Laura Beltrán Villamizar

When Argentina went into strict lockdown in March, photographer Celeste Alonso was isolated at her home in Buenos Aires. She started taking photographs, trying to make sense of what it means to be alone for long periods of time — an effort that continues now, months later.

Among the images are daily black-and-white Polaroids. On one of them, she writes down the definition of "instant," literally trying to capture what a moment in time means.

It was in the early evening of Aug. 4 when two blasts convulsed Beirut. First, onlookers saw a major fire at the Mediterranean port. Then there was an explosion, and then another, shooting seismic waves through Lebanon's capital and a huge mushroom cloud into the sky.

More than 170 people died and thousands were injured. The scale of devastation — to buildings, infrastructure and people's livelihoods — is difficult to capture as residents take stock of the damage.

RUDA, named after the potent rue plant, is a collective of 11 female and nonbinary documentary photographers from Latin America. It formed in September 2018 as an answer to the lack of female representation in the region and the need to portray social developments from the female and local gaze.

Brazil leads South America in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 7,000 people have died, and there's evidence more deaths have gone uncounted.

President Jair Bolsonaro has remained one of the few world leaders defiant of the virus, denying its severity and calling on Brazilians to go back to work. This has led to massive protests around the country.

As the numbers and deaths mount, photographers from all over the country have started to cover the struggles of the Brazilian people, both inside and outside their homes.

With more than 20,000 reported cases as of Saturday afternoon, Iran has become one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has affected Iranian leadership, and data show the spread is far worse than reported. As the crisis worsens, NPR talked with a group of independent documentary photographers about their experiences on the ground. Some took to the streets to cover daily life, some covered the response from private and public hospitals as staff deal with the pandemic, and some, as they socially distance themselves, take a more personal approach to storytelling.

Monday's fire that ravaged Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, bringing down its spire and roof, struck during Holy Week. But even outside this key period in the Roman Catholic calendar, the cathedral draws visitors all year, some 12 million of them.

When Venezuelan photographer Fabiola Ferrero first traveled to the city of Florencia in Colombia, she took two instant cameras with her. Her goal: to portray a country in limbo between war and peace.

In 2016, the Colombian government and rebels from the country's largest guerrilla group signed an agreement to end half a century of war. Though a clear path to sustainable peace is still to come.

In April of 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 276 girls who were attending schools in the northeastern region of Chibok, Nigeria. The incident drew international attention to the students' plight and the extremist terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Photographer Rahima Gambo wanted to know why students were still going to school in the region despite the ongoing possibility of other dangerous attacks from Boko Haram.

Recent polls suggest that many Americans are enthusiastic about voting in this year's midterm elections. But a majority of Americans are unlikely to vote on Nov. 6. And while there are barriers to voting, there are also tens of thousands of people who could vote, but have chosen not to.

To kick off a Twitter chat on black storytelling and identity with documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, #AfropunkSolutionSessions podcast host Bridget Todd posed a question that she always asks of creatives: "What role do you think arts & culture plays in social change? Can art change the world?"

She offered an example of a creative catalyst.

Aretha Franklin's funeral service remembers and celebrates the "Queen of Soul." Beloved by millions around the world, Franklin — who died of cancer on Aug. 16 — also leaves behind a six-decade career of advocacy, becoming a symbol and transformative leader in both the women's rights and the civil rights movements.

Here is a visual recollection of the funeral of one of America's most celebrated artists. This collection will updated throughout the day.