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The Photographs that Changed the World
Man Jumping the Puddle by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1930)

“The best thing about pictures is that they never change even when the people in them do” – Andy Warhol

Every now and then something major happens, it’s the human nature to forget, forgive and move on. Sometimes the memory, could live in a symphony, a poem, or a photo.

I have put together here a list of the top photos that might have helped alter the course of history.

1. Man Jumping the Puddle by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1930)

Man Jumping the Puddle by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1930)

The picture of the man jumping the puddle is one of Henri’s iconic photographs. The photograph was well taken in Paris through a fence. Henri took the picture at the back of the Saint-Lazard train station.

Henri referred to this iconic photograph as “The Decisive Moment”. Henri Cartier-Bresson was then named the father of Photojournalism.

2. The Steerage Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz (1907)

The Steerage Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz (1907)

Alfred Stieglitz was an iconic photographer. He was one of the well-known photographers of his generation. He fought for photography to be well revered like a painting.

Alfred’s iconic photograph (The Steerage) defines what he calls Straight Photography. It gives a different perspective on abstraction through the shapes.

3. Woman Falling from Fire Escape by Stanley Forman (1975)

Woman Falling from Fire Escape by Stanley Forman (1975)

Stanley Forman was a famous photographer. He worked for the Boston Herald. He went to a fire scene to document the rescue of a woman and child.

The documentary took a bad turn when the Woman and child began to fall from the building. The photograph raised issues about when a photographer should stop shooting. The Photograph won a Pulitzer Prize.

4. The Starving Child and A Vulture by Kevin Carter (1993)

The Starving Child and A Vulture by Kevin Carter (1993)

Kevin Carter’s iconic photograph features a starving child and a vulture behind. The image is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Photograph. The photograph is famous for the ethical issues and impacts it had on society.

The photograph was taken in Sudan during the harsh famine season. The photograph drew a lot of controversy and criticism. The criticism and controversy were too much for Carter that he took his life in 1994.

5. Saigon Execution by Eddie Adams (1968)

Saigon Execution by Eddie Adams (1968)

Eddie Adams is a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer. Adams took a photograph on the streets of Saigon. The photograph was taken on the first day of February 1968.

The Photograph features the devastation caused by the war. Adams captured the assassination of a prisoner of war. The photograph became a major influence on the anti-war movement.

6. Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh (1941)

Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh (1941)

“By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent, he could have devoured me. It was at that moment that I took the photograph.” This was a statement made by Yousuf Karsh.

The photograph was taken in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. This image gave other photographers the confidence to capture the essence of politicians.

7. The Terror of War by Nick Ut (1972)

The Terror of War by Nick Ut (1972)

Nick Ut a famous photographer was able to capture the horror of the war in Vietnam. The photograph was captured 25 miles northwest of Saigon.

Faces of war victims are not always seen. Nick Ut’s picture of a 9-year-old Phan Kim made the whole world to finally see the face of a victim.

Nick was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for the Photograph.

8. Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel by Margaret Bourke-White (1946)

Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel by Margaret Bourke-White (1946)

Margaret Bourne-White was the first female photographer of Life Magazine. In 1946, life magazine granted her an opportunity to take a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi.

The rare opportunity became a difficult one for the female photographer. Margaret was forced to go through a series of challenges.

The major challenge was getting to spin Gandhi’s. After two unsuccessful attempts, Margaret was able to take an Iconic Photograph.

9. Cotton Mill Girl by Lewis Hine (1908)

Cotton Mill Girl by Lewis Hine (1908)

The Cotton Mill Girl is a very famous photograph. It features a girl child in a cotton mill in Carolina. Lewis Hine took the photograph in 1908.

Lewis Hine’s photograph played a crucial role in the campaign against child labor. This campaign led to a transition in legislation.

Lewis Hine was an investigative photographer. He felt the best tool he had was to capture the sadness of the children.

10. Tank Man by ,Jeff Widener (1989)

Tank Man by Jeff Widener (1989)

The tank man is one of the most iconic and contravention photos of the era that led to big changes in the world and was marking the end of the cold war and the communist bloc.

This photo of a man confronting a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests, Jeff took on1989, which made him a nominated finalist for the 1990 Pulitzer, although he did not win.

11. Faris Odeh by ,Laurent Rebours (2000)

Faris Odeh by Laurent Rebours (2000)

The world might remember both the first and second Intifada, they are best illustrated by showcasing unarmed Palestinians fighting the mighty force of the Israeli army.

The iconic picture of Faris Odeh throwing a stone at an Israel Defence Force’s tank in the Gaza Strip, 29 October 2000. Odeh was killed 10 days after this image was taken.


History is full of lessons and while I am an optimist, I think in times like this it is important to stop and reflect, do our part and help whoever is in need around the world.

May these amazing moments captured in these pictures help keep you safe and make the world a better place.

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