Sisters pose for the same photo three separate times, years apart.
A Russian war veteran kneels beside the tank he spent the war in, now a monument.
A Romanian child hands a heart-shaped balloon to riot police during protests against austerity measures in Bucharest.
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis is arrested for participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.
A monk prays for an elderly man who had died suddenly while waiting for a train in Shanxi Taiyuan, China.
A dog named "Leao" sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of her owner, who died in the disastrous landslides near Rio de Janiero on January 15, 2011.
The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute: African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a gesture of solidarity at the 1968 Olympic games. Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their protest. Both Americans were expelled from the games as a result.
Jewish prisoners at the moment of their liberation from an internment camp "death train" near the Elbe in 1945.
John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes his father's coffin along with the honor guard.
Christians protect Muslims during prayer in the midst of the uprisings in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011.
A North Korean man waves his hand as a South Korean relative weeps, following a luncheon meeting during inter-Korean temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort October 31, 2010. Four hundred and thirty-six South Koreans were allowed to spend three days in North Korea to meet their 97 North Korean relatives, whom they had been separated from since the 1950-53 war.
A dog is reunited with his owner following the tsunami in Japan in 2011.
"Wait For Me Daddy," by Claude P. Dettloff, October 1, 1940: A line of soldiers march in British Columbia on their way to a waiting train as five-year-old Whitey Bernard tugs away from his mother's hand to reach out for his father.
Navy chaplain Luis Padillo gives last rites to a soldier wounded by sniper fire during a revolt in Venezuela.
Australian Scott Jones kisses his Canadian girlfriend Alex Thomas after she was knocked to the ground by a police officer's riot shield in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canadians rioted after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins.
A mother comforts her son in Concord, Alabama, near his house which was completely destroyed by a tornado in April of 2011.
Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas is overcome with emotion as he embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. during the Dallas Veterans Day Commemoration at Dallas City Hall in 2005. Sgt Graunke, who was a member of a Marine ordnance-disposal team, lost a hand, leg, and eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq in July of 2004.
Phyllis Siegel, 76, left, and Connie Kopelov, 84, both of New York, embrace after becoming the first same-sex couple to get married at the Manhattan City Clerk's office in 2011.
A 4-month-old baby girl in a pink bear suit is miraculously rescued from the rubble by soldiers after four days missing following the Japanese tsunami.
A French civilian cries in despair as Nazis occupy Paris during World War II.
PoW Horace Greasley defiantly confronts Heinrich Himmler during an inspection of the camp he was confined in. Greasley also famously escaped from the camp and snuck back in more than 200 times to meet in secret with a local German girl he had fallen in love with.
A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires that burned across Victoria, Australia, in 2009.
Robert Peraza pauses at his son's name on the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center.
Jacqueline Kennedy wears her pink Chanel suit, still stained with the blood of her husband, as Lyndon Johnson takes the oath of office in Air Force One.
According to Lady Bird Johnson, who was also present:
"Her hair [was] falling in her face but [she was] very composed ... I looked at her. Mrs. Kennedy's dress was stained with blood. One leg was almost entirely covered with it and her right glove was caked, it was caked with blood – her husband's blood. Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights – that immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood."
Tanisha Blevin, 5, holds the hand of fellow Hurricane Katrina victim Nita LaGarde, 105, as they are evacuated from the convention center in New Orleans.
A girl in isolation for radiation screening looks at her dog through a window in Nihonmatsu, Japan on March 14.
Journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been arrested in North Korea and sentenced to 12 years hard labor, are reunited with their families in California after a successful diplomatic intervention by the U.S.
Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months.
"La Jeune Fille a la Fleur," a photograph by Marc Riboud, shows the young pacifist Jane Rose Kasmir planting a flower on the bayonets of guards at the Pentagon during a protest against the Vietnam War on October 21, 1967. The photograph would eventually become the symbol of the flower power movement.
