20 of the most influential images ever

A thousand words are worth a thousand pictures, but not all photos are created equal. The photographs we often publish might be charming, gorgeous, humorous, or captivating, but they are also profound and significant. They are riveting and unforgettable because they tell us volumes about the human condition—about some of the finest and darkest moments of modern human existence.

We should warn our readers that some of these images may distress them, while others may delight them. However, this is due to the fact that these images reflect both the greatest and worst aspects of human experience and world events. Our article of must-see photographs from the past portrayed our history, but these photos mostly explain our present—our suffering and achievements, our tenacity and failures, our compassion and hatred, our intellect and idiocy. From the Flower Power movement to horrific photographs of concentration camp gas chambers, war photos, tsunami shots, and the Battle of Kursk, there’s something for everyone. These amazing photographs undoubtedly depict all aspects of mankind.

Certain of these historical photographs may be more meaningful to some of our readers than others. But, ideally, they will serve as a reminder to everyone that the world could always use a little more love, tolerance, compassion, and understanding.
We always do our best to acknowledge each photographer, but it’s occasionally hard to find some of them. If you know who the missing writers are, please leave a comment.

1. A hungry kid and a missionary

2. A heart surgeon after a successful (23-hour) heart transplant. His helper is sleeping in the corner.

3. Father and son (1949 vs 2009)

4. Diego Frazo Torquato, a 12-year-old Brazilian boy, plays the violin at the funeral of his instructor. Through music, the teacher assisted him in escaping poverty and violence.

5. In 1994, a Russian soldier plays an abandoned piano in Chechnya.

6. During the 2011 Cairo protests, Christians protected Muslims during prayer.

7. During the deadly Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009, a fireman provides water to a koala.

8. Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after 7 months in Iraq.

9. Indian homeless men line up outside a mosque in New Delhi, India, to collect free food in preparation for Eid al-Fitr.

10. During the Mumbai serial explosions in March 1993, Zanjeer the dog saved thousands of lives by detecting more than 3,329 kg of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades, and 6406 rounds of live fire. In the year 2000, he was laid to rest with full military honors.

11. Sunset on Mars

12. Hhaing The Yu, 29, clutches his face in his palm as rain pours down on the wreckage of his home outside Yangon, Myanmar’s capital (Rangoon). In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit southern Myanmar and killed more than 100,000 people, and forced millions to leave their homes.

13. «Wait For Me Daddy,» written by Claude P. Dettloff and released on October 1, 1940, in New Westminster, Canada.

14. A Russian tank soldier from World War II found the old tank he used during the war. It is now a memorial in a small Russian town.

15. Flower power

16. Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her in the wreckage of his Alabama home after the March 2012 tornado.

17. During catastrophic floods in Cuttack City, India, in 2011, a brave villager saved several stray cats by carrying them on his head in a basket.

18. An Afghan guy serves soldiers tea.

19. Some parents, most likely in their 70s, are still looking for their child who has gone missing.

20. In March 2011, a lady rests among the ruins left by a huge earthquake and following the tsunami in Natori, northern Japan.

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