Photography is one of the most powerful mediums of all time, allowing people from all walks of life to see a situation that they would otherwise have never been exposed to. Photographers have used their profession to expose the general public to powerful and life-changing imagery that has captured some of the best and worst moments that humanity has to offer.
When it comes to photos that have changed the course of history, there are more than a handful that have emerged over the last century. These are pictures that still hold weight even to this day, and their effect on society became almost palpable.
The Moon Landing
As one of the truly defining moments of the human race, the United States landing on the moon was a feat that no one in recorded history came close to achieving. When Neil Armstrong and his crew descended onto the moon in July of 1969, it didn’t take long for them to start snapping pictures of themselves and the totally alien environment they were now in. One of the most famous of them all was a picture of Buzz Aldrin that was taken by Armstrong not long after they touched down.
The Mars Sunset
The Red Planet has long been in our crosshairs as a potential place to settle down, and over the years we’ve sent both satellites and rovers up to Mars to explore as much of it as we could. In 2005, NASA unveiled a picture showing the sun going down below the horizon on the alien planet in a picture that would capture the hearts of millions. For the first time ever, we were looking at a sunset with a view that wasn’t set on our home planet.
The Jaws of Death
World War II was the largest conflict to ever take place, involving hundreds of millions of people from across the world, and resulting in untold tragedy. One of the most violent events during the war was D-Day, which oversaw thousands of skirmishes and hundreds of thousands of deaths. A picture taken of Company E and its 16th infantry shows as the soldiers leave their carrier and head out into Omaha beach. It marked the turning of the war at last as the Allies began to tip the favour in their odds, a world far different to ours where we can relax and check out the games that are available to play.
The Bomb of Nagasaki
Another image related to the Second World War, this one is less about the battles themselves, and rather about the detonation of the most powerful weapon that the world has ever known. Nagasaki was one of two Japanese cities that were targeted by the US for the dropping of nuclear weaponry, and a photographer managed to take a picture of the monstrous mushroom cloud looming in the distance.
The Vulture and The Girl
Truly a heart-breaking shot, this was taken in 1993 by photojournalist Kevin Carter. It depicts a young, starved girl slowly making her way across the hot sand while a vulture waits in the background. It painted a harrowing image of the many atrocities that were taken place in Sudan during the 1990s.