The 60 Best photographs of all time

The creation of the camera undoubtedly changed the world, with pivotal moments able to be captured forever. We’ve gathered some of history’s most iconic images; photos that have brought inspiration, sadness, and every emotion in between, to audiences since the moment they were developed. These are the 60 best photographs of all time.

1. One of the most iconic and emotionally moving images ever captured. Thích Quảng Đức’s self-immolation in Vietnam, 1963, shot by Malcolm Browne.

 

2. The end of World War II, a sailor jubilantly kisses a woman in Times Square, 1945. Captured by Albert Eisenstaedt.

 

3. World War II, 1945. U.S. Troops raise a flag in Iwo Jima. An incredibly important image for Americans to this day. The moment was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal.

 

4. The Great Depression, 1936. A worried mother looks on, wondering how to feed her children. Photographed by Dorothea Lange.

 

5. The Hindenburg disaster, 1937 – representing the end of the use of passenger-carrying airships. The explosion was captured by Sam Shere.

 

6. The immediate aftermath of an accidental napalm attack is captured by Nick Ut during the Vietnam war in 1972. The photo helped turn the opinions of Americans against the war.

 

7. Pure bravery in the face of an unjust regime. The iconic “Tank man”, whose actual identity remains unknown. His defiance was captured by Jeff Widener in 1989.

 

8. “Guerillo Heroico” by Alberto Korda – now incredibly famous in popular culture, this image of Che Guevara in 1960 acts as a symbol of rebellion.

 

9. The 1968 black power salute – American athletes at their Olympic Games medal ceremony. Photographed by John Dominis.

 

10. Jesse Owens, a black USA Olympic athlete, defies Hitler’s will and notions of Aryan supremacy by winning gold in the 100m sprint and performing a salute, captured by Heinrich Hoffman during the 1936 Olympic Games.

 

11. An affront to evil. This formally unidentified soldier stood up to Heinrich Himmler upon his inspection of the POW camp. The moment was shot by Heinrich Hoffman in 1941.

 

12. Neil Armstrong, photographed by Buzz Aldrin just moments after becoming the first human to step foot on the moon in 1969.

 

13. Michael Collins photographs the lunar module in 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin inside, making him the only human in the world to not be in the photo.

 

14. It’s none other than Marilyn Monroe, in that dress, standing over that subway grate. The image was captured by the press who were covering her filming for the movie ‘The Seven Year Itch’ in 1955.

 

15. The unforgettable image of construction workers eating lunch atop a skyscraper in New York, 1932. The photographer remains unknown.

 

16. D-Day – 1944, an American soldier makes his way through the surf on Omaha Beach. Brave war photographer Robert Capa captured the moment.

 

17. Babe Ruth retires the No.3 jersey for the New York Yankees in June 1948, dying of cancer just 2 months later. Photograph by Nat Fein.

 

18.The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, 1945. A stark reminder of the horrors of war. The aerial view was shot by Lieutenant Charles Levy.

 

19. The “Pillars of Creation”, captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. The “Pillars” are in fact clouds of interstellar dust. Cool, huh?

 

20. President Eisenhower meets Helen Keller in 1955, with the press on hand to take photographs.

 

21. Annette Kellerman was arrested for indecency following this shot of her promoting fitted women’s’ swimwear in 1907.

 

22. Pete Souza captures Barack Obama and others as they watch live footage of the Navy Seals during their mission in Osama Bin Laden’s compound, 2011.

 

23. The Mars Rover captures the sun setting on the planet in 2005.

 

24. The green eyed “Afghan Girl” by Steve McCurry, 1984.

 

25. The most star-studded selfie you could ever imagine. The photo was snapped by Bradley Cooper and uploaded by Ellen DeGeneres in 2014, to be retweeted more than 3 million times.

 

26. “Wait for me, Daddy!” – A Canadian father’s child runs after him as he enlists for war, 1940. Photograph by Claude P. Dettloff.

 

27. “The big three” (Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin) meet for the Tehran conference in 1943. The photographer is unknown.

 

28. “War is Hell” – by Horst Faas in 1965, Vietnam. Enough said.

 

29. “Dali Atomicus” – 1948. A portrait of Salvador Dali in the style of his paintings, by Philippe Halsman.

 

30. The earliest surviving photo ever taken, courtesy of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. It shows a view from a window at Le Gras, France, in 1826.

