Photos from History That Can Change Your Views

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It’s simple to get stuck in our ways of thinking in this day and age when knowledge is easily accessible and views are formed quickly. But occasionally, a single image can refute our assumptions, arouse empathy, and change the way we see the world. Some pictures have always been more than just records; they are now potent symbols that can alter our perceptions of the world, people, and ourselves.

1. The Blue Marble (1972)

This famous space photo of Earth, taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts, provides a sobering view of the vulnerability and interdependence of our planet. It emphasizes the value of environmental stewardship and the splendor of our common home. It helps to remember that Earth is a small, fragile ball floating in the expanse of space and that we must safeguard it for coming generations.

2. Tank Man (1989)

This image, which was taken during the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, shows an unnamed individual by himself in front of a line of tanks. His act of resistance against an overwhelming military force serves as a symbol of both the strength of peaceful resistance and the fight for personal freedom. It reminds people of their ability to be brave and resilient in the face of injustice, encouraging many people all over the world to stand up for what they believe in.

3. Napalm Girl (1972)

In a single frame, this Pulitzer Prize-winning image by Nick Ut conveyed the brutality of the Vietnam War. The image depicts nine-year-old Kim Phuc sprinting along a road in her underwear, with her skin scorched by napalm. This horrifying picture exposed the cruelty of war and stunned the entire world, igniting opposition to the war. It is nevertheless a powerful reminder of the human cost of conflict and the necessity of empathy and compassion in the fight for world peace.

4. Migrant Mother (1936)

An enduring emblem of poverty and resiliency in America is Dorothea Lange’s somber photo of Florence Owens Thompson, a migrant worker who struggled to feed her children during the Great Depression. The image made millions of Americans’ poverty more relatable, which increased public awareness of the issue and prompted government action to combat economic disparity. It dispels myths about poverty and serves as a reminder of the strength and dignity that every person possesses, no matter what their circumstances.

5. The Falling Man (2001)

Richard Drew took this picture of a guy falling from the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks. This image, albeit contentious and extremely unpleasant, serves as a sobering reminder of the human tragedy and innocent lives lost on that awful day. It forces us to acknowledge the existence of terrorism and bloodshed and to pay tribute to the people whose lives were taken by hateful deeds.