Some of the Most Influential Photographs Ever Taken

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Photography helped influence the world in more ways than people could possibly imagine. There are photos of art, history, accomplishment, health, technology and tragedy. photographs are especially prominent.in the age of technology where everyone has a camera on their phone and take pictures of everything. Below is the first installment of some of the most influential photographs ever taken, and their explanations. Some of these pictures are explicit and graphic in nature.

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“Kiss of Judas”
The picture, dubbed ‘The Kiss of Judas’ by the Spanish newspapers, almost tells the whole story. It shows the breeder of a bull, who had raised and cared for him. Once grown, the animal was sold for bullfighting. As he was in the ring being hideously tortured for the amusement of the sick and mindless spectators, he spied his beloved and trusted ‘friend’ in the crowd and hoping for help and relief, ran to him. The kiss was all he got. The perfidy was complete.

The betrayal of this bull is poignant because of what the photograph captures. It is the precise moment when a helpless creature reaches out to the only being that he believes can, or would want to help him.

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U.S. Army troops wade ashore during the D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.

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“V-J Day in Time Square”
a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt that portrays a U.S. Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a stranger—a woman in a white dress—on Victory over Japan Day (“V-J Day”) in New York City’s Times Square on August 14, 1945. The photograph was published a week later in Life magazine, among many photographs of celebrations around the United States that were presented in a twelve-page section titled “Victory Celebrations”.

In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square. The man, calling for an end to the recent violence and bloodshed against pro-democracy demonstrators, was pulled away by bystanders, and the tanks continued on their way. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener, File)
Tank Man”
Tank Man (also known as the Unknown Protester or Unknown Rebel) is the nickname of an unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by force. As the lead tank maneuvered to pass by the man, he repeatedly shifted his position in order to obstruct the tank’s attempted path around him. The incident was filmed and seen worldwide.

More than 25 years after the incident, there is no reliable information about the identity or fate of the man; the story of what happened to the tank crew is also unknown. There is at least one witness who has stated that ‘Tank Man’ was not the only person who had opposed the tanks during the protest. Shao Jiang was a student leader and he said, “I witnessed a lot of the people standing up, blocking the tanks.” Tank Man is unique in that he is the only one who was photographed and videoed, with those images reaching the rest of the world.

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal)
“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”
a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts six United States Marines raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

The photograph was first published in Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945. It was extremely popular and was reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war.

On the second day of the Tet Offensive, amid fierce street fighting, Lém was captured and brought to Brigadier General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, Chief of the Republic of Vietnam National Police. Using his personal .38 revolver, General Loan summarily executed Lém in front of AP photographer Eddie Adams and NBC television cameraman Vo Suu. The photograph and footage were broadcast worldwide, galvanizing the anti-war movement; Adams won a 1969 Pulitzer Prize for his photograph.

South Vietnamese sources said that Lém commanded a Viet Cong insurgent team, which on that day had targeted South Vietnamese National Police officers, or in their stead, the police officers’ families. Corroborating this, Lém was captured at the site of a mass grave that included the bodies of at least seven police family members. Photographer Adams confirmed the South Vietnamese account, although he was only present for the execution.

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“The Falling Man”
a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:41:15 a.m. during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The subject of the image, whose identity remains uncertain, was one of the people trapped on the upper floors of the skyscraper who either fell searching for safety or jumped to escape the fire and smoke. At least 200 people are believed to have fallen or jumped to their deaths that day while other estimates say the number is half of that or fewer. Officials could not recover or identify the bodies of those forced out of the buildings prior to the collapse of the towers. All deaths in the attacks except those of the hijackers were ruled to be homicides due to blunt trauma (as opposed to suicides). The New York City medical examiner’s office said it does not classify the people who fell to their deaths on September 11 as “jumpers”: “A ‘jumper’ is somebody who goes to the office in the morning knowing that they will commit suicide. These people were forced out by the smoke and flames or blown out.”

The photograph gives the impression that the man is falling straight down; however, a series of photographs taken of his fall showed him to be tumbling through the air.

