Literally being on top of the world must have felt exhilarating. This photo from the first ever successful climb to the summit of Mt. Everest says it all.
60 years ago, a team of mountaineers that included Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. The brave men fought off blistering cold and climbed amazing heights to be the first ones to touch the roof of the world.
Scaling more than 29,000 feet of ice, rock and snow; the ninth British Everest Expedition led by Col. John Hunt raised the flag of mankind on top of the mighty mountain. Everest had claimed many lives before it was conquered by Hillary and Norgay but they soldiered on to reach the coveted peak.
Hillary took this photo of Norgay as he waved his ice-axe that had a string of flags that symbolized the cooperation between different nations. The British, Nepalese, United Nations and Indian flags waved atop the highest peak of the world.
Hillary talked of that specific moment:
“I had carried my camera, loaded with colour film, inside my shirt to keep it warm, so I now produced it and got Tenzing to pose for me on the top, waving his ice-axe on which was a string of flags—British, Nepalese, United Nations, and Indian. Then I turned my attention to the great stretch of country lying below us.”
Our intention with the Influential Photographs columns is not to glorify or demean the subject of the photo. Our intention with this column is to highlight the most influential analogue photographs of history. The photographs we feature are considered icons, for their composition, subject matter, or avant-garde artistic value.