still from a film. The copper accented V-Moda headphones were a perfect fit. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Vjeran Pavic's impressive set of photos of Andy Rubin's much heralded Essential Phone look as though they were taken in a Star Wars Imperial base, lots of red and white light reflecting on shiny black surfaces. —James Bareham
2017 was the year of The Verge isometric still life shoot. What started with the lead image for Guidebook was developed and improved upon over the course of the year culminating in the image for our Holiday Gift Guide. This shot for our Back to School Guide was the first time I used Photoshop to drop the full image back onto the laptop screen to give the impression that it repeats endlessly. Very Interstellar. —James Bareham
Armed with a Canon 5D, an 80-200mm lens, a tripod and the all-important Solar Filter, Reporter Loren Grush headed for Nashville to chase the Eclipse and came back with this stunning photo. —James Bareham
While Loren Grush was setting up in Nashville, freelance photographer Luke Sharett was heading to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Hopkinsville was going to be the point of the greatest eclipse on August 21st, 2017 and had been preparing for it for the past ten years. Luke's photo essay perfectly captured this momentous day for this small rural town as it unfolded.
This shoot was the sequel to the Samsung S8 Review shoot in April. Once again, it featured some wonderful custom artwork by William Joel, but on this occasion we ditched the iMac in favor for an OLED TV screen in search of brighter colors and richer blacks. We found them. —James Bareham
Ben Popper and I traveled to the greater Cincinnati area to report on Groups, a start-up that is opening small clinics in rural America to address the opioid addiction epidemic. I was honored to meet and photograph people who were willing to share stories about their communities and their struggles with addiction. These are some of my favorite pictures from that series.
The top two images were taken in the Aurora, Indiana, at the Groups location during intake and a group session. “I have been here 90 days and I am ready to tell her today that I don’t need to come back,” Jan Karg told The Verge, “but I want to come back because I really enjoy this group. I really enjoy these people.”
Amanda Sampson (center), a founding member of Challenge to Change, leads a weekly substance abuse recovery group and allowed Ben and I to visit and listen in. Sampson has struggled with addiction herself and has since become a leader in the recovery community. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
This year saw Apple release three new iPhones: the iPhone 8 and 8 plus, and then a month and a half later, the iPhone X. First up was the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. As both of these phones were largely an iteration of the iPhone 7, I decided to continue with the theme I started for last years shoot: cameras and lenses. But for the iPhone 8, I wanted to make the set up look a little more “real world."—James Bareham
2017 has been a challenging year for Google, with both notable failures and real successes. Vjeran Pavic's portrait of Google CEO, Sundar Pichai perfectly captures the weight of responsibilities on this man's shoulders heading into the new year. —James Bareham
Screen issues not withstanding, one of the undoubted highlights for Google was the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Not only are they nicely designed phones, the camera is currently the one to beat. I shot the photos for our review in a photographic studio located across the East River in Industry City, Brooklyn. The studio was once a coffee roasting factory and had wonderful wooden floors complete with inset iron doors with decades of wear, which I thought was the perfect backdrop for two phones made of aluminum and glass. —James Bareham
Though most people will not use these headphones in a studio, I took the name literally and shot these cans in one of Vox Media’s podcast studios. According to Vlad, the wireless connection can be problematic when used with Android devices. But even though it seems that there are better headphones out there, I still thought the success of the shoot warranted the photo’s inclusion here. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
This young singer-songwriter’s recent success in the algorithmic reality of Spotify’s playlists made her an ideal subject for The Verge. Walking around the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan chatting and photographing Samia for Kaitlyn Tiffany’s piece on her was a delight. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Tackling the tough questions of modern life, Kaitlyn Tiffany and Ashley Carman discuss the implications of turning on read receipts; why and when to super like something; and admit it, you stalk people on Venmo, right? These brave women discussed all this and more in the new podcast, Why’d You Push That Button. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
I have spent the last few months describing the Circuit Breaker Live show (that has been airing weekly on Twitter) as “the Wayne’s World” of gadget shows. The studio set has the perfect “down in the basement” vibe and is the ideal location for (left to right) Chaim Gartenberg, Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Ashley Carmen and Jake Kastrenakes to go deep into the nerdy weeds of the latest gadgetry.
One of the more interesting attractions at this year’s New York Comic Con was a pop-up museum devoted to Andy Weir’s latest novel Artemis. The book is a crime thriller set on the moon, and his audiobook publisher set up an extensive exhibit about the fictional world. But the centerpiece was an installation by Luke Jerram, a 1:500,000 scale replica of the Moon. It’s an astonishing piece of art, and it’s probably the best look that I’ll ever get of our closest natural satellite.