The iconic photo of Tank Man, the unknown rebel who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in an act of defiance following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Another, recently unearthed photo of the Tank Man incident, which shows a new angle of his act of protest, now at a distance. Tank Man can be seen through the trees on the left, and the tanks can be seen on the far right.
Harold Whittles hears for the first time ever after a doctor places an earpiece in his left ear.
Helen Fisher kisses the hearse carrying the body of her 20-year-old cousin, Private Douglas Halliday, as he and six other fallen soldiers are brought through the town of Wootton Bassett in England.
U.S. Army troops wade ashore during the D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.
A German World War II prisoner, released by the Soviet Union, is reunited with his daughter. The child had not seen her father since she was one year old.
Eight-year-old Christian Golczynski accepts the flag for his father, Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, during a memorial service. Marc Golczynski was shot on patrol during his second tour in Iraq (which he had volunteered for) just a few weeks before he was due to return home.
Pele and British captain Bobby Moore trade jerseys in 1970 as a sign of mutual respect during a World Cup that had been marred by racism.
A Sudan People's Liberation Army soldier stands at attention on the eve of South Sudan's independence from Sudan.
Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado in March, 2012.
Earthrise: A photo taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968.
Monday, June 04, 2012
343 responses to "40 Of The Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken"
Far too American/Japanese focused. Far too 21st century focused.
It's disgusting. You had thousands upon thousands of pictures to choose from, and you simply took the ones that directly appeased your narrow mindset.
My brain is forever figuratively scarred just knowing people like you breathe the same air as me. I hope by some astronomical miracle you get interested in the world around you and expand your mind beyond just the 21st century events and what American pop-culture tells you is important.
i have seen the beutty of the best..so many sorrow, war and violence are behind those pictures along several decades, little candles of hope lighting in the dark too, you may say but.. Life is a miracle and we humans, will never learn that lesson. So We will perish, There is no tomorrow for our civilization. We are doomed.Greetings from Spain and thanks for that pics.
3 photo credits out of 40 photos? Are you kidding me? You say these are powerful photographs but give no credit to the photographers. Yes some names may be lost in history but you gave it no effort at all. You have no respect for the work of great photographers.
I doubt anyone will read this but the burnt koala was not a result of the victorian bush fires, but a result of backburning prior to the bushfires. Some media executive thought he'd sell more papers by lying about the source of this footage. I wonder how many of these other photos are lies?
As a Vancouver resident I ask that you please remove the Vancouver Kiss photo - it was staged by two people taking part in one the most disgraceful days in Vancouver history. It does not belong in this list - there was nothing powerful or historic about it.
These are wonderful photos but many of them lack the "power" indicated in the title when viewed without reading the caption. Some of the photos work very well without captions - like Tank Man, for example.
Others like the Koala Bear and the dog sitting by the grave site of his deceased master for two days do require a caption in order to immerse yourself in the moment.
Others like "Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months", I would not list as the 40 most powerful photos ever.
Makes you realize how beautiful life can be when we reach out to those in need. An act of kindness , great or small, is worth doing everyday because karma will give good things back to you when you least expect it. Hold tight to your dreams as you never know who could be part of it.
"Australian Scott Jones kisses his Canadian girlfriend Alex Thomas after she was knocked to the ground by a police officer's riot shield in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canadians rioted after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins." Considering she was never knocked to the ground, I wonder how many of other pictures are nothing but a lie...
excelente todas las imágenes aunque tuve que traducirlo en español para poder entender con mas claridad ya que soy de Venezuela espero que sigan publicando mas material igual que este sobre estros temas felicitaciones donde quieran que estén
Most of your list is composed of recent photos. Not to say they aren't powerful, but some really don't belong on the same historical scale as "Burning Monk" "Iwo Jima" "Kent State" "Napalm Girl" "D-Day Kiss" "Great Depression Mother" "Nguyen Ngoac Loan," etc.
