The chaos unfolded slowly, but jolted like an earthquake. At first it was hard to believe it was actually happening, even if it seemed obvious it could happen. First we watched an indignant mob of Trump supporters, high on the president’s speech, overtake barricades surrounding the Capitol building. Then they were closer to the Capitol doors. Then inside. Then in the House and Senate chambers and congressional offices.
For several hours on Wednesday afternoon, the day Congress met to ratify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, the United States Capitol was overrun by rioters, insurrectionists, seditionists, Trumpists. The photographers covering the melee—both from inside the building and among the crowd outside—faced a chaotic, hostile situation, but made incredible, important photos throughout it all. Here are just a few.