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When we put stories together at The Lily, we know that visuals can be just as important as the words themselves. Some stories lend themselves to photography more than others, but being able to visualize real people, places and situations always carries an impact.

We combed through all of the stories we published in 2019 to find some of our best photos of the year. From a modern-day circus to California’s female firefighters, this is how we saw 2019. We hope you enjoy looking, too.

After Georgia passed a “fetal heartbeat bill” in May — which has since been blocked from taking effect — Lily staff writer Caroline Kitchener traveled to an abortion clinic in Atlanta to see how it could be affected.

The executive director of the clinic, Kwajelyn Jackson, was photographed by Nicole Craine. Read the full story here.

As a result of the civil war in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, communities such as Reyhanli, Turkey, are almost entirely without men. Women and their children are taking refuge there — and carving out new lives apart from the conflict.

Photographer Jodi Hilton captured Nour Yousef with two of her three children. Read the full story here.

When Big Apple Circus came to Washington, D.C., earlier this year, women were the stars of the show: The team was helmed by ringmaster Stephanie Monseu, who’s only the fourth woman to lead Big Apple in its 41-season run.

This photo by Kate Warren shows performer Ekaterina Abakarova, who made her circus debut in 2005. Read the full story here.

The Throttle Queens is one of 18 registered motorcycle clubs active in Nairobi, Kenya, and its eight female members aim to make Nairobi’s motorcycling community more inclusive.

Ciku Mbithi, 46, showed off her helmet to multimedia journalist Maggie Andresen. Read the full story here.

Hulu’s “Shrill” popularized the body-positive pool party. Over the summer, a group called Fat Babes Club of Columbus threw their own. “We knew there was a need, and we knew that if we did something like this, people would show up,” said co-founder Elizabeth Chinn.

Chinn was photographed by Megan Jelinger. Read the full story here.

Thirty years ago, the most popular name for girls was Jessica. We found 10 people who were born Jessica in 1989 to understand what confronting 30 looks like today.

Lily video editor Maya Sugarman captured this portrait of Jessica Leiti, who recognizes that her life at 30 is far from what she ever expected. The project includes a short documentary, which you can watch here. You can read the full story here.

There’s a growing trend among young men living in the rural town of Maidi, Nepal: They’ve started to trade tips on how to support their partners throughout pregnancy and parenthood.

Reporter and photographer Francesco Brembati spoke with many of them, including Bhim Prasad Tiwari, 32, who’s pictured here playing with his daughter, Prasana. Read the full story here.

When awarding-winning author Reyna Grande attended the author gala for the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, a man mistook her for a waiter. “I had to write my way into existence,” Grande, reflecting on her experience as a Latina author, wrote in The Lily. “Now here I was, at the Library of Congress, trying to claim that space for people, yet again facing my feelings of inadequacy.”

Photographer Jesse Dittmar captured Grande at the National Book Festival. Read the full story here.

Kenia Enriquez grew up throwing punches on the streets of Tijuana; now, she’s paving the way for other women and girls. Her journey shows how difficult it is to be a woman in boxing.

Photographer Mallika Vora captured Enriquez before a training session. Read the full story here.

On the verge of a cross-country move, Xian Gu reflected on her five years living in the Big Apple: “New York is rife with catalysts, that element of surprise often transformative; the air hums every second with effervescent potential.”

Photographer Hatnim Lee captured the places Gu said she’d miss most, including the New World Mall food court, where two little girls were eating. Read the full story here.

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week is one of the rare places where you can see all Indigenous faces on a runway. All of its designers, models, staff and organizers are from Canada’s First Nations.

Reporter and photographer Sonia Narang captured the show, including designer Sho Sho Esquiro’s “No Apologies Jacket.” Read the full story here.

Japanese corporate culture is marked by long hours and drinks late into the night. The women breaking into it hope their generation will be the first to have it all — big careers and fulfilling home lives.

Photographer Shiho Fukada captured Yuko, a 25-year-old “salarywoman,” in Tokyo’s Kanda district. Read the full story here.

Some say Argentina is in the midst of a feminist revolution. Across the country, activists are fighting to pass a bill that would legalize abortion.

This photo, by Lula Munoz, shows members of the activist group Teijiendo Feminismos. Read the full story here.

Women comprise just 5.1 percent of all U.S. career firefighters. We spent a day at San Francisco’s Station 13 with a few of the women who fought California’s deadly fires.

Photographer Amy Osborne followed several women, including 27-year-old Alix Desmole, pictured here. Read the full story here.

It was a wonderful year for Team Lily. Thanks for spending it with us. Clockwise from left, here’s Maria Alconada-Brooks, Nneka McGuire, Neema Roshania Patel, Maya Sugarman, Lena Felton, Ross May, Amy King and Caroline Kitchener. Photograph by Washington Post staff photographer Marvin Joseph.

We sent disposable cameras to 25 women across the U.S. Here are their lives, unedited.

Kristen Bell, Princess Nokia and others shared intimate snapshots with us

‘We are in this together’: How 8 men in this rural Nepali village are upending gender norms around pregnancy and parenting

A photo essay showing the faces of changing tradition