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2022 in photos: A monumental year in St. Louis defined by tragedy, triumph and beauty

Garry Olson, left, and Sean Boyle, both of the Spanish Lake Fire Department, rescues Victorria Adams, 25, and her 9-month-old daughter Amiri Scott, from extreme flooding engulfing The Reserve at Winding Creek apartment complex
Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Garry Olson, left, and Sean Boyle, both of the Spanish Lake Fire Department, rescue Victorria Adams, 25, and her 9-month-old daughter Amiri Scott from extreme flooding engulfing the Reserve at Winding Creek apartment complex on July 26 in Hazelwood. Thunderstorms poured more rain on the St. Louis region than had ever been recorded in a single day — more precipitation in 6 hours than the usual amount for July and August combined.

As a photojournalist, you grow to be comfortable in expecting the unexpected.

Whether it’s in the seismic ripples of a policy change, unexpected weather phenomena or everyday moments in your community — visual storytellers are there to document the humanity behind the words you read and hear.

The work you see here is a curated collection of moments from the past year, some traumatic, like the rippling impact of a school shooting that left two people dead, and others beautiful, like a young family exploring a golden field of sunflowers.

The Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade raised questions about what's next for the region's access to abortion care, and voters in the 2022 midterm election decided who will shape our policies moving forward.

St. Louis Public Radio photojournalist and multimedia reporter Brian Munoz shares his favorite photos from those and many quieter moments that made 2022 a year to remember.

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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court and St. Louis City Municipal Court building, left, and the Gateway Arch are set ablaze in color during a fireworks show on July 4, as seen from outside Union Station in downtown St. Louis. The spectacular made its return to the Mississippi Riverfront after a several-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and construction.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Tetyana Dyuk, 41, of St. Charles waves a Ukrainian flag on Feb. 28 to bring awareness to the Russian invasion of her home country during a demonstration at the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Hundreds gather to remember physical education teacher Jean Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexzandria Bell on Oct. 26 outside Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in south St. Louis. The two were killed during a school shooting earlier in the week, the country’s 40th school shooting of the year.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Roasted sunchoke goat cheese cheesecake, pickled vegetables, paddlefish vicar and tuile, on Dec. 15 at Bulrush in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood. Chef Rob Connoley is nationally known for his takes on Ozark cuisine and research.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
A bumblebee buries its face into a sunflower while collecting pollen on July 8 at the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Cora Young, 8, holds her brother, Oliver, 4 months, as her brother Charlie, 5, stands next to her while their mother, Jessica Young, (not pictured) all of Edwardsville, makes a portrait on July 8 at the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Linda Raymond, 64, kisses her husband, Chuck Raymond, 64, both of Ellisville, while celebrating the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24 outside Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Hundreds of demonstrators pack into a parking lot at Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri on June 24 during a demonstration at the St. Louis clinic following the Supreme Court’s reversal of a case that guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Former President Donald Trump gestures toward the crowd on June 25 at a rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill. “Your boundless love, sacrifice and devotion has finally been rewarded in full,” Trump told thousands of supporters regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade on the day after the decision. “As a candidate in 2016, I promised to nominate judges and justices who would stand up for the original meaning of the Constitution and who would honestly and faithfully interpret the law as written.”
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Duane “Uncle Jam” Schwingel, 63, of Gainesville, Fla., gestures toward a supporter as former President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican Illinois U.S. Rep Mary Miller on June 25 during a rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill. Schwingel is among the Trump loyalists who have nationally peddled conspiracy theories regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Attorney General Eric Schmitt throws back a bottle of Budweiser while celebrating his primary defeat of Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine, punching his ticket for Missouri's open U.S. Senate seat on Nov. 8 at a campaign watch party at the Westport Sheraton Chalet in Maryland Heights.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Lewis Reed, St. Louis Board of Aldermen president, leaves the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis on June 2, trailed by reporters. Reed was indicted on federal bribery charges and later was later sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison related to the scheme.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Megan Green is sworn in as St. Louis Board of Aldermen president, the first woman to hold the post, by Michelle Higgins, senior pastor at St. John’s Church, on Nov. 28 during a ceremonial inauguration in City Hall. Green took office after winning a special election earlier in the month with 55% of the vote.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Ollie Stewart, 90, looks around at her garden on Oct. 4 outside the Southside Wellness Center in the Gate neighborhood of St. Louis. She began serving the local senior community in the 1970s in various capacities, leading to the opening of the center — now offering meals, social interaction, transportation to doctor's offices and vaccines to senior citizens. Stewart will be honored, along with 12 other Black women, through the Black HerStory program at the Griot Museum of Black History with a series of monuments across St. Louis.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Residents wait in line to order ice cream under the glow of a neon Dairy Queen sign at dusk on July 18 in downtown Carbondale. The town is set to become the closest place providing access to legal abortion for millions of residents throughout the Midwest and South, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion in June.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Aigner Wilson, a fourth grade teacher at the Normandy Schools Collaborative's Jefferson Elementary School, glances at her students on Nov. 29 during a performance of “The Big Bad Day,” an original opera written by third graders at Wilson’s school and performed at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center in Bellerive.
Dr. Kelvin Adams, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent
Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Kelvin Adams, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent, climbs a flight of steps on July 11 at Herzog Elementary School in North Pointe. Adams is retiring from SLPS at the end of the month after leading the district for 14 years, making him one of the longest-serving superintendents in its history.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Deacon Jones, 7, shovels snow on Feb. 3 outside his home in south St. Louis. Winter storm Landon blanketed the region with the National Weather Service reporting 6½ inches of snow at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Sereena Harrington, 54, sheds a tear while talking about her housing instability on May 2 under an Interstate 44 viaduct in downtown St. Louis. “I try to not think about this stuff because it hurts so bad” she said, explaining she has faced housing instability since Aaron Alexander, her 7-year-old son, was shot and killed in the city when she was in her late 20s. “There are no places for us to go.” Missouri’s legislature passed a law making it illegal for unhoused people to sleep on state-owned property starting next month.
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Amy Kaiser, director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, on April 20 at Powell Hall in Grand Center. Kaiser retired at the end of the season after leading the ensemble for 27 years. “I'm very proud of the quality of singers that want to join us and stay with us," she said. "It brings me tremendous pride and joy when I see members of the orchestra, in a rehearsal, look up with admiration at something that the chorus is doing and applaud them.”
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Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
The St. Louis Gateway Arch is pictured from the Eads Bridge during daybreak on Feb. 1.

St. Louis Public Radio can be found on Instagram at @STLPublicRadio, and Brian Munoz, staff photojournalist, can be found at @BrianMMunoz.

Have a story idea that would make for great photos? Drop a note: bmunoz@stlpr.org.

Brian Munoz is a photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.