NEW YORK -- January 1, 2020 in Times Square set the scene for a year that started in the light.
"It was the first time the Times had featured a picture of a same-sexed couple kissing on the front page of the paper," said Jeffrey Henson Scales, of the New York Times.
But then 2020 was filled with so much darkness.
"This year was particularly poignant because globally everyone was experiencing the same news event," Scales said.
COVID-19 gripped the world. It was a grim scene in Queens on April 16th.
Scales is part of the team at the New York Times that puts together the annual Year in Pictures.
After poring over close to 500,000 photographs from all over the world, they narrow it down to roughly 150 standouts.
There was one selected from Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd.
"Upside down flag is the sign of distress for me that picture was a metaphor for many aspects going on in the rest of the country at the time," Scales said.
Many pictures were taken in the New York area.
In Brooklyn, pictures showed a mother sick with COVID-19 seeing her newborn for the first time through a video feed, and an ICU nurse at a field hospital in Central Park.
For the photojournalists capturing these images, in the early days, Scales points out, there were so many unknowns.
"The science of transmission, how much protection you needed, it was risky," he said.
The sense of loss was far-reaching. The steps of the capital and on Long Island we were shaken to our core.
We witnessed a monumental shift in power that made history.
As trying as 2020 was, there's evidence we adjusted.
"Photos are what they are," Scales said. "They are that moment."
The best of the New York Times 'Year in Photos'