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ON the hot steamy streets of Port-au-Prince, Monitor photographer Robert Harbison is sweating profusely in a bulletproof vest. Along with his 20 pounds of camera gear, he carries a towel to wipe sweat from the viewfinder and a jug of water to quench his thirst.

``I was always thirsty,'' Mr. Harbison says of his month-long assignment as he photographed Haiti flying apart and coming together again.

A continent away another Monitor photographer, Melanie Stetson Freeman, is surrounded by snow and ice in the Arctic near Greenland, 300 miles from the North Pole.

Because the weather is a numbing minus 35 degrees F., two cameras are buried in her parka to keep film and cameras from freezing. ``Eyelashes can freeze in this kind of weather,'' Ms. Freeman says. She spent two nights and three days in Air Force survival training known as ``Cool School.''

For these two seasoned photographers, extreme working conditions are not the usual assignments. But the point is to get the photos under any circumstances. And they succeeded, along with other Monitor photographers Neal Menschel, R. Norman Matheny, and Bill Grant who present a gallery of 1994 photos from around the world in the following pages.

By the way, Monitor writers went along with Harbison and Freeman; Kurt Shillinger wrote from the frozen Arctic, and Laurent Belsie filed stories from humid Haiti.

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