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20 Most Iconic Photos And The Cameras That Captured Them

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20 Most Iconic Photos And The Cameras That Captured Them

These are some of the most historical pictures that you might have seen in textbooks, movies, galleries and places you don’t remember anymore.

Pictures store a thousand stories, but historical pictures store only one. Especially these photographs that many of us recognize to be especially iconic. But did you know the men who captured these pictures or even the camera that they used?

Check who, what and how these pictures were taken during the time when the camera was either a luxury or hobby?

1. ‘Earthrise’ by William Anders (1968) with Modified Hasselblad 500 El

‘Earthrise’ was taken during Apollo 8 mission and the photograph was taken from lunar orbit on December 24, 1968, 16:00 UTC. The camera had a 70 mm film magazine Kodak-developed custom Ektachrome film. It also used a 250 mm lens on a highly modified Hasselblad 500 EL.

2. ‘Tank Man’ by Jeff Widener (1989) with Nikon Fe2

The photograph is also called ‘Unknown Protester’ and ‘Unknown Rebel’ of a man who stood obstructing tanks after they pressured protesters in the Tiananmen Sq. by force. It was rumored that up to thousands of students died and this rare picture was taken and managed to be smuggled as part of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

3. TIME magazine cover By Lyle Owerko (2001) with Fuji 645zi

Owerko was coincidentally standing there with a camera in his hand in 2001. He took some pictures right when it stroke and the pictures became the cover of TIME magazine.

4. ‘Burning Monk’ by Malcolm Browne (1963) with Petri

The ‘Burning Monk’ was Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who self-immolated and meditated to death at Saigon road intersection on June 11, 1963, to protest against the persecution against Buddhist monks by South Vietnamese government.

A Japanese-made Petri camera was used by Malcolm Browne to take this picture while he doesn’t really remember what exposure was used.

5. ‘Afghan Girl’ by Steve McCurry (1984) with Nikon Fm2

Journalist Steve McCurry took this portrait in 1984 for the cover of National Geographic in June 1985. The girl was later identified as Sharbat Gula in 2002 who lived in Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan when the Soviet was occupating Afghanistan when the picture was taken.

6. ‘The Hindenburg Disaster’ by Sam Shere (1937) by Speed Graphic

Taken on May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg disaster occurred to a German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg which caught fire when docking. The incident killed 36 people out of 97.

7. ‘Fire Escape Collapse’ by Stanley Forman (1975) with Nikon F

19-year-old Diana Bryant and her 2-year-old goddaughter Tiare Jones were escaping fire from the fire escape from the fifth floor when it collapses. The fire broke out in an apartment on Marlborough Street on July 22, 1975. The two free fall from approximately 50 feet high when firefighters were extending their ladders to reach the two.

8. ‘Migrant Mother’ by Dorothea Lange (1936) with Graflex Super D

This is Florence Owens Thompson and she was traveling with her family on US Highway 101 when the chain timing snapped. They decided to set a camp on a local pea-picker farm where, to their surprise, more than 2,500 pickers were settling in due to crop failure. Thompson & partner with their two children were waiting when Dorothea Lange from Resettlement Administration came and took pictures of her family.

9. Abbey Road Album Cover by Iain Macmillan (1969) with Hasselblad

Yoko Ono introduced John Lennon to Iain Macmillan who was later invited to take Abbey Road cover picture. Abbey Road is where EMI Studios where their recording takes place. It was later called the Abbey Road Studios.

Macmillan took the picture with a Hasselblad camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens, aperture f22, at 1/500 seconds.

10. ‘D-Day’ by Robert Capa (1944) with Contax Ii

This is part of Magnificent Eleven taken by war photographer Robert Capa. There 106 pictures taken, but most of them were destroyed in an accident in the photo lab of Live Magazine in London. Only eleven was salvaged and Stephen Spielberg was said to have been inspired by them when directing ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

11. ‘The Terror Of War’ by Nick Ut (1972) with Leica M3

This is a picture of a naked 9-year-old girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, running away from a napalm strike that mistakenly hit Trảng Bàng village on June 8, 1972, instead of the North Vietnamese Troops. It was taken by Huỳnh Công Út, known professionally as Nick Ut, a Vietnamese American photographer. 

12. ‘V-J Day In Times Square’ by Alfred Eisenstaedt (1945) with Leica Iiia

On Victory over Japan Day (“V-J Day”) in New York City’s Times Square on August 14, 1945, a man grabbed a stranger and kissed her, which was an act that is usually encouraged by media personnel. But this one was spontaneous and the woman, although did not consent to it, did not take offense to it.

Alfred Eisenstaedt took this picture moments before the president declared the end of the war with Japan.

13. ‘Raising The Flag On Iwo Jima’ by Joe Rosenthal (1945) with Speed Graphic

This is a picture of six US marine troops raising their flag on top of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, and Private First Class Franklin Sousley were killed in action while Corporals (then Private First Class) Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and Harold Schultz survived.

14. ‘Invasion 68: Prague’ by Josef Koudelka (1968) with Exacta Varex

Koudelka took pictures of military forces from Warsaw Pact invaded Prague and crushed Prague Spring. The negatives were later smuggled to Magnum Agency where his pictures were published in The Sunday Times Magazine anonymously to keep his family saves from repercussions.

15. ‘Raising A Flag Over The Reichstag’ by Yevgeny Khaldei (1945) with Leica Iii

This is an iconic World War II picture during the Battle of Berlin on May 2, 1945. The battle began on April 20 and ended on May 2, taking the tolls of 70,000 Russians and was the bell cue to the end of Adolf Hitler. It was a win for Soviet against Nazi and to this day, not one soul knows who were the men in the picture or even for sure, who the photographer was. Yevgeny Khaldei was said to be the photographer.

16. By Paul Goresh with Minolta Xg-1

Mark David Chapman asked for Lennon’s sign who was with his wife, Yoko Ono on December 8, 1980. Paul Goresh was a fan and a photographer and this picture became iconic as it’s Lennon giving Chapman a sign.

He later shot five bullets under the entrance archway in Dakota, his residence in New York after Lennon glanced at the man from recognizing him.

17. ‘Tokyo Stabbing’ by Yasushi Nagao (1960) with Speed Graphic

17-year-old nationalist Otoya Yamaguchi assassinated Japanese politician Inejiro Asanuma on October 12, 1960. Yamaguchi barged onto the stage during a debate while Japanese television company NHK recorded him running his sword to Asanuma’s left ribs and killed him.

Yasushi Nagao won Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo of the Year for this picture.

18. ‘The Shooting Of Lee Harvey Oswald’ by Robert Jackson (1963) with Nikon S3

American Marxist and former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy. He was killed by a nightclub owner Jack Ruby two days later in this picture at the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters.

19. ‘Guerillero Heroico’ by Alberto Korda (1969) with Leica M2

This portrait of controversial leader Che Guevara when he wads 31 years old was taken on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba.

Korda was drawn by his “absolute implacability” expression and his execution later than decade solidified his charisma.

20. ‘The Soiling Of Old Glory’ by Stanley Forman (1976) with Nikon F

The Pulitzer-winning photograph depicts a white teenager, Joseph Racks assaulting a black lawyer and civil activist, Ted Landsmark with a flagpole bearing American’s flag.

Stanley Forman took this picture during the Boston busing crisis on April 5, 1976.

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