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From Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel lecture in Norway and the death of Rodney King in California to violent mining strikes in Spain and a New Democracy in Greece, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, once a prisoner, is now a parliamentarian. On April 1, the Nobel Laureate led the National League for Democracy to victory in by-elections hailed as a landmark for Burma. For five decades, the former British colony has languished under military rule, caught in the clutch of a small group of cadres. This was just the third poll since they seized power in 1962 and the first that might plausibly be called free or fair. Suu Kyi’s party swept it, claiming 43 of 44 seats.

For Suu Kyi, who spent much of the last 20 years under house arrest, the win was a stunning reversal. For her followers, it was a revelation. On the streets of Rangoon last week, the joy and relief were palpable. Supporters piled into pickup trucks, honked horns and cheered. A year ago, you could be arrested for clutching a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi. Now, people wave her picture proudly.

James Nachtwey’s photographs from the campaign trail capture this rapturous moment, but hint, too, at challenges to come. Though voters handed a clear victory to the opposition NLD, just a small portion of parliamentary seats were at stake and reports of electoral infractions abound. The military maintains its grip on power. Poverty persists. After 50 years of authoritarian rule, it no doubt will take time for the country to find its footing. For Suu Kyi, and for Burma, there is a long road ahead.

James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer. Keep up with his work on his Facebook page.

Emily Rauhala is an Associate Editor at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @emilyrauhala

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The long and legendary supermodel era of the ’90s can be summed up in one gorgeous and distinct photograph: Herb Ritts’ now-iconic shot of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour huddled together in the nude.

But the 1989 sitting almost didn’t happen.

As Campbell recalls, Turlington was on a Calvin Klein contract and reportedly wasn’t allowed to participate. “We said, ‘How can you not be in this picture?’” Campbell says. “And she jumped in, and that was it!”

That black-and-white image is just one of nearly 80 photographs on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles as part of a new exhibition and book on the photographer. Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, on view through Aug. 12, focuses on the portraits and nudes from Ritts, who documented models, musicians, actresses and other celebrities for magazines such as Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair throughout his career.

“He always had a vision about how he wanted every picture,” Campbell says. “He liked strength in his pictures, and he got you to do things that you never thought you could do. He was very encouraging and would talk to you about a picture first, and slowly get you there to where he wanted. And you’d be amazed that you even could do that. It was always a pleasure working with him. He was a complete gentleman, and I loved every picture he took of me.”

Herb Ritts—© Herb Ritts Foundation

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style is on view through Aug. 12 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Campbell first met Ritts in the late ’80s when she was introduced by fellow model Tatitz. She would often stay with him when she visited Los Angeles, and the two later traveled together to South Africa, where Ritts captured the first photograph of the supermodel with former South African president Nelson Mandela. “He was just a really special human being, and someone that I know is dearly missed in fashion—you never see that kind of picture anymore,” Campbell says.

And while many people revere the image of the five supermodels as one of the most famous sittings in fashion photography, Campbell says they had no idea it would become so iconic. “It was just nice for us to be together,” she says. “We rarely get to do pictures together—even to this day—so it was like a catch-up time for us. We got there in the morning, had lunch and then he told us what we were going to do. It was easy—it was always easy with Herb.”

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style is on view through Aug. 12 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the book by Paul Martineau is available here.

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From glitter-bombs to meetings inside the White House Situation Room, politicians are prone to becoming Internet memes in this digital age. Hillary Clinton became the latest example last week, when a black-and-white image of the Secretary of State, in stylish shades, looking at her phone went viral through a Tumblr page called Texts From Hillary. Elsewhere, we found companies like Bravo who posted a version of the image on its Facebook page, with  language promoting their reality series, The Real Housewives of D.C. The images are being shared on countless Facebook pages and social media outlets everywhere.

The buzzed-about image was actually taken by Diana Walker on assignment for TIME back in October 2011. In fact, Walker, who worked as TIME’s White House photographer for 20 years under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, was recently awarded the Luce Lifetime Achievement Award for her remarkable contributions to political photography, of which the Clinton picture is just one example. Taken during a weeklong trip with the Secretary of State for a TIME cover story, Walker’s image shows Clinton reading her mobile phone upon departure in a military plane bound for Tripoli, Libya on Oct. 18, 2011. A similar image by Kevin Lamarque of Reuters, who was also on the trip, is being also being used on the Tumblr.

Photograph by Diana Walker for TIME

The original photo that started the meme was taken on October 18, 2011 by Diana Walker at the start of a week long trip through the middle east. In the photo Hillary Clinton checks her PDA, in her sunglasses, upon departure in a military plane from Malta, bound for Tripoli.

Today businesses everywhere benefit from social media’s incredible power to drive traffic to their own web sites, and it’s a vital if not necessary means of distributing information, advertising and entertainment on the web. Diana Walker’s photo is by no means the first image to be used in this way, but it again raises many questions about the ease of appropriation on the Internet. In the case of Texts from Hillary, is Walker’s photograph fair game for political satire? When do you actually cross the line from satire to sharing… to stealing?

