23 Of 2014’s Most Surprising Photos

Published December 19, 2014
Updated February 27, 2018

What makes a photo surprising? Sometimes it’s the picture’s composition, other times it’s capturing an intriguing subject at just the right moment. Our gallery of the most surprising photos of 2014 features a massive wooden hippo, tiger triplets, a snake slaughterhouse and an odd Obama selfie:

Snake Slaughterhouse
At this snake slaughterhouse in Indonesia, snakes are rolled, placed into the oven, and then sent to bag factories. Source: TIME

World Cup 2014
A hot air balloon in Australia is shaped to resemble Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue (wearing a World Cup jersey). Source: TIME

Tree Hugger Surprising Photos
Over 2,000 people come together in Nepal to break the world record for the largest mass gathering of tree huggers. Source: NBC

Surprising Photos of 2014 Transsexual Beauty Contest
Yanki Bayramoglu wins Turkey’s first ever transexual beauty contest. Source: TIME

Tiger Triplets Tacoma Zoo
The Tacoma Zoo has its hands full with these tiger triplets. Source: Columbian

Obama Selfie Surprising Photos of 2014
Bill Nye, Barack Obama and Neil DeGrasse Tyson take a selfie. Source: Wikimedia

Supermoon 2014 Surprising Photos
A supermoon rises above a town in Spain. Source: The Dark Room

Bosnian Wedding Tradition Surprising Photos
At the Ethnological Museum in Pristina, Arleta Sahiti’s face is painted according to the wedding traditions of Bosnian women from the Zhupa region. Source: TIME

Surprising Photos of 2014 Sony Photography Awards
"Big Cat, Little Cat" is a photo submission to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. Source: Twisted Sifter

2014 Photos Sochi Olympics
The Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. Source: Los Angeles Times

Saintly City Cat Championship 2014 Photos
Cats at the 2014 Saintly City Cat Club Championship in Saint Paul. Source: New York Daily News

Surprising Photos of 2014 Space Station Laundry
Laundry day at the Russian Space Training Center. Source: TIME

Purim Festival 2014
Jewish girls dress up for the Purim festival. Source: Daily Mail

Pope Francis Surprising Photos
Pope Francis visits the parish of the Sant'Alfonso Maria de Liguori during Epiphany in Rome. Source: TIME

Surprising Photos of 2014 Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld walks the “runway” at the Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week 2014. Source: Celeb Mafia

Oscar Selfie 2014
Celebrities gather at the 2014 Oscars, creating the world’s most star-studded selfie. Source: Vogue

Pakistan Performing Monkey
A trained monkey in Pakistan. Source: TIME

HippoThames Surprising Photos 2014
HippoThames, a large wooden hippo, floats down the River Thames. Source: Daily Mail

Easter Egg Traditions
Since 1965, German pensioner Volker Kraft and his wife decorate their apple tree with over 10,000 hand painted eggs. Source: TIME

East Coast Blizzard 2014
Deadly, frigid weather conditions strike the East Coast in November 2014. Source: NBC

Surprising Photos of 2014 Dog Nurses Cubs
A dog nurses tiger cubs at a zoo in China. Source: TIME

Jack Black Comic Con 2014
Wearing a Star Wars mask, actor Jack Black walks around outside of Comic Con 2014. Source: The Kansas City Star

Chicago River St. Patricks Day
The Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Source: NBC

Head over to the Most Surprising Photos of 2013 to see how this year's surprising photos stacked up against last year's.

Kiri Picone
Bay Area transplant Kiri Picone is a writer and marketer who loves bizarre news and the color purple.