This collection of 20 famous photographs has been carefully chosen because of their importance in history. Each one of these iconic images has helped shape our history and alter the world which we live in. They are some of the most powerful and influential images ever captured by some of the most famous photographers in history.
Images have a way of cutting through and triggering an immediate emotional response like nothing else can. They open a window for us to view the world through the eyes of the photographer.
Photography has helped to reinforced history making it more tangible and real. It has also made the camera an important tool not only to document history but also to help change it.
#1 Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous photo Man Jumping the Puddle | 1930
In this, one of his most iconic photos, Henri Cartier-Bresson captured a scene through a fence behind the Saint-Lazare train station in Paris.
This image became the perfect example of what Cartier-Bresson referred to as “The Decisive Moment”.
“There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.”
The French photographer is often referred to as the father of modern photojournalism.
He coined the term “The Decisive Moment” to refer to a moment when the photographer captures a fleeting second, immortalizing it in time.
#2 The famous photo The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz | 1907
Alfred Stieglitz’s famous photo The Steerage | 1907
“I stood spellbound for a while. I saw shapes related to one another—a picture of shapes, and underlying it, a new vision that held me.”
One of the most famous photographers of the early 20th Century, Stieglitz fought for photography to be taken as seriously as painting as a valid art form. His pioneering work helped to change the way many viewed photography. His NYC galleries featured many of the best photographers of the day.
His iconic image “The Steerage” not only encapsulates what he called straight photography – offering a truthful take on the world. It also gives us a more complex and multi-layered viewpoint that conveys abstraction through the shapes in the image. And how those shapes relate to one another.
I admit it took me many years to understand its genius and its message. So if you don’t “get” it right off the bat you’re in good company.