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Black Press Media’s best news photographs of 2018

See the story behind our most impactful images of the year

B.C. is home to some of the most amazing stories.

Black Press Media journalists were there, in communities big and small, to capture the moments most don’t get the chance to see. Some only lasting brief seconds.

Some stories behind the best photos of the year are painful, some jubilant, some inspiring. But all stories are real and we hope you find them both insightful and moving. We thank all our readers for an amazing 2018, we look forward to sharing more stories in the New Year.

READ MORE: Our best news photographs of 2017

“This type of scene, I find, can be the most difficult for a journalist to tackle, because it’s dealing with other people’s misery. I knew I spent too much time at the scene. Eventually, the lead paramedic told me to get lost.” (Scott Stanfield/Comox Valley Record)
“This breach was just the icing on what was the most incredible sightseeing tour I’ve ever been on. We had family from England with us, and it was a day never to be forgotten. We saw a total of a dozen humpbacks, a family of resident orcas, and aside from the breach, we had a close encounter, when one of the whales came right up to our boat, dove under it and surfaced on the other side. As for the timing of the breach… sometimes good luck is better than good management. (Terry Farrell/Comox Valley Record)
“The spring flooding in Grand Forks has been the most challenging assignment of my career so far. When this photo was taken, the day after the flooding, I was running on adrenaline; I don’t think I had yet processed what was happening to the city and what it would mean for the future. The situation was abruptly made very real to me when I took this photo. In an instant, I knew that Grand Forks would never really be the same again, and that it was going to be a very long road ahead. When this photo was taken, this couple had just returned from surveying their home and was devastated to find there was four feet of water inside; they will likely never live in that home again.” (Kathleen Saylors / Grand Forks Gazette)
“Robyn Thomas told me she tried to jump out a building, out a moving vehicle and off a moving Ferry while she struggled with mental health challenges. I have known Robyn for years, but didn’t know some of the inner turmoil she was facing and was deeply moved by her strength and resilience. While taking this photo of her I remember thinking we really don’t know how much pain someone is going through, and and her story and kindness was inspiring to me. She now works for the Stigma Free Society advocating to stop the stigma surrounding those with mental illness and I have more respect for her as a person than I did before I knew her story and that is saying a lot.” (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
“Photographing cycling races, especially downhill races, are very exciting and unpredictable. As I was photographing a notorious corner in the BC/Canada Cup downhill race in Fernie, a racer travelling too fast to make the turn went off course and tumbled over his bars. He flew off course above me to my right but I was behind my lens and only noticed he was there from the sound of him crashing through the underbrush. As he appeared in the top right of my vision, I yelled, leapt backwards and shot a frame blindly from my chest. It’s moments like those that I’m very grateful for pre-focusing.” (Phil MacLachlan/Fernie Free Press)
“Tent city is a controversial topic for many and I remember photographing some homeless people that had been kicked out of a campground in Langford. Even as someone who has seen a lot pain through my lens over 10 years as a photojournalist, I found it difficult not to feel a little bit as they shed tears and wept in each others arms. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
“This was one of the first stories I attended for Black Press. I remember walking through sudsy water and the smell of burnt metal in the air. What was sad about it was the truck was next door to a house that had burned down just the month before, so the street looked like a micro war zone. The neighbour’s car windows had been blown out from the heat of the truck fire, and I was the first person to speak with her on that. It was a bittersweet afternoon, both sad but also an exciting promise of the kinds of stories I could cover in the future.” (Nicole Crescenzi/Victoria News)
“Tsilhqot’in elder Theresa Billy has lived with the story of the 1864 hanging of the six Tsilhqot’in chiefs since she was old enough to remember it being passed down to her through oral history. A lifetime has passed for the 86-year-old, and several generations of First Nations have suffered as a result of colonialism, but she was able to witness with her own eyes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau riding into remote Xeni Gwet’in title land November 2 underneath towering snow-capped mountains with current Tslihqot’in chief and chairman Joe Alphonse to formally exonerate the war chiefs — something the Tsilhqot’ins have demanded all those years. Billy waited for hours in the cold, her eyes stinging and sore from the smoke of nearby campfires, to be at the historic event. Trudeau travelled several hours by plane and vehicle to get to the remote site to issue the formal apology. After speeches, he greeted Billy, getting down on his knee to hold her hand in a moving exchange.” (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)
