Some of the Most Famous Photographs in History


Piles of Rifles surrendered by German soldiers after the end of the second world war, 1945.



Lunch Atop a Skyscraper-1932

This image of workers taking a daredevil’s lunch break at the top of a skyscraper certainly makes the viewer dizzy but it also brings their attention to the very risky life the workers building the Rockefeller Center lead. In the first half of the 20th century, dozens of workers died after fatal falls during the construction of various skyscrapers.



The Burning Monk - Malcom Browne, 1963

On June 11, 1963, in a street in Saigon, Vietnam, the monk Thich Quang Duc immolated himself as an act of protest over discrimination toward Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. During a demonstration, he asked to be doused with gasoline and demanded that he be set on fire. Associated Press photographer Malcolm Browne was on the scene at the time and captured a stunning image, a world-famous photo that also won a Pulitzer Prize. The American fusion-rap band Rage Against The Machine used it for the cover of their 1992 self-titled album.



The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz | 1907

 One of the most famous photographers of the early 20th Century, Stieglitz fought for photography to be taken as seriously as painting as a valid art form. His pioneering work helped to change the way many viewed photography. His NYC galleries featured many of the best photographers of the day.

His iconic image “The Steerage” not only encapsulates what he called straight photography – offering a truthful take on the world. It also gives us a more complex and multi-layered viewpoint that conveys abstraction through the shapes in the image. And how those shapes relate to one another.


Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel | 1946

 In 1946 Margaret Bourke-White, LIFE magazine’s first female photographer, was offered a rare opportunity to photograph Mahatma Gandhi. This dream opportunity quickly turned into a nightmare. She was made to overcome many challenges before gaining access to India’s ideological leader. Including to spin Gandhi’s famous homespun.

After two failed shoots, thanks to technical difficulties, it was third time lucky for Bourke-White.

This iconic image of Gandhi at his spinning wheel was captured less than two years before his assassination.



V-J Day in Times Square - Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1945

In the aftermath of World War II, Alfred Eisenstaedt took to the streets of New York's Time Square to immortalize celebrations marking the end of the war. This is one of the most famous photos of the 20th century; however while some critics believe it to be capturing a loving reunion between a sailor and a nurse others see it as sexual assault. The latter interpretation resonates with the present day #MeToo movement.



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