The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs

These photographs deserve to be remembered, since they can bring back memories of millions of people in the world.

These people were found in the right place at the right time. It took just a push of a button for them to write their own history. These photographs have been taken in different parts of the world, while these people belong to different generations. Intense moments, intense feelings. Let's see the history behind them.

Yevgeny Khaldei - The Raise Of The Soviet Flag, 1945

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Yevgeny Khaldei - The Raise Of The Soviet Flag, 1945

This is one of the most recognizable photographs of the Second World War. It wasn't spontaneous like its model, Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima, but it wrote its own history.

Soviets were influenced by Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph, so they asked Yevgeny Khaldei to travel from Moscow to Berlin to take a similar photograph that would symbolize their victory against Germany.

During his journey, Yevgeny Khaldei had the Soviet Flag inside his suitcase. Once he arrived in Berlin, he began searching for sites that could be the perfect "frame" for his photograph. Before choosing the building Reichstag, he rejected many places, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Tempelhof Airport.

On May 2, 1945, he and his team - Soviet soldiers - tried to take the photograph. The photograph was taken, but Soviets observed that one of the soldiers was wearing two stolen watches. These items needed to be moved from the final photograph.

Since Khaldei had to "edit" the photograph, he also tried to make it look even better by changing the colors (for example the dark smoke in the background).

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Yevgeny Khaldei - The Raise Of The Soviet Flag, 1945

Once edited, the photograph was published in the journal Ogonjok and became internationally recognized.

When asked about the fact that his picture had been altered so many times, Yevgeny Khaldei answered that: "It's a really good picture and it's historically significant. Next question".

Alfred Eisenstaedt - The sailor's kiss, 1945

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs -Alfred Eisenstaedt - The sailor's kiss, 1945

The second World War was over and the soldiers were returning home on 14 August, 1945.

Everyone was rolling in euphoria, when Glenn McDuffie, a sailor, spontaneously kissed an unknown to him nurse, Edith Shain, in the middle of the road in Times Square.

The moment was captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt and has been known as "the sailor's kiss", symbolizing the end of the second World War.

On 27 August, 1945, the black and white photograph became the cover of the journal LIFE.

"I was happy! I started running on the streets and then I saw the nurse. She also looked at me smiling... I just walked towards her and kissed her. We didn't share a word. Then, I took the train to Brooklyn."

It took many years for the two people in the photograph to be recognized. Many others pretended to be in the photograph, when, at the late '70s, Eith Shain sent a letter to Alfred Eisenstaedt saying that she is the woman in the photograph.

She described the incident noting that she could not prevent him from kissing her, since he had fought for her sake too.

Since the woman of the photograph had been revealed, the journal LIFE invited the sailor to reveal his identity too. It was many years ago, in 2008, when Glenn McDuffie was revealed as the man of the photograph - he was 81 years old!

He noted then that he was excited when he kissed the nurse, since the war was over and his brother would be released.

"I saw a man running to us. I feared that he could be a mad husband or boyfriend. But then I saw that he was taking a photo of us, so I kept kissing the nurse to help him capture us."

Eddie Adams – Saigon's execution, 1968

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs -Eddie Adams – Saigon's execution, 1968

After the police chief of South Vietnam Nguyen Ngoc Loan raised his hand and shot the Vietcong Nguyen Van Lem in the head, he said to the reporter: "These guys are killing many of our people and I think Buddha will forgive me."

Eddie Adams captured the tragic moment and the picture soon became a symbol of the violence of Vietnam War.

The picture seems to have been taken in the exact moment of death. If you look closely, you will see the bullet coming out of poor Vietcong's head.

"Photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world" Adams wrote. The photographer gained the Pulitzer Prize. In addition the photograph managed to affect Americans about Vietnam War.

Adams, however, claimed that he liked the shooter and he wished that the photograph had never been published. "Two people lost their lives in this picture: Vietcong and Nguyen Ngoc Loan. Loan killed Vietcong, while I killed Loan with my camera. Photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe in them. But photographs can lie. Or they can be just half-truths. So, what this photo didn't tell is this: "What would you do if you were the police chief, then and there, and you caught the "bad guy" when he had just killed one, two, three Americans?"

Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut - Napalm Girl, 1972

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Huynh Cong Nick Ut - Napalm Girl, 1972

It was on 8 June 1972 when the village Trang Bang in southern Vietnam was bombed with napalm. The soldiers were shouting at the villagers to go away. "They will bomb us and we will all die".

Then, 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc, whose clothes caugth fire, started running naked, along with other children, crying and screaming in pain.

"It hurt horribly. The pain pierced my skin and my muscles. 'I will be ugly forever. I will never be normal again. People will look at me in a different way', I thought, and began throwing my clothes away".

The photographer was also meant to save the girl: when she lost her consciousness, he took her to a hospital.

"I cried when I saw her running. If I didn't help her, if she died, I think I would kill myself".

Since then, Kim became a anti-war symbol. Her dreams to become doctor didn't come true, since she was obliged to leave University because of interviews.

"I wanted to escape from this picture. I was burnt by the bombs and I was a victim of war but now I was becoming again a victim, in a different way. My heart was exactly like a cup of black coffee. I wished I had died then, when the photograph was taken, with my cousin and my fellow soldiers. I didn't want to live anymore. It was very hard for me to manage with my hatred, my anger and my sorrow".

She was released when she and her husband defected to Canada. She told Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut - she was like a daughter to him - and he encouraged her to publish her story. A book was published in 1999. A documentary was published too, in which she talked about her past the way she wanted too, while she was asked to become a Goodwill Ambassador of the UN to help war victims.