“The Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer ride has been a big part of my life since I first rode it in 2013, and every year I see and hear amazing stories of strength and resilience from those that fundraise. I remember seeing this woman in Tofino and how she had cut her hair off to raise money for children with cancer and was struck by how she held her hair after it had been shaved off. It was obvious it wasn’t an easy thing to do and made her sacrifice all the more powerful and touching.” (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
“Reverend Andrea Brennan is one of the most recognizable faces around town for one particular reason – she’s always smiling. For almost three years she has served as the minister of the Christ Church Anglican in Fernie. Behind the everlasting smile is a person confident in what they believe in and not afraid to challenge the status quo. Aside from breaking the stereotype by being a female minister, Brennan is also openly queer. She is also serving at a time when her denomination is considering marrying same-sex couples.” (Phil McLachlan/The Fernie Free Press)
“It was the first time I’d seen the Sheepdogs and I was just totally blown away by their fun energy. While I was focused on the two rhythm guitar/singers that always get all the attention, I looked over at the lead guitarist who was standing right beside me and saw this frame with the Sheepdogs light in the background. I was caught a little off guard when the photo gallery went up online and their PR person emailed us. I thought when I saw the message that he was going to give me hell for bootlegging a song from the concert to roll behind the photos, but instead he was contacting us to ask if they could use a few shots for their social media pages, which was cool.” (Mike Davies / Campbell River Mirror)
“It was just by happenstance that I came across a group of high school students mourning the loss of their friend Jack Stroud, 15, who was struck and killed by a train the day before. The students made a makeshift memorial for their friend, and were sitting in silence surrounding a cross they made that morning. I spent about 20 minutes with them, in silence, before asking them about their friend. The teens eventually opened up to me and shared their memories. Before walking away, I quickly took a photo to capture the moment, and this image was the result.” (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
“This is the aftermath of a prolific offender stealing a vehicle in Abbotsford, racing to Chilliwack, and rolling the pickup on this embankment. It took a team of tow-truck drivers to remove the truck and its trailer from the blackberry bushes. This was taken from below as the truck was being pulled up to the road and as a plane serendipitously flew overhead giving the photo a little more visual interest.” (Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress)
“Kids were all placing poppies at God’s Acre Cemetery for Remembrance day. While they were all respectful, this one kid, Simon Lowe, was exceptionally pensive and sombre at each stone. He really took the time to read the names and reflect on people’s lives, and I thought it was just such a neat representation of the depth and compassion kids can have. I even approached him to see if I could ask him about his thoughts, and he politely told me I could talk to him after he was done.” (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
“Bradley Benarz, desperately tried to save the vehicle and whatever else he could from the fast-moving blaze using a garden hose before fire crews arrived on scene. The father and son typically leave for work at 7 a.m. but got a late start to their day because they were out late the night before battling a wildfire just outside the city limits using their water tankers. The vehicles and home were destroyed in the blaze.” (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)
“This photo was one of the many cool shots I was able to take on my heli-tour with BC Wildfire Services this summer. The team wanted to show off some wins they had been having, so they invited me to get shots of the ongoing wildfires in the area. For anyone who is new to helicopter photography like I was, this was shot out of a small opening in the window as we were soaring 4,500 to 6,000 ft - so it took extra care to be steady and find the shot, all within a matter of seconds.” (Jordyn Thomson/Penticton Western News)
