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50 Influential Photographs That Changed the World


View from the Window at Le Gras

"It took a unique combination of ingenuity and curiosity to produce the first known photograph, so it’s fitting that the man who made it was an inventor and not actually an artist. In the 1820s, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce had become fascinated with the printing method of lithography - which is the process of printing from a flat surface. Searching for other ways to produce images, Niépce set up a device called a camera obscura, which captured and projected scenes illuminated by sunlight, and trained it on the view outside his studio window in eastern France. The scene was cast on a treated pewter plate that, after many hours, retained a crude copy of the buildings and rooftops outside. The result was the first known permanent photograph.

It is no overstatement to say that Niépce’s achievement laid the groundwork for the development of photography. Later, he worked with artist Louis Daguerre, whose sharper daguerreotype images marked photography’s next major advancement."


Berlin Wall, 1989

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961-1989. The wall was constructed by the German Democratic Republic on 13th August 1961, in an attempt to cut off West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin; this was until government officials opened it in November 1989. Crowds gathered at the Berlin wall when it was opened in November 1989, tearing parts of the wall down – The demolition of the wall began on 13th June 1990 and finished in 1992.


President Bush Recieves 9/11


President Bush recieves word of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center while visiting a Florida school.


Olympic Black Power Salute

"The Olympics are intended to be a celebration of global unity. But when the American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos ascended the medal stand at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, they were determined to shatter the illusion that all was right in the world. Just before “The Star-Spangled Banner” began to play, Smith, the gold medallist, and Carlos, the bronze winner, bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists in the air. Their message could not have been clearer: Before we salute America, America must treat blacks as equal. “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat,” Carlos later said. John Dominis, a quick-fingered life photographer known for capturing unexpected moments, shot a close-up that revealed another layer: Smith in black socks, his running shoes off, in a gesture meant to symbolize black poverty. Published in life, Dominis’ image turned the somber protest into an iconic emblem of the turbulent 1960s."


Boston Bombing


78-year-old Bill Iffrig lies on the ground following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.


Che Guevara Corpse

The Bolivian government poses with the corpse of revolutionary Che Guevara, 1967.


Cairo Uprising

Christians and Muslims hold hands in solidarity during the Cairo uprisings, January 2011.


Integrated Schooling

Dorothy Counts encounters adversity in 1956 as she makes her way to a recently integrated school in Charlotte, North Carolina. After days of harassment, she was forced to withdraw from the school.



"It’s never easy to identify the moment a hinge turns in history. When it comes to humanity’s first true grasp of the beauty, fragility and loneliness of our world, however, we know the precise instant. It was on December 24, 1968, exactly 75 hours, 48 minutes and 41 seconds after the Apollo 8 spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral en route to becoming the first manned mission to orbit the moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve of what had been a bloody, war-torn year for America. At the beginning of the fourth of 10 orbits, their spacecraft was emerging from the far side of the moon when a view of the blue-white planet filled one of the hatch windows. “Oh, my God! Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!” Anders exclaimed. He snapped a picture—in black and white. Lovell scrambled to find a colour canister. “Well, I think we missed it,” Anders said. Lovell looked through windows three and four. “Hey, I got it right here!” he exclaimed. A weightless Anders shot to where Lovell was floating and fired his Hasselblad. “You got it?” Lovell asked. “Yep,” Anders answered. The image—our first full-colour view of our planet from off of it—helped to launch the environmental movement. And, just as important, it helped human beings recognize that in a cold and punishing cosmos, we’ve got it pretty good."