2011 was the year of Arab Spring, of Hurricane Irene, of the dismantling of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and of countless political, cultural and scientific advances and upheavals. It was also a year of photos.

From the UC Davis pepper spraying to the death of Osama bin Laden, relive 2011 through some of the most powerful photos of the year.

These images, taken by professional Reuters photographers and by ordinary citizens around the world, helped to capture, in a single moment, some of the pivotal turning points of 2011.

See the humanity amid the violence at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. See soldiers rejoicing at the first gay pride parade hosted by out servicemen in the U.S. See the wreckage of the tornadoes that swept the American South this spring, and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements.

Most of all, see the people captured in these images, and the photographers behind them. As we approach 2012, look back on 2011, and see the beauty and the tragedy of the past 340 days.