While I took pictures of the installations, I happened to snap a picture of two guests silhouetted against the bright lunar surface. It made for a particularly breathtaking shot. — Andrew Liptak
I don’t think I have ever shot so many photographs for a single review during all my time at The Verge as I did for the iPhone X. Yet the best photo by far in this review is actually an infrared video still shot by Senior Video Director Phil Esposito. Phil perfectly captured the iPhone X’s facial recognition system lighting up Nilay’s face. It’s a remarkable shot. —James Bareham
Photographer Patrick Gosling joined The Verge Transportation Editor Tamara Warren on a visit to the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England. While Tamara interviewed Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, Patrick went onto the factory floor to photograph just what goes into the making of a modern Aston Martin, a process that even in 2017 is still largely done by hand. —James Bareham
A few weeks after Patrick Gosling’s Aston Martin factory visit, his colleague Mike Dodd flew to Valencia in the south of Spain to spend some time shooting the utterly wonderful brand new Aston Martin Vantage. While the lime green color may not be to everyone’s taste, you can’t deny that it certainly makes the Vantage stand out from the white plaster walls of the open-air car studio. —James Bareham
I didn’t know much about the world of Instagram pet influencers until I went to Petcon along with News Editor Lizzie Plaugic, where we met some of these furry celebrities and their humans. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Kickstarter’s offices in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are beautiful. I photographed their rooms with vaulted ceilings; common areas made with reclaimed wood; and documented people typing in quiet nooks that they had made into their own alternative workspaces. Finally, I took some portraits of founder and chairman, Perry Chen in the library, a favorite spot in the building. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
Vox Media’s offices are located in the downtown Financial District at the tip of Manhattan, just a few short blocks from both the East and the Hudson Rivers. One late afternoon I convinced my coworker, Social Media Manager for Video Mariya Abdulkaf to model these Sony headphones for me. We went out just in time to catch the sunset over the Hudson. The late daylight was beautiful and perfect for this shot. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
2017 has been the year we fell in love with stop motion animation at The Verge and that is largely down to the work done by Post Production Specialist Michele Doying, who joined us in June to work as a retoucher. Her work on this year’s Holiday Gift Guide not only included animating the lede image above, but she also created a series of stop motion animations which ran as Instagram Stories. —James Bareham
Yes, this is the tail wagging pillow that you never knew you wanted. For some inexplicable reason, this shot of Dami Lee cuddling the Qoobo by Yukai Engineering is one my favorite photographs that I have taken this year. It’s The Verge at it’s Vergeiest. —James Bareham
Rummaging through my coworkers bags is now a thing I do and I have to say, it’s pretty fascinating. You learn a lot about people from what they carry around with them everyday. With this years revamp of the What’s in Your Bag? series we got to rummage a lot. For each WIYB shoot, we shot a main image; a series of shots breaking down the contents into groups (and including a separate set for Instagram Stories); and finally shoot stop motion animation. The bags and their contents above were kindly provided by Dani Deahl, Dieter Bohn, Natt Garun, and Chaim Gartenberg. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
People gathered in front of a 42nd Street Verizon store to protest the proposal to kill net neutrality. "I think it really is an attack on our freedom of speech” Diane Hoffman told The Verge. “I just [am] really afraid that if we lose net neutrality that’s gonna be another step down a very dark road.” —Amelia Holowaty Krales
This was a true Verge photo team collaboration. Shooting this lede image for Ben Popper’s Instagram hashtag feature followed a full day of prepping that included crafting our very own hashtags out of popsicle sticks, cardboard, felt and fur; borrowing accessories from our colleagues at Racked; and a surprisingly difficult search for sheet cake. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
This second season of The Verge’s video series Next Level has seen Lauren Goode meet one company distilling drinking water from the air and another creating hologram time capsules. But the finale of the season was for me perhaps the most interesting: How some companies are seeing Exoskeleton suits as the future of physical labor. This shot of Lauren Goode wearing one of the Exoskeleton suits taken by Vjeran Pavic not only perfectly summed up this specific episode, it almost sums up the entire series. —James Bareham
Earlier this year, I approached James Bareham with a thought: I wanted to showcase our books coverage in a different way. While science fiction and fantasy novels often come with great covers, it’s hard to snip out a segment of the artwork for an online post. We came up with a new solution: showcase the entire book as an object.
The result was a couple of different types of pictures. The monthly book list is topped with a selection of books stacked on the counter at one of my favorite bookstores, Bear Pond Books of Montpelier. Our book reviews often feature the book sitting on my notebook, along with some sort of knickknack that fits thematically with the story and a cup of tea. (Many people have asked me about the robot in the tea cup — it’s from Kikkerland). Other pictures have been specific shots of a book, or in other instances, a nice, thematic background for excerpts or interviews or longer lists of recommendations. The results are always fun to put together and shoot. — Andrew Liptak
This photo essay featuring Daniel Canogar’s series, Echo with words by Lizzie Plaugic, was many months in the making. It is the first “epidsode” of Technographica, a new series that looks at the intersection between technology and art. Daniel Canogar’s Echo installation is made up of five individual sculptures: warped steel frames with flexible, magnetic panels of LED lights attached to them. Those lights respond to algorithmic interpretations of environmental data. Lizzie and I visited the installed pieces at the Bitforms gallery in New York this fall. —Amelia Holowaty Krales
The McLaren 570S Spider is the most intoxicating, exhilarating, and frustrating car I have ever driven. But if you have to spend a weekend driving a $244,000 British supercar, then I suggest you take it to Connecticut in the fall. It was perfect. Oh and by the way, the stereo is awesome. —James Bareham