Award-winning photographs and the stories behind them


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In a world where everyone’s a photographer and millions of images are uploaded online every minute, it’s easy to forget the immense power that a single photograph once held. There was a time when photographs were rare, precious snapshots that had the power to change public opinion, crystallize a moment in history, or even alter the course of world events. Iconic images like “Leap into Freedom,” “The Falling Man,” or “A Man on the Moon” didn’t just tell a story; they became the story, frozen in time for future generations to ponder.

Here are 21  photos that didn’t just capture moments; they changed the course of history.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’

Captured by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is more than a photo—it’s a national symbol. In a single frame, Rosenthal immortalized the grit and unity of six Marines amid the chaos of war. Not just a Pulitzer-winning snapshot, this image has come to define American resilience. Its monumental impact is forever etched in stone, quite literally, at the Marine Corps War Memorial. A moment in time, yet timeless in its reach.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘The Babe bows out’

“The Babe Bows Out,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by Nathaniel Fein, immortalizes a poignant moment on June 13, 1948, when Babe Ruth, weakened by cancer but ever the legend, bid farewell at Yankee Stadium. Leaning on his bat, which he used as a makeshift cane, the image captures the vulnerability of a man who was once larger than life.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘The kiss of life’

“The Kiss of Life” is an iconic photograph captured by Rocco Morabito in 1967. This Pulitzer Prize-winning image shows a utility worker, J.D. Thompson, giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a fellow lineman, Randall G. Champion, who was unconscious and hanging from a utility pole. The photograph epitomizes the essence of humanity, courage, and quick thinking, as it portrays Thompson’s selfless act to save Champion’s life.

Image Credit: wikipedia.

‘View from the window at Le Gras’

“View from the Window at Le Gras” is often considered the world’s first successful photograph. Created by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827, this groundbreaking image shows the view from an upstairs window at Niépce’s estate in Le Gras, France. Captured using a technique known as bitumen of Judea on a pewter plate, the photograph required an incredibly long exposure time of approximately eight hours. Despite its seemingly simple subject, the image stands as a monument to human ingenuity and the dawn of a new visual era. Its legacy is profound, marking the beginning of the photographic medium that would forever change the way we capture and perceive the world around us.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘A Jewish boy surrenders in Warsaw’

The photograph titled “A Jewish boy surrenders in Warsaw” is a haunting image taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. Captured by an unknown German photographer, it features a young Jewish boy with his arms raised, surrounded by German soldiers and Warsaw Ghetto residents. The chilling photo serves as a harrowing reminder of the grim reality faced by Jews in occupied Poland during World War II.

Image Credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain.

‘Migrant mother’

The photograph “Migrant Mother,” taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936, encapsulates the harrowing plight of America’s poor during the Great Depression. Shot in Nipomo, California, the image features Florence Owens Thompson, a mother of seven, surrounded by her children. Their faces convey the desperation and hardship that millions experienced during this bleak period in U.S. history. Lange was working for the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal agency, when she took this iconic shot. The impact of the photograph was immediate, leading to aid being sent to the migrant camp where Thompson and her children were staying. Awarded numerous accolades and cemented in the annals of photographic history,

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Into the jaws of death’

The haunting photo “Into the Jaws of Death” gives us a visceral glimpse into the high-stakes drama of D-Day like no other. Snapped by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Photographer’s Mate Robert F. Sargent, this iconic image from June 6, 1944, captures American troops in the throes of landing at Omaha Beach. As the boat’s ramp drops, we see soldiers making the harrowing trek into a maelstrom of gunfire and chaos. It’s a raw, unfiltered look at the grim reality our heroes faced, yet it’s steeped in an undeniable aura of courage. More than just a headline or a history lesson, this photo has etched itself into our collective memory, standing as an enduring testament to the sacrifices made in the pursuit of freedom.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.


The mesmerizing image “Earthrise” is nothing short of cosmic poetry. Captured on December 24, 1968, by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, this photo offered humanity its first look at Earth from the vantage point of another celestial body.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Breaker boys’

The poignant photograph of the “Breaker Boys” throws light on the grim realities of child labor in the early 20th century. Captured by Lewis Hine, a sociologist and photographer, the image showcases young boys, some as young as eight, sorting coal in Pennsylvania’s hazardous coal mines. Dressed in tattered clothes and covered in soot, their faces reflect both the innocence of youth and the weariness of premature adulthood. Hine’s haunting photograph was instrumental in stirring public sentiment and influencing labor laws in the United States.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Ruby shoots Oswald’

The photograph “Ruby Shoots Oswald” captures a jarring moment in American history that occurred on November 24, 1963, just two days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The photograph, taken by Bob Jackson, a Dallas Times Herald photographer, shows nightclub owner Jack Ruby lunging at Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s alleged assassin, and shooting him at point-blank range. The shooting took place during a live television broadcast, stunning a nation already in grief. Jackson’s image won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1964.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Lunch atop a skyscraper’

“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” captures a seemingly casual moment as construction workers eat lunch on a steel beam, high above Manhattan. Taken during the construction of the RCA Building in 1932, the photo is often attributed to Charles C. Ebbets, but the true identity of the photographer remains a subject of debate. Despite the uncertainty around its authorship, the image endures as a symbol of American resilience and ingenuity, encapsulating the fearlessness of the men who built New York’s towering skyline.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Wait for me, Daddy’

Wait for Me, Daddy” is a snapshot that pulls at the heartstrings. Captured in 1940 by Claude P. Dettloff, the photo shows a young Canadian boy, Warren “Whitey” Bernard, breaking away from his mom to run after his dad, who’s marching off to World War II.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Hindenburg disaster’

The Hindenburg disaster is one of the most iconic and tragic events captured in photography and broadcast history. On May 6, 1937, the German airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed while attempting to dock at the Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey, USA. The harrowing incident resulted in 36 fatalities, including one worker on the ground.

The disaster was extensively photographed, and even filmed, making it one of the first disasters to be so thoroughly documented in real-time. Radio announcer Herbert Morrison was on the scene for WLS radio and his emotional, on-the-spot audio reporting, including his famous exclamation, “Oh, the humanity!”, brought the devastating event into the homes of millions and has been widely replayed ever since.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘A Man on the moon’

The photograph “A Man on the Moon,” also known as “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon,” is one of the most iconic images in history. Taken by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission, the photo shows Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon’s surface, with the reflection of Armstrong and the lunar module visible in Aldrin’s visor. The photograph symbolizes the monumental achievement of landing a human on the moon for the first time and serves as a testament to human ingenuity and the spirit of exploration.

Captured on July 20, 1969, the image was immediately recognized for its historical significance. It communicated not just the technical prowess needed for the moon landing but also the dreams and aspirations of an entire generation. In a broader sense, the photograph symbolized humanity’s eternal quest to explore the unknown.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘Leap into freedom’

The photograph titled “Leap into Freedom” captures the dramatic moment when 19-year-old East German border guard Conrad Schumann jumped over barbed wire to escape into West Berlin. Taken by photographer Peter Leibing on August 15, 1961, just the third day of the Berlin Wall’s construction, the image became an iconic symbol of the Cold War and the human yearning for freedom.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

‘JFK assassination’

The photograph capturing the moment of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, is one of the most shocking and significant images in American history. Taken by Mary Ann Moorman, an amateur photographer using a Polaroid camera, the picture was snapped approximately one-sixth of a second after the fatal headshot. The event occurred as Kennedy’s motorcade was passing through Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

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