The Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken


Jack Shepherd of BuzzFeed has collected some of the most iconic photographs of the century, picturing “the heartbreak of loss, the tremendous power of loyalty, and the triumph of the human spirit.” Take a look at the touching images here. You may need a box of Kleenex to get through the gallery.


Sisters pose for the same photo three separate times, years apart.


Jacqueline Kennedy wears her pink Chanel suit, still stained with the blood of her husband, as Lyndon Johnson takes the oath of office in Air Force One. According to Lady Bird Johnson, who was also present:

“Her hair [was] falling in her face but [she was] very composed … I looked at her. Mrs. Kennedy’s dress was stained with blood. One leg was almost entirely covered with it and her right glove was caked, it was caked with blood – her husband’s blood. Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights – that immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood.”


John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes his father’s coffin along with the honor guard.


Agim Shala, 2, is passed through a barbed wire fence into the hands of his grandparents at a camp run by United Arab Emirates in Albania as members of the Shala family are reunited after fleeing Kosovo.


Navy chaplain Luis Padillo gives last rites to a soldier wounded by sniper fire during a revolt in Venezuela.


The iconic photo of Tank Man, the unknown rebel who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in an act of defiance following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.


Another, recently unearthed photo of the Tank Man incident, which shows a new angle of his act of protest, now at a distance. Tank Man can be seen through the trees on the left, and the tanks can be seen on the far right.


“La Jeune Fille a la Fleur,” a photograph by Marc Riboud, shows the young pacifist Jane Rose Kasmir planting a flower on the bayonets of guards at the Pentagon during a protest against the Vietnam War on October 21, 1967. The photograph would eventually become the symbol of the flower power movement.


Pele and British captain Bobby Moore trade jerseys in 1970 as a sign of mutual respect during a World Cup that had been marred by racism.


Earthrise: A photo taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968.


Harold Whittles hears for the first time ever after a doctor places an earpiece in his left ear.

Which historic photographs move you? Share them in your comments below. See 40 Of The Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken on BuzzFeed.

written by denisesanjose on 2012-05-31 #news #black-and-white #vintage #analogue-photography #color-negatives #buzzfeed #jack-shepherd


  1. djramsay
    djramsay ·

    great work

  2. mikeydavies
    mikeydavies ·

    amazing! the tank man from a distance is super eery!

  3. realrampage
    realrampage ·

    Tiananmen photo is soooo powerful !

  4. lazybuddha
    lazybuddha ·

    Some great photos no doubt but the full list is a strange selection. Some clearly don't belong on the list and some others are conspicuous by their absence. This collection from the Vietnam war is, in my opinion, much more powerful and emotive -…, and this photo from the Bhopal gas disaster in India is one that I'll never forget -….

  5. robotmonkey1996
    robotmonkey1996 ·


  6. sassa_b
    sassa_b ·

    this is simply stunning!

  7. superkulisap
    superkulisap ·

    Thanks for sharing @denisesanjose ! Pictures and descriptions are worth viewing :)

  8. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    great article!

  9. dainy
    dainy ·

    Some photos just describe things words can't... I like this photo a lot Marilyn Monroe singing in front of thousands of soldiers, you can see the smiles on their faces

  10. denisesanjose
    denisesanjose ·

    @lazybuddha I agree. Some of the most moving photographs come from times of war.

  11. macstef
    macstef ·

    stunning article!!

  12. doubleagent19
    doubleagent19 ·


  13. blacksburg25
    blacksburg25 ·

    The photos and their stories make history. It is the combined narrative of images and circunstances that humbles and inspires.

  14. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    All photo make my tears stream down, except the Onassis family

More Interesting Articles