Photographs That Changed the World

Photographs That Changed the World


V-J-Day-Kiss-EisenstaedtOver at Neatorama there’s a great list of 13 Photographs That Changed the World.

It is an interesting collection of photographs from the last two centuries that beautifully illustrates just how powerful an image can be in spreading news, opening eyes, changing opinion and starting movements.

While many will argue over whether other images deserve a place in the list – I think it’s a wonderful start.

I would have included the picture of the Napalm Girl which is one of the most chilling images that has influenced many.

Another that comes to mind is the Tiananmen square image of the student standing in front of the tanks.

What others would you include?

Looking forward to reading your suggestions in comments below.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Cookie Monster July 7, 2010 04:43 pm

  • jizza February 26, 2008 02:29 am

    what about the one with the american about to shoot a malaysian man in the head
    cant remember the name but its a great photo

  • Paul LeGrand February 14, 2008 03:24 am

    In 1968, Apollo Astronaut William Anders took his Hasselblad and pointed it out the window toward earth as the mission went through the first lunar sunrise, taking the first color photograph of an earthrise. Within one year of that photograph being published, the environmental movement was bigger than the anti-war movement on American college campuses.

    My own list would include these in the top eight:

    Anders, William - Earthrise

    Adams, Ansel- Monolith (the half dome moonrise w/ dk red filter)

    Addams, Eddie - Execution of a Vietcong Prisoner (Police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan in Saigon)

    Nillson, Lennart - How Life Begins (1965 Life cover shot of fetus)

    Lange, Dorothea - Migrant Mother (Florence Owens Thompson)

    Louw, Joseph - The Assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King (Lorraine motel balcony witnesses pointing)

    Rosenthal, Joe - Marines on Mt. Suribachi (Iwo flag raising)

    Ut, Nick - Vietnamese Girl Fleeing in Terror (Kim Phuc running from napalm srike in village)

    Franklin, Thomas - Firefighters raising flag over WTC.

    There are also some collective groups of images such as Matthew Brady's U.S. Civil War photographs, Ashley Gilbertson's Iraq War photos for the NY Times, U.S. War Department photos of the liberation of the Buchewald concentration camp in WWII, and the environmental photography of Galen Rowell that are compelling collections as a whole, which are extremely compelling even though there is no one iconic image that stands out.

  • Steve Duffy October 7, 2007 08:44 am

    Indian model, Kiwi photographer, we all need water.

  • Jonathan August 31, 2007 08:35 pm

    I would include The Berlin Wall Jump where the Eastern German Soldier jumps over the barbed wired fence into Western Germany (article here and the picture from the Soweto Uprising in South Africa (article and picture here
    . Both these images have an immediate impact, one of new found freedom and the other of relentless oppression. There are so many...

  • shroticg July 22, 2007 10:23 pm

    i agree with mr bob fraser for the photographs he mentioned to be included. thanks bob.

  • Bob Fraser March 10, 2007 06:16 am

    I would also include:
    Yosuf Karsh's portrait of Churchill;
    the photograph of Sir Edmund Hillary on Everest;
    Roger Bannister finishing the first sub-four-minute mile,
    a photograph of post-bomb Hiroshima or Nagasaki,
    Alexander Graham Bell listening to the first words over a telephone and
    Edison listening to the phonograph (wax cylinder).

  • Ana Maria Cuenca February 15, 2007 07:55 am

    Instead of having the photo of a dead Che, how about posting his most famous image of all times? See link:

  • gentry February 2, 2007 10:49 am

    13 Photographs That Changed the World’, not ‘13 Photographs That Changed America

    BIG DEAL!!!

  • chiquito January 23, 2007 07:53 pm

    I would like to include

    1.Hunger in Somalia
    2. WTC
    3. Saddam Hussein on trial
    4. Pope John Paul II Funeral
    5. Iwo Jima
    6. Genocide at Cambodia
    7. Bin Laden firing the AK
    8. The Tidal wave that swept Indonesia
    9. The aftermath of Katrina
    10. And all the Wars that Men hath created to destroy His Fellowmen.

    This are but the few.
    The most ugly and horrid images are the most beautiful to capture.

  • Tracy January 4, 2007 12:51 pm

    I'd would add Gordon Parks' "American Gothic" to the list. His body of work during his time at the Farm Security Administration inspires me.

    You can view American Gothic here:

  • Terry January 4, 2007 05:50 am

    Like Neatorama, I can't speak for the world, but the image of the Self Immolation of Thich Quang Duc changed me.

  • Brent January 3, 2007 11:25 pm

    How about 'earth rising' & the picture of the execution in iran in 1979 taken by Jahangir Razmi. At the time it won the pulitzer prize anonymously, the only time that has been done according to the wall st. journal (12/2/06)

  • SkYmAn January 3, 2007 08:58 pm

    I agree with amish on Sharbat Gula. And I also agree with Frank. Most of the pictures didn't influence "The World" but only USA.

    What about Hubble Deep Field image? I would put it on my list ;)

  • Bengt January 3, 2007 06:45 pm

    How about this pic then?

  • Frank Seymour January 3, 2007 06:41 pm

    Perhaps it is because Neatorama is done in the USA but I think a better name for their list would be "Photographs that changed the USA". Numbers 1,2,3,5 and 8 would have had no interest at all to the rest of the world, surprisingly there were other nations on the beaches of France on D-day. I think your choices would have been better for the top of the list. Very nice people from the USA but they are not the World.

  • Michael Ridley January 3, 2007 06:05 pm

    I think all of Steve's suggestions have changed the world the flag raising and the Challenger really changed my world and I am from England. If you are only going to give 13 then I think they have done an amazing choice.

  • amish January 3, 2007 03:59 pm

    I agree with you on the Tiananman Square one.

    Also, some magazine covers come to mind:
    Sharbat Gula
    Lennon-Yoko Ono

  • Aayush January 3, 2007 12:22 pm

    To Steve, the title was '13 Photographs That Changed the World', not '13 Photographs That Changed America'

  • Steve Cornelius January 3, 2007 11:12 am

    Several images come to mind (in no particular order):

    (1) The flag-raising at Iwo Jima.
    (2) John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's casket.
    (3) Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Tribune with the headline: "Dewey Defeats Truman."
    (4) The Challenger explosion.

  • brem January 3, 2007 10:56 am

    my pîck as well