Therese Frare - AIDS' New Face, 1990

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Therese Frare - AIDS' New Face, 1990

The picture of David Kirby surrounded by his family members published in the journal LIFE on November, 1990, was identified more than any other picture with the epidemic of HIV / AIDS which had already infected millions of people.

The reason is this vast gaze of the young man who was captured by the photographer Therese Frare.

It was on January, 1990, when Therese started working voluntarily at Pater Noster House, a hostel for people with AIDS, where she met Patrick Church "Peta".

He had taken care for David when he realized that he had AIDS, while he lived in California, away from his family. He then told his parents that he wanted to return home, so that he could die surrounded by his family.

"One day I had visited Peta, he was informed that David is dying and he took me with him. I stayed outside David's room. Suddenty David's mother came out and asked me to photograph them. It was their last goodbye.

I captured the moment. I knew then that something unbelievable had just happened in this room, in front of my eyes. When I asked David if I could take some photographs, he told me that he had no problem, since it wasn't for my personal benefit.

I don't earn money from this picture. But David was an activist and wanted people to know how destructive AIDS is.

I really believe he could understand more than anyone how important these pictures were. While I couldn't."


When the picture was published in the journal LIFE, it received positive reviews as well as the World Press Photo Award. An angry reaction was caused two years later, when Benetton used the colored version of the photograph in a provocative ad campaign.

David's parents never forgot about Peta who took care of their son. He also had AIDS and when, in 1992, his health was aggravated, David's family stood by his side.

According to estimations, more than 1 billion people have seen David's picture in the last 20 years.

Kevin Carter - Starvation in Sudan, 1994

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Kevin Carter - Starvation in Sudan, 1994

The South African photographer Kevin Carter, a member of the Bang - Bang Club, went to Sudan to capture with his camera the horrors of famine and poverty.

There he was confronted with the sight of a little girl, exhausted by hunger, trying to reach the feeding station of the UN.

He bent down to grab a shot of the girl's eyes. At that moment a vulture landed at a distance of 2-3 meters, waiting for the moment of death to devour the girl.

He tried not to scare the bird until he had captured the moment with his camera. When he had his best shot, he chased the vulture and continued to watch the little girl's fight for survival.

He sat under a tree and lit a cigarette while he was talking to God and crying.

"He was depressed after that. He kept on saying that he wanted to hug his daughter" Silva - who was with him on the trip - recalls.

Later, Kevin revealed that he waited for 20 minutes hoping that the bird would fly. His work received praise and harsh criticism. He earned the Pulitzer Prize in 1994. Haunted by what he had faced, his drug addiction and his financial problems, he commited suicide when he was 33 years old, three months after he won the Pulitzer.

Richard Drew - The Falling Man, 2001

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Richard Drew - The Falling Man, 2001

Richard Drew's photograph, which was called as "The Falling Man", became a symbol of the terrorist attack of September 11th, that shocked the world.

Noone knows the man's identity until today - he was one among many who wanted to jump.

It's the ultimate depiction of horror and despair. Human souls that have frozen in the air, while leading to death.

Richard Drew was informed about what was happening in World Trade Center by his chief editor.

"I suddenly saw people falling from World Trade Center. The picture had a symmetry. It's like he's falling with his head down. His foot is slightly bent at the knee. He looks like an arrow, as Tom Junod has described him.

New York Times' decision to publish the photo in their 7th page was strongly criticized. For a long period of time, the photo was kept in the file, when it appeared again in an article of Esquire in 2003.

However, as time went by, people wanted to know about this man's identity.

The reporter of The Globe and Mail Peter Cheney tried to solve the riddle. It has been said that the unknown man is Norberto Hernandez who was a pastry chef. Hernandez's family was divided over that. His brother Tino and his sister Milagros claimed that the man in the picture was Norberto. However, his daughter Jacqueline and his wife Eulogia denied it.

A feature that could help people find the man's identity is the light orange t-shirt he was wearing.

As Eulogia recalls, "He was wearing an Old Navy underwear that morning. Green. Black socks. Blue jeans. A Casio watch and a blue Old Navy shirt. Not orange."

However, another Window's employee, Jonathan Briley, used to wear an orange shirt and, according to his sister, he couldn't breath because of his asthma.

Still, the man's identity has not been officially announced.

Rich Lam - The Riot Kiss, 2011

The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs - Rich Lam - The riot kiss, 2011

The final whistle of the hockey game between Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins confirmed that the hosts lost the Stanley Cup.

Then riots broke in Vancouver's streets after the defeat and the authorities took action to reduce the incidents.

Scott Jones and Alex Thomas were found fallen on the road by police forces. Their kiss in a "war" scene was captured by Rich Lam's camera and became one of the most famous photographs in recent years.

Scott's father would upload the photo on his personal Facebook page mentioning the phrase "make love, not war" and would reveal the identity of his son.

However, many people have questioned the photograph's authenticity, while even the photographer was trying to understand what had happened when he captured the couple.

A man who witnessed the incient noted that the two young people were swept away by the police in their efforts to stay together. The girl fell first and the boy landed on her. Alex cried in pain. Scott kissed her spontaneously to calm her down.

"There was chaos. Riot police began to repel us. I noticed two young people fallen in the street. At first I thought that one of them was hurt. I knew I had captured a good photo, but only when I returned to the office did I realize that the two young people were kissing," Rich Lam said.

Scott's mother was shocked when she saw the photo: "He is our son. He always lives in his own world. My house would have to flood, if I wanted to be seen on tv, and he only had to kiss a beautiful girl."

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The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs The Story Behind 8 Famous Photographs Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 11:17 AM Rating: 5

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