’Tis the season for family and friends, but it’s also the time when editors everywhere roll out their year-end wrap-ups, wind-downs and “best of” lists. And so before the ball drops on 2005, we’d like to present our selection of the most compelling images printed in these pages over the past 12 months.
Photographs put faces to the stories that describe life’s human drama. This year’s most memorable images from the national and international media show tragedy and disaster. War, genocide, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunami waves and terrorist bombings dominated the global media.
While life is far from perfect in our corner of the world, this issue should serve as a reminder that it’s pretty good. Missoula showed surprising enthusiasm for its first caged combat event and street violence was prominent in the news, but we made it through another year without catastrophic fires or the collapse of any dams.
People, from artists to athletes, dominate this year’s crop of images, accompanied by a side of animals.
Missoula is a beautiful place. Here’s our look back at how our photographers tried to capture it.Top: Twenty-four fighters from around the country squared off June 11 in an octagonal cage at the Missoula Fairground’s main pavilion. In this photo, Missoula’s Brian McGrath gains the upper hand over opponent Ryan Hart of Portland, Ore. Hart eventually prevailed in the final fight of the caged combat event. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.
Middle: Darlings of the Missoula music scene, Cash for Junkers called it quits this fall with a series of farewell shows, including this one at the Old Post Pub in September. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.
Bottom: Homeschooling mother Susan Wagner reads to Nathan, 13, and Cassia, 10, while 4-year-old Joel works at a table in the family’s Frenchtown home. On Feb. 14, more than 1,000 homeschoolers from across Montana showed up in Helena to rally against Senate Bill 291, the Quality Home School and Child Protection Act. Photo by Chad Harder.Top: Surrounded by decades of his own artwork, Dirk Lee works on a pencil drawing in his studio apartment. Missoula’s preeminent painter of naked women has his work exhibited at the University of Montana this fall. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.
2nd: Josh Cole finds powder bliss in the Selkirk Range outside Ymir, British Columbia, in March. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.
3rd: Patrons of The Musicians and Artists Resource Society, aka MARS, congregate outside between sets of a triple bill featuring Seattle’s Akimbo, the Lords, and Nocturnal Emissions. The venue, located in the alley behind Liquid Planet, had an ephemeral run hosting all-ages punk rock shows. Photo by Chad Harder.
Bottom: Tom Kresan belays Randy Clark, 14, at the Missoula Rock Garden in August. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.Top: Local illustrator Theo Ellsworth self-publishes his own comic books with content ranging from allegory to whimsy. He writes, “It’s like I have my own little theater in my head.” Ellsworth posed with a projection of his art for this June portrait. Photo by Sarah Daisy Lindmark.
2nd: Kicking up dust as they head over Big Hole Pass, a cowboy drives cattle to summer pastures in July using Montana Highway 278 as a thoroughfare. Photo by Chad Harder.
3rd: Missoula writers James Crumley and William Kittredge share a drink and a laugh at the Depot bar after the publication of Crumley’s The Right Madness in May. Photo by Chad Harder.
4th: The Quiet Ones’ frontman John Totten, shooshing, says, “I’d say musically we did everything we set out to do when we came here.” After seven months in Missoula, John and his brother/guitarist David, right, moved the band to Seattle in September. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.
Bottom: A Missoula Area Youth Hockey League player sets up for a shot during practice at the Glacier Ice Rink in November. Photo by Yogesh Simpson.