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The Most Iconic Photographs in History

Posted by oneslidephotogaraphy On June - 21 - 2016
Iconic Photograph - Marilyn Monroe

Iconic Photograph - Marilyn Monroe

This iconic 1957 Richard Avedon photo, “Marilyn Monroe, actress, New York,” is now in the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Today the museum announced its acquisition of 39 Avedon photographs, more than doubling its collection of the late photographer’s work. “We are very grateful…for the cooperation of The Richard Avedon Foundation, which enabled us to realize an acquisition that I had discussed with the photographer himself, and about which he was very enthusiastic,” said Peter Galassi, chief curator of MoMA’s department of photography, in a statement issued today. Acquired from the Foundation, the career-spanning photos date from 1953 to 2002 and include nine photos of Avedon’s father that were first shown in a solo exhibition at MoMA in 1974.


Iconic Photograph - Lynching

Iconic Photograph - Lynching

Lawrence Beitler took this iconic photograph on August 7, 1930, showing the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith. It sold thousands of copies, which Beitler stayed up for 10 days and nights printing them. It has become iconic over the years as it is one of the best and most recognisable images of lynchingwhich at the time was commonplace, but now serves only as a reminder of the pre-Civil Rights era. The photo shows a crowd that have turned out to view the lynching, and the audience a mixture of anger and fulfillment. The photo was so popular it has been the inspiration for many poems and songs down the years.


Iconic Photograph - Rising Flag on Iwo Jima

Iconic Photograph - Rising Flag on Iwo Jima

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. 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, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.


Iconic Photograph - Che Guevara

Iconic Photograph - Che Guevara

Alberto Korda’s well known photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, titled ‘Guerrillero Heroico’ or ‘Heroic Guerrilla’ has become a symbol of the 20th centry. It shows Che, as he was known, at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion. The picture depicts the then-31 year-old’s stoic and character and now appear on T-shirts, tattoos, murials and walls all around the world. Despite being one of the most reproduced images in history, Korda, a lifelong Communist and supporter of the Cuban Revolution, claimed no payment for his picture. The rights of the picture are now disputed. Still, it remains
one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century.


Iconic Photograph - Napalm Strike

Iconic Photograph - Napalm Strike

This photo of a naked and terrified young girl running towards Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Nick Ut has entered popular culture as a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War. It was taken during the American bombing of the village of Trang Bang, Viet Nam. However there has been much controversy over the events depicted in the photo. It is suggested that American bombers had nothing to do with this event and that there have been many derogatory and misleading comments about the American troops in regard to this photo. Nevertheless, it is said that this photo ended the war in Vietnam and served as an icon for the peace movement that was prevelent in the 1970s.


Iconic Photograph - Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing Nguyen Van Lem

Iconic Photograph - Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing Nguyen Van Lem


Most of the iconic images of the 20th and 21st century have owned their photographers Pulitzer prizes for their work, and this image is no exception. Eddie Adams was famous for his portraits of celebrties and for being a prolific photojournalist, having been in 13 wars. However, possibly his most famous image is of the execution of Nguy?n Van LÈm by Nguy?n Ng?c Loan during the Vietnam War. Adams later apologized in person to General Nguyen and his family for the irreparable damage it did to Loan’s honor while he was alive.


Iconic Photograph - Fire on Marlborough Street

Iconic Photograph - Fire on Marlborough Street

On July 22, 1975, Stanley J. Forman took this infamous photograph while working for the Boston Herald. He climbed on the back of a fire truck as it raced towards a reported fire at Marlborough Street. Just as the crew had arrived at the scene, a young woman and small girl fell from an apartment above. The woman died instantly, but the young girl lived. This photo earned Forman a Pulitzer prize, and in addition, convinced Boston and several other cities to introduce more comprehensive fire safety laws.


Iconic Photograph - Tank Man

Iconic Photograph - Tank Man

Often considered the most iconic photograph in history, ‘tank man’ or ‘the unknown rebel’ shows an act of courage and defiance and earned the anonymous man widespread fame. It took place during the protests at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, and has subsequently become a symbol of the end of the Cold War era, and one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. Four people claim to have took photos of the event, but the most reproduced image, and the most famous was by Jeff Widener.


Iconic Photograph - Uganda

Iconic Photograph - Uganda

This example of emotive imagery is of child in Uganda holding hands with a missionary. The stark contrast between the two people serves as a reminder of the gulf in wealth between developed and developing countries. Mike Wells, the photographer, took this picture to show the extent of starvation in Africa. He took it for a magazine, and when they went 5 months without printing it, he decided to enter it into a competition. However, Wells has stated that he is against winning a compeition with a picture of a starving boy.


Iconic Photograph - Vulture Stalking a Child

Iconic Photograph - Vulture Stalking a Child

S p o n s o r e d L i n k s

This shocking photo depicts a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a patient vulture. It is a horrific picture that gave people a true look at the dire condition in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kevin Carter, who took the photo, won a Pulitzer Prize for this work. Kevin then came under a lot of scrutiny for spending over 20 minutes setting up the photo instead of helping the child. Three months after taking the photo, he committed suicide.


Iconic Photograph - Moon Landing

Iconic Photograph - Moon Landing

Possibly the most talked-about, debated and controversial picture in history, the picture of the moon landing has been seen as a feat of human engineering at its best, and has been speculated as a hoax by contractors of the event. Those in doubt of the authenticity of the picture have come up with many suggestions as to why and how it might have been faked. However, none of the accusations have been proved correct and the debate continues in some circles. For many, though, it provides a sense of accomplishment and acheivement by the human race to send a man to the moon, which for years was considered an impossibility. The American flag also installs national pride in the US as the winners of the so-called ‘Space Race’, and their establishment as the world’s one remaining super power.

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