These 30 powerful photos are famous and poignant, they will forever be cemented in history. The images that were captured are so intense, they are impossible to be forgotten. They said a picture is worth a thousand words… but it’s impossible to say just how many words these are worth. Prepare to be left speechless…!
They can be cute, beautiful, funny, or enchanting, but these pictures are powerful. They are gripping and unforgettable because of the volumes they speak about the human condition – about some of the best and worst moments of contemporary human existence.
We should warn our readers that some of these pictures may upset them, while others may fill them with joy. But that’s precisely because these images reflect some of the best and worst parts of the human experience and world events. Our post of must-see photos from the past described our history while these photos, for the most part, describe our present – our suffering and our triumphs, our perseverance and our failures, our compassion and our hatred, our intelligence and our stupidity.
Some of these photographs may mean more to some of our readers than to others. But hopefully, they will remind us all that the world can always use a little bit more love, tolerance, compassion and understanding.
1. Starving boy and missionary
Image credits: Mike Wells
2. Inside an Auschwitz gas chamber
Image credits: kligon5
3. Heart surgeon after 23-hour-long (successful) heart transplant. His assistant is sleeping in the corner.
Image credits: James Stanfield
4. Father and son (1949 vs 2009)
Image credits: Vojage-Vojage
5. Diego Frazão Torquato, 12 year old Brazilian playing the violin at his teacher’s funeral. The teacher had helped him escape poverty and violence through music
Image credits: salvemasnossascriancas.blogspot.com
6. A Russian soldier playing an abandoned piano in Chechnya in 1994
Image credits: drugoi.livejournal.com
7. Young man just found out his brother was killed
Image credits: Nhat V. Meyer
8. Christians protect Muslims during prayer in the midst of the 2011 uprisings in Cairo, Egypt
Image credits: Nevine Zaki
9. A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009
Image credits: abc.net.au
10. Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months
Image credits: Louie Favorite
11. Indian homeless men wait to receive free food distributed outside a mosque ahead of Eid al-Fitr in New Delhi, India
12. Zanjeer the dog saved thousands of lives during Mumbai serial blasts in March 1993 by detecting more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades and 6406 rounds of live ammunition. He was buried with full honors in 2000
Image credits: STR News / Reuters
13. Man Falling from the World Trade Center on 9/11. “The Falling Man.”
Image credits: Richard Drew /AP
14. Alcoholic father with his son
Image credits: imgur.com
15. Embracing couple in the rubble of a collapsed factory
Image credits: Taslima Akhter
16. Sunset on Mars
Image credits: nasa.gov
17. Five-year-old gypsy boy on New Year’s Eve 2006 in the gypsy community of St. Jacques, Perpignan, Southern France. It is quite common in St. Jacques for little boys to smoke
Image credits: Jesco Denzel
18. Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon). In May 2008, cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar, leaving millions homeless and claiming more than 100,000 lives
Image credits: Brian Sokol
19. A dog named “Leao” sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of her owner, who died in the disastrous landslides near Rio de Janiero in 2011.
20. “Wait For Me Daddy,” by Claude P. Dettloff in New Westminster, Canada, October 1, 1940
Image credits: Claud Detloff
21. An old WW2 Russian tank veteran finally found the old tank in which he passed through the entire war – standing in a small Russian town as a monument
Image credits: englishrussia.com
22. Flower power
Image credits: Bernie Boston
23. A woman sits amidst the wreckage caused by a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunam, in Natori, northern Japan, in March 2011
Image credits: Asahi Shimbun, Toshiyuki Tsunenari /AP
24. The Graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, Holland, 1888
Image credits: retronaut.com
25. Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado in March, 2012
Image credits: Gary Cosby Jr. / AP
26. Demonstration of condom usage at a public market in Jayapura, capital of Papua, 2009
Image credits: Adri Tambunan
27. Russian soldiers preparing for the Battle of Kursk, July 1943
Image credits: Shirak Karapetyan-Milshtein
Update: BoredPanda reader Leif-Erik pointed out that this photograph was actually created in 2006-2007 for a photo competition. It is based on archive photos from the war in Russia in 1941-1945.
28. During massive floods in Cuttack City, India, in 2011, a heroic villager saved numerous stray cats by carrying them with a basket balanced on his head
Image credits: Biswaranjan Rout / AP
29. An Afghan man offers tea to soldiers
30. Some parents, likely now in their 70′s, still looking for their missing child.
Image credits: reddit.com
(A big thanks to BoredPanda for collecting them.)