I enjoy great photography! Especially when the photograph brings emotions, allowing us to feel how it really was, that's great photography. Thank you for sharing the collection of photos of so many wonderful photographers. :)
The photograph of the girl welcoming her German father back from Russian war captivity always makes me wonder how the story ended for them. My Austrian great-grandfather was amongst the last POWs released from Russia in '55 I think. In prison they were given Vodka, often in lie of food. When before he merely had a temper, after his return he was an abusive alcoholic. He sold the few books and toys his children had for alcohol and beat them and his wife until the oldest son (my grandfather) was grown up enough to stand up to him. Late he died of liver failure.
In the photo with Himmler the shirtless man in the photograph is not Howard Greasley but an unnamed Soviet POW wearing a standard-issue Red Army "pilotka" sidecap.
The February 2010 Telegraph obituary  published a photograph captioned "Greasley confronting Heinrich Himmler (wearing the spectacles) in the PoW camp". The photograph and its description has subsequently been republished by other news sources.
The photograph however comes from Himmler's visit to a Shirokaya Street POW camp in Minsk, USSR taken in August of 1941. Additional photographs from the visit as well as film footage of Himmler's visit shows more of the camp as well as the events before and after the famous picture was taken.
It is surprising how many of these images are not what they appear to be.
I read somewhere that the Paris man crying was actually a Nazi sympathizer and was actually crying tears of joy...not sure if that was true, but I remember reading about that in an article of propaganda photos
The couple kissing amidst the Vancouver riots did so, not after the girl was knocked to the ground after being struck by a riot police officer's shield but rather, both simply lay on the ground after the police had passed by. They have stated as such in interviews to Canadian newspapers. A powerful image albeit somewhat more staged than the accompanying backstory here would have you believe.
However, one photo MUST be added to this collection - in my opinion - and that belongs to the Palestinian child Faris Odeh throwing a rock on an Israeli tank.
Faris Odeh, 14, became an instant Palestinian hero after this photo was taken Oct. 29, 2000. Less than two weeks later, an Israeli soldier shot and killed him in a similar clash near the same site in the Gaza.
i spent2 hours looking at these photos,i dont even know how i got here or why im here. these are both heartwarming and heartbreaking and have made me remember the things i have seen around this world which brought me to tears.ifind it amazing how long things can take before the numb feeling from the shock of past events takes to wear off, so you can release your feelings and emotions. thanks for allowing me to see your collection of photos.
The February 2010 Telegraph obituary published a photograph captioned "Greasley confronting Heinrich Himmler (wearing the spectacles) in the PoW camp". The photograph and its description has subsequently been republished by other news sources. The photograph comes from Himmler's visit to a Shirokaya Street POW camp in Minsk, USSR taken in August 1941. Additional photographs from the visit as well as film footage of Himmler's visit shows more of the camp as well as the events before and after the famous picture was taken.
The shirtless man in the photograph is not Horace Greasley but an unnamed Soviet POW wearing a standard-issue Red Army "pilotka" sidecap. When interviewed by the Leicester Mercury, the historian Guy Walters said that he "had no doubt whatsoever" that the man in the photograph was not Greasley.
The photo of the man crying "while the nazis are occupying Paris" is not exactly true. It was taken while the man was watching a parade of French historical ensigns and flags before they were stored and moved out of the city for safe keeping before the Nazis reached the city.
what capture me is the little things people do to save the world, she just planted a flower on a bayonet or stood in front of tanks without any weapon just to pass a message to the mighty, that is powerful
I truly am in awe of the negative comments. How can we both be human beings, living on the same planet, experiencing more or less similar things as we age? The bitterness and lack of compassion are deeply depressing to my soul....The positive comments give me hope and warmth.
Honestly you people - #16 - don't you see he is holding her and comforting her after she has been knocked to the ground & probably telling her 'everything will be alright" I love you after she has been through a traumatic experience. The photo is not in the least bit sexual, this is the position she was thrust into through no fault of her own. Don't you get that!!!!!!!!! Every picture has merit in this list......... brought tears to my eyes ....thank you so much.