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5 Photos That Changed The World

Every day, millions of photos are snapped in countries all over the world but what ones have changed the course of history and the way we live today?

| General Photography


If someone asked you what you think are the most influential images of all time, which would you pick? It's not an easy question and we're sure that every individual would have a different answer and reasons for choosing the images they do. It's a question that takes some serious consideration to answer but The School of Photography have taken on the challenge, choosing 5 images they think have helped shape the way we live today.

Please be warned – Some of the photos and stories shown in the video are graphic in nature and are not suitable for under 18’s. They also have a few similarities with the TIME magazine's list of 100 images they believe are the most influential of all time.

 The School of Photography's top 5 features 'Latticed window at Lacock Abbey', August 1835, by Henry Fox Talbot, 'The Horse in Motion' by Eadweard Muybridge, 1878, 'Earthrise' by William Anders, 1968, 'Execution' by Eddie Adams, 1968 and 'Death of Alan Kurdi' by Nilüfer Demir, 2015.

Here's why The School of Photography chose the images they did: 


'Latticed window at Lacock Abbey', August 1835, by Henry Fox Talbot

It made photography cheaper and more accessible to people. This is the first example of that process and clearly goes down in history as one of the most important photos that changed the world. Who knows, if this wasn’t evented, maybe photography would be a completely different medium.


'The Horse in Motion' by Eadweard Muybridge, 1878

This image Paved the way for motion picture, the moving image. If it wasn’t for Muybridge, you may not have film scenes of alien ships blowing up stuff, or women on the end of cruise ships shouting "I'm on top of the world".


'Earthrise' by William Anders, 1968

In Life's 100 Photographs that Changed the World, wilderness photographer Galen Rowell called Earthrise "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken". Another author called its appearance the beginning of the environmental movement. Fifty years to the day after taking the photo, William Anders observed, "We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth."


'Execution' by Eddie Adams, 1968

The photograph and footage were broadcast worldwide, galvanizing the anti-war movement. Adams' photo of the event became one of the most famous and influential images of the war, winning him the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.


'Death of Alan Kurdi' by Nilüfer Demir, 2015

On 2 January 2016, a feature article on the BBC News website opened with the words: "It was one of those moments when the whole world seems to care." It went on to quote Alan Kurdi's aunt Tima Kurdi: "It was something about that picture, God put the light on that picture to wake up the world."


You can read more on each photograph over on The School of Photography website. 

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tciochon  Avatar
3 Sep 2020 7:45PM
Powerful video. 'Death of Alan Kurdi' perhaps slightly more impactful with Europeans than Americans. The 2019 image of drowned father and infant daughter in the Rio Grande River on the U.S./ Mexico border at least as impactful and difficult to view for me.

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