“Capturing great, peak-action sports images typically requires a long, fast lens, good timing, quick reflexes and knowing where the ball (or puck) is, or will be. The frames I captured before this one didn’t work because of various other players obstructing these two and/or the ball. The frames after this, the two players were both down on the turf. Great timing, following the football, and a tight crop make this a strong sports action shot.” (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
“This photo comes from a substantial structure fire at a mobile home park that tore through two homes late one night, when I arrived on scene shortly before midnight crews had just gotten the fire under control. Due to the close proximity of the homes and how quickly the fire had spread, all of the area residents had been evacuated to an area that wasn’t accessible because there was only one single lane road access to the site. Police had blocked the road so no one could get close to the fire. Since I couldn’t get any shots of the fire or firefighters battling it, I had to be creative. There was no available light so I used the flashing lights from one of the fire trucks to silhouette fire fighters carrying gear to and from the scene.” (Katie Enqvist/Goldstream Gazette)
“It was very fun to watch graduates of Golden Secondary School do some light rock climbing in their suits and dress shoes with some of their best pals. It really sums up what an adventurous community Golden is.” (Keri Sculland/Golden Star)
“I was at Penticton Secondary when I spotted this lone student off to one side of the common area, quietly painting a huge banner for a rally to show school support after the Humboldt tragedy. She looked up and smiled as I approached, then went back to work without a word while I made photos for a few minutes. There was a photo later at the rally with the whole school massed together, holding up the finished banner but this quiet young woman, working with Zen-like concentration, summed up the feeling even better.” (Steve Kidd/Penticton Western News)
“The Pines Special Care Home in Kimberley celebrated Mother’s Day this year with a roaring 20’s themed party and staff had invited The Bulletin to take photos. What a special event. It was so lovely to be a part of this day and to see all of the people who are in special care dancing and having so much fun. I put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Between the costumes, music, photo booth and ‘mocktails’ it truly felt like you had stepped back in time when walking through the doors of the cafeteria.” (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)
“The Canada Day fireworks one was fun – my first time shooting fireworks at Canoe Beach. Instead of setting up my tripod on the beach, I placed it on the top ramp of the children’s playground where I had what I thought would be a good, stable view. The playground area had become occupied by a group of energetic youth and my stable view wasn’t so stable anymore. I waited it out, however, and, eventually, the barge came back into view. As the first of the fireworks illuminated the sky, the bouncing abruptly stopped and I was able to get my shots.” (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
“I’ve found over the years of covering freestyle ski events the better photos have something other than just the skier in them, something to give the viewer some perspective. For this photo it meant climbing half way up a 26 degree grade in snow and sometimes ice and not falling down and becoming a snowball by the bottom.” (Mark Brett/Penticton Western News)
“I just couldn’t believe my luck! I was mesmerized watching the bears in their element. I felt really connected to nature. When I went back and loaded the photos, most were fogged out except the ’no filter’ shot. Honestly, I was thinking a lot about salmon at the time too as the news for the proposed fisheries closure for the southern resident killer whales had just dropped, so I felt it sort of serendipitous that I captured an animal hunting for that very source of food that is drastically declining.” (Nora O’Malley/Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News)
“I responded to a report of a break and enter and when I got there, police were walking the suspect to a police car. It was on a very narrow road so even standing back as far as I could it felt like I was standing in the middle of the scene. The suspect’s grandfather was next to the police car glaring at his grandson who was now sitting half-way inside the car, blood on his cheek from an altercation with the homeowner who sat on him waiting for the police to arrive. I was a few feet away and captured the intensity of the moment between the relatives.” (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)
“Fortunately no one was in this restaurant when a vehicle jumped the curb and drove directly into the business destroying the entrance and much of the interior. Being a former restaurant owner I can’t imagine how difficult it is to recover from an interruption like this. The accident happened in May, and the restaurant still isn’t open in December.” (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Arnold Lim

About the Author: Arnold Lim

I'm an award-winning photojournalist, videographer, producer, and director.
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