 

31. The first medical X-ray image by Willhelm Röntgen in 1895, it features his wife’s hand.

 

32. “Cotton Mill Girl”, Photographed in 1908 by Lewis Hine. His goal was to highlight the horrors of child labour, and he was largely successful.

 

33. Gandhi is pictured with his spinning wheel in 1946, by Margaret Bourke-White.

 

34. The first camera phone picture. Creator Phillip Kahn pictures his new born daughter, Sophie, in 1997.

 

35. “99 Cent” (taken in 1999 by Andreas Gursky) consists of different shots melded together.

 

36. A portrait of Sir Winston Churchill in 1941, the photographer (Yousuf Karsh) had just taken Churchill’s cigar away from him for a better shot, leading to his iconic scowl.

 

37. A Jewish boy surrenders in Warsaw, 1943. The photographer remains unknown.

 

38. A fire escape collapse in 1975, by Stanley Forman, it won World Press Photo of the Year.

 

39. The Beatles’ pillow fight in Paris, just before they shot to fame in 1964. The fun moment was captured by Harry Benson.

 

40. Known as the photo that “changed the face of AIDS”, David Kirkby is photographed by Therese Frare with his family on his deathbed in 1990.

 

41. The Soviet Union raising a flag over the Reichstag during the battle of Berlin in 1945. Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei.

 

42. In Donna Ferrato’s publication ‘Behind Closed Doors’, she captured actual examples of domestic abuse on women. This one, taken in 1982, helped lead to Congress passing the violence against women act in 1994.

 

43. Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston after his KO in 1965. Photographer Neil Leifer captured the iconic moment.

 

44. “The Horse in Motion” by Eadweard Muybridge in 1878. The photos were used to prove that horses are indeed airborne for a fraction of a second during each stride.

 

45. The portrait photograph that helped propel Abraham Lincoln to the Whitehouse, this was the first use of photographic propaganda. Taken by Matthew Brady in the year 1860.

 

46. “Milk Drop Coronet” by Harold Edgerton – a simple concept to us now, but freezing and capturing the effects of a milk drop in 1957 was revolutionary.

 

47. Betty Grable in 1943, the photo that kept the American military force motivated to fight against the Axis of Evil. Shot by Frank Powolny.

 

48. The Loch Ness Monster, this 1934 photo by the “Surgeon” is of course known to be a hoax, but it is a memorable lie.

 

49. Josef Koudelka captures the build up to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

 

50. The Munich massacre during the 1972 Olympic games in West Germany, where 11 Israeli Olympic team members were murdered, along with a German police officer. This photograph by Kurt Strumpf captured one of the attackers on a balcony.

 

51. The Kent State shooting in 1970, captured by John Paul Filo. The photo won him a Pulitzer Prize award.

 

52. Robert Capa captures an image of a Spanish Civil War fighter falling to the ground after being shot in 1936. It was henceforth known as “The Falling Soldier”. Controversy surrounded it, as some claimed it was set up.

 

53. “Country Doctor” by W. Eugene Smith, 1948. He followed the doctor for 23 days and produced an essay detailing the man’s life and work.

 

54. Tami Silicio’s photograph of deceased US troops returning home from Iraq in 2004. Such images were banned for use by American media outlets in 1991, and Silicio lost her job as a result of it being published in the Seattle Times, with her consent.

 

55. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, it marks the first time in almost 400 years that a ‘commoner’ married so close to the throne. Paparazzi captured the memorable occasion in their droves.

 

56. In 1932 James Vanderzee pictured a black couple in fur coats, with a Cadillac Roadster, challenging the notion that black people were inferior.

 

57. ‘Cowboy’ by Richard Prince, 1989. This was, in fact, a photo of a photo. The original was an ad for Marlborough.

 

58. Irony at its finest, Margaret Bourke-White’s photograph of black flood victims in Kentucky in 1937.

 

59. “Molotov Man” – taken by Susan Meiselas in 1979. It depicts the socialist Sandinistas’ fight against the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua.

 

60. August Sander’s portrait photograph of a German bricklayer in 1928.

 

There you have it, some are powerful and some tug at the deepest part of our souls, but they’re all immortal.

 

Have you captured your own piece of history? Let us know what it was, or better yet, print it out and show it with pride as a high-quality poster!

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