On TIME photo’s website and TIME branded social media, we always aim to credit photographers, promote their work and link back to the original source, but today there are no clear rules to follow. (Case in point: we don’t know where all the photos from Texts from Hillary, used in this gallery, originated.) At TIME we established our own standards to treat photographers fairly, but should clearer laws be made? We’d like to hear what you think about this issue in the current age of new social media. Please add your comments below.

Text by Feifei Sun, Associate Editor and Paul Moakley, Deputy Photo Editor, TIME.

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“I sometimes think that being photographed by a clicking still camera is infinitely more satisfying to me than shifting about for a whirring moving one,” wrote Tilda Swinton for LightBox in early December. The Academy Award winner was describing her experience being photographed by Peter Hapak in September for TIME, a shoot that yielded images both delicate and intense — not unlike the actor herself.

Finding essence in a single image is a challenge, yet somehow our photographers manage to do it again and again. This year was no exception, as portraits of celebrities, political powerhouses and survivors filled our pages. While each shot displayed the talent of our skilled photographers, TIME’s photo department narrowed the field to select our favorite portraits of the year. From the poised conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi (captured by Platon) to the grief and defiance of Cindy Sheehan, an antiwar activist and the mother of deceased Iraq soldier Casey Sheehan (captured by Marco Grob), to the delighted exuberance of 15-year-old Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld (captured by Hapak), 2011’s best shots spoke volumes about their subjects in the way only portraits can.

After all, as Tilda noted when recounting her luminous shoot, “Still portraits operate their own code.”
—Megan Gibson

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EFFORTLESS
EFFORTLESS: Rafael Nadal of Spain faced off against Juan Monaco of Argentina during day one of the final Davis Cup match between Spain and Argentina Friday in Seville, Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

DANGEROUS FIND
DANGEROUS FIND: Firemen eyed a bomb from World War II, lying near a temporary dam in the Rhine River. In the biggest evacuation of German postwar history, all residents living within 1.8-kilometer radius are being evacuated so the bomb can be defused Sunday. (Thomas Frey/European Pressphoto Agency)

WELCOME PRESENCE
WELCOME PRESENCE: Pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, embraced U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the two spoke to the press at Ms. Suu Kyi’s residence in Yangon, Myanmar, Friday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

WHAT GOES AROUND
WHAT GOES AROUND: A man with an eye injury joined people protesting against Egypt’s military government in prayers Friday in Cairo. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)


SHATTERED? Glass bottles waited to be wrapped for shipping at the Vitro SAB plant in Toluca, Mexico, Thursday. The Mexican glassmaker, which defaulted on $1.5 billion of bonds, probably won’t conclude its debt restructuring by the end of the year, as forecast, according to a court-appointed arbitrator. (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

NO MORE MUSIC
NO MORE MUSIC: Agents with Brazil’s Revenue Service destroyed nearly three million pirated products, including music, movies, publications and software, on the eve of the National Day Against Piracy. (Pedro Ladeira/Agencia Estado/Zuma Press)

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In today’s Pictures in the News: A Libyan rebel does a wheelie on a bike as he celebrates the liberation of Al Qawalish after six hours of battle. A rainbow appears near tthe space shuttle Atlantis as it sits on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center for Friday’s scheduled liftoff. Workers get the Incan citadel in Machu Picchu, Peru, ready for the centennial commemoration. Then there’s the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain (more photos here). These are the highlights; there’s more.

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ONLY A TEST
ONLY A TEST: A person dressed in a tiger costume acted the part of a wild animal being shot by a tranquilizer gun during a training session at the Chengdu, China, Zoo Thursday. Zoo employees were being trained on methods for capturing escaped animals. (Zuma Press)

SHEARED OPEN
SHEARED OPEN: A house in Springfield, Mass., stood open to the sky Thursday, one day after at least two late-afternoon tornadoes surprised emergency officials and caused the state’s first tornado-related deaths in 16 years. (Jessica Hill/Associated Press)

RISKY BUSINESS
RISKY BUSINESS: A Russian woman peered through a shop window at vegetables in Moscow Thursday. Russia on Thursday banned all fruit and vegetable imports from the EU, out of concern over an E. coli outbreak that has left 18 dead and sickened hundreds in at least eight European countries. (Maxim Shipenkov/European Pressphoto Agency)

REVVING UP
REVVING UP: A mechanic dismantled a car engine at a workshop in Noida, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Thursday. Automobile sales in India grew at a record 27% in the financial year ended March 31, to 15.51 million units, but the industry expects the pace this year to be around 12%-15%. (Parivartan Sharma/Reuters)

NOTABLE VISITOR
NOTABLE VISITOR: A three-year-old boy, a patient at an HIV/AIDS hospice in Yangon, Myanmar, held a flower he planned give to visiting U.S. Sen. John McCain Thursday. Sen. McCain was expected to meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

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