Mary Ann Vecchio screams as she kneels over the body of fellow student Jeffrey Miller during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University, Ohio, May 4, 1970. Four students were killed when Ohio National Guard troops fired at some 600 anti-war demonstrators. A cropped version of this image won the Pulitzer Prize. (Photo by John Filo/Getty Images)

The Kent State shootings occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. At the time John Filo was in the University student photography lab when the shots rang out. He quickly ran outside and below recalls what happened:

The bullets were supposed to be blanks. When I put the camera back to my eye, I noticed a particular guardsman pointing at me. I said, “I’ll get a picture of this,” and his rifle went off. And almost simultaneously, as his rifle went off, a halo of dust came off a sculpture next to me, and the bullet lodged in a tree.

I dropped my camera in the realization that it was live ammunition. I don’t know what gave me the combination of innocence and stupidity… I started to flee–run down the hill and stopped myself. “Where are you going?” I said to myself, “This is why you are here!”

And I started to take pictures again. … I knew I was running out of film. I could see the emotion welling up inside of her. She began to sob. And it culminated in her saying an exclamation. I can’t remember what she said exactly … something like, “Oh, my God!”

— John Filo talking about the Kent State shootings

To take the picture John used a Nikkormat camera with Tri-X film and most of the exposures were 1/500 between 5.6 and f 8 depending on whether the sun was behind a cloud or not.

March 1993, Sudan --- Vulture Watching Starving Child --- Image by ?? Kevin Carter/Sygma/Corbis
“The Vulture and the Little Girl”
a celebrated photograph by Kevin Carter which was sold to and appeared (for the first time) in The New York Times on 26 March 1993. It is a photograph of a frail famine-stricken girl collapsed in the foreground with a vulture eyeing her from nearby. She was reported to be attempting to reach a United Nations feeding center in Ayod, South Sudan sometime in March 1993. The picture won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography award in 1994 and The picture of the year award by The American Magazine.

Carter sold the picture to The New York Times and it appeared for the first time on 26 March 1993 as a “metaphor for Africa’s despair”. The New York Times was contacted by several hundred people to ask if the child had survived. Carter was accused of inhumanity in not helping the child and leaving her vulnerable to attack. The criticism grew when Carter was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize for the photograph.

On 27 July 1994 Carter drove his way to Parkmore near the Field and Study Center, an area where he used to play as a child, and committed suicide by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the driver’s side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 33. Portions of Carter’s suicide note read:

I’m really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist…I am depressed…without phone…money for rent…money for child support…money for debts…money!!!…I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain…of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken (recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky”.

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Monk on Fire
On 10 June 1963, U.S. correspondents were informed that “something important” would happen the following morning on the road outside the Cambodian embassy in Saigon. Most of the reporters disregarded the message, since the Buddhist crisis had at that point been going on for more than a month, and the next day only a few journalists turned up, including David Halberstam of The New York Times and Malcolm Browne, the Saigon bureau chief for the Associated Press. Đức arrived as part of a procession that had begun at a nearby pagoda. Around 350 monks and nuns marched in two phalanxes, preceded by an Austin Westminster sedan, carrying banners printed in both English and Vietnamese. They denounced the Diệm government and its policy towards Buddhists, demanding that it fulfill its promises of religious equality. Another monk offered himself, but Đức’s seniority prevailed.

The act occurred at the intersection of Phan Đình Phùng Boulevard (now Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Street) and Lê Văn Duyệt Street (now Cách Mạng Tháng Tám Street) a few blocks Southwest of the Presidential Palace (now the Reunification Palace). Duc emerged from the car along with two other monks. One placed a cushion on the road while the second opened the trunk and took out a five-gallon petrol can. As the marchers formed a circle around him, Duc calmly sat down in the traditional Buddhist meditative lotus position on the cushion. A colleague emptied the contents of the petrol container over Đức’s head. Đức rotated a string of wooden prayer beads and recited the words Nam mô A di đà Phật (“Homage to Amitābha Buddha”) before the colleague stroke a match and dropped it on the petrol trail leading to Quảng Đức. Flames consumed his robes and flesh, and black oily smoke emanated from his burning body.

Quảng Đức’s last words before his self-immolation were documented in a letter he had left:

Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngô Đình Diệm to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organize in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism.

 

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