Top 10 Pictures That Shocked The World


It has often been said throughout time that a picture is worth a thousand words. Any picture may be worth a thousand words, but only a few rare photos tell more than a thousand words. They tell a powerful story, a story poignant enough to change the world and galvanize each of us. Over and over again…

From the iconic images of Omayra Sanchez’s tragic death to the horrifying images of the Bhopal Gas disaster in 1984, the power of photography is still alive and invincible.

Here is my top 10 list of photos that shocked the world:

Warning: Be prepared for images of violence and death (in one  case, the photograph of a dead child) if you scroll down.

10. Kosovo Refugees (Carol Guzy)

Kosovo Refugees (Carol Guzy)

Carol Guzy, the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography, received her most recent Pulitzer in 2000 for her touching photographs of Kosovo refugees.

The above picture portrays Agim Shala, a two-year-old boy, who is passed through a fence made with barbed wire to his family. Thousands of Kosovo refugees were reunited and camped in Kukes, Albania.

9. War Underfoot (Carolyn Cole)

War Underfoot (Carolyn Cole)

Los Angeles Times photographer Carolyn Cole took this terrifying photo during her assignment in Liberia. It shows the devastating effects of the Liberian Civil War.

Bullet casings cover entirely a street in Monrovia. The Liberian capital was the worst affected region, because it was the scene of heavy fighting between government soldiers and rebel forces.

8. Thailand Massacre (Neil Ulevich)

Thailand Massacre (Neil Ulevich)

Neal Ulevich won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for a “series of photographs of disorder and brutality in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand”  (

The Thammasat University Massacre took place on October 6, 1976. It was a very violent attack on students who were demonstrating against Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn.

F. M. T. Kittikachorn was a dictator who was planning to come back to Thailand. The return of the military dictator from exile provoked very violent protests. Protestors and students were beaten, mutilated, shot, hung and burnt to death.

7. After the Storm (Patrick Farrell)

After the Storm (Patrick Farrell)

Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell captured the harrowing images of the victims of Haiti in 2008. Farrell documented the Haitian tragedy with impressive black-and-white stills. The subject of “After the Storm” is a boy who is trying to save a stroller after the tropical storm Hanna struck Haiti.

More photos of Patrick Farrell: A People in Despair: Haiti’s year without mercy

6. The Power of One (Oded Balilty)


In 2006, Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of illegal outposts, such as Amona. Oded Balilty, an Israeli photographer for the Associated Press, was present when the evacuation degenerated into violent and unprecedented clashes between settlers and police officers. The picture shows a brave woman rebelling against authorities.

Like many pictures on this list, “The Power of One” has been another subject of major controversy. Ynet Nili is the 16-year-old Jewish settler from the above picture. According to Ynet, “a picture like this one is a mark of disgrace for the state of Israel and is nothing to be proud of. The picture looks like it represents a work of art, but that isn’t what went on there. What happened in Amona was totally different.” Nili claims the police beat her up very harshly. “You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion – behind the many stands one man – (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert, but behind me stand the Lord and the people of Israel.”

5. World Trade Center 9/11 (Steve Ludlum)

World Trade Center 9/11 (Steve Ludlum)

The power of Steve Ludlum’s photos are astounding, and the written description only tends to dilute the impact. The consequences of the second aircraft crashing into New York’s WTC were devastating: fireballs erupted and smoke billowed from the skyscrapers anticipating the towers’ collapse and monstrous dust clouds.

4. After the Tsunami (Arko Datta)

One of the most representative and striking photos of the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami was taken by Reuters photographer Arko Datta  in Tamil Nadu. He won the World Press Photo competition of 2004. Kathy Ryan, jury member and picture editor of  The New York Times Magazine, characterized Datta’s image as a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture.”

“After the Tsunami” illustrates an Indian woman lying on the sand with her arms outstretched, mourning a dead family member. Her relative was killed by one of the deadliest natural disasters that we have ever seen: the Indian Ocean tsunami.

3. Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984 (Pablo Bartholomew)


Pablo Bartholomew is an acclaimed Indian photojournalist who captured the Bhopal Gas Tragedy into his lens. Twenty-six years have passed since India’s worst industrial catastrophe injured 558,125 people and killed as many as 15,000. Because safety standards and maintenance procedures had been ignored at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, a leak of methyl isocyanate  gas and other chemicals triggered a  massive environmental and human disaster. Photographer Pablo Bartholomew rushed to document the catastrophe. He came across a man who was burying a child. This scene was photographed by both Pablo Bartholomew and Raghu Rai, another renowned Indian photojournalist. “This expression was so moving and so powerful to tell the whole story of the tragedy”, said Raghu Rai.

2. Operation Lion Heart (Deanne Fitzmaurice)


Pulitzer Prize award winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice won the highly respected award in 2005 for the photographic essay “Operation Lion Heart.”

“Operation Lion Heart” is the story of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who was severely injured by an explosion during one of the most violent conflicts of modern history – the Iraq War. The boy was brought to a hospital in Oakland, CA where he had to undergo dozens of life-and-death surgeries. His courage and unwillingness to die gave him the nickname: Saleh Khalaf, “Lion Heart”.

Deanne Fitzmaurice’s shocking photographs ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in a five-part series written by Meredith May.

1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fourier)

Frank Fournier captured the tragic image of Omayra Sanchez trapped in mud and collapsed buildings. The eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia 1985 triggered a massive mudslide. It devastated towns and killed 25,000 people.

After 3 days of struggling, Omayra died due to hypothermia and gangrene. Her tragic death accentuated the failure of officials to respond quickly and save the victims of Colombia’s worst ever natural disaster. Frank Fournier took this photo shortly before Omayra died. Her agonizing death was followed live on TV by hundreds of millions of people around the world and started a major controversy. May her soul rest in peace…

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    • ok people , i see alot of tension here , here is my bit,,,,,watch what happens to the world in the next ten years, populations are out of controll , pollution , fossile fules drying up , unemployment, americia about to fall because there economy is seriously screwed,many species are getting extinct each and every day,this is nothing compared to whats comming, mark my words, we are all in for a massive global change , and we all sit here and bitch about this or that like jackals fighting over a corpse,and nothing gets done , serously , prepare for whats comming .

      • You’re on the right track, but how can you expect people to take you seriously unless you can spell..?

      • ProfessorExpert on

        Quite false what you said.

        Population is not out-of-control; in fact, the opposite is the problem. We do not have neough people to pay the debt with which our politicians have cursed our countries.

        Pollution is like racism — there are pockets of it, and when it rears its ugly head, it becomes incredible front page news. Being it so rare now.

        Liberalism, the religion, requires hyperbole in order to justify its existence. Don’t give in to it.

        Your spelling is not a problem for me.

      • your so right everybody just sits they and dont do anything. and when that comes then everybody is going to regret not preparing for this. someone needs to get up and take action. the world in like 10-15 years will be so messed up its not even funny!

    • take photos of what Israel doing to Palestinian people .
      and don’t act like you care please .
      because you don’t or else you would have taken photos of Palestinian children long time ago

        • Wake up man anywhere is a place to take a political stand when no one else will Mr. Sheeple.

          Israel indiscriminately kills Palestinian civilians, uses weapons BANNED BY THE UN like WHITE PHOSPHOROUS bombs to ATTACK civilians, bulldozes whole neighborhoods, allows heavily armed groups of Israeli military families called “settlers” to build huge walled villages in the best plots of land in the west bank ILLEGALLY, and encloses entire Palestinian villiges with 20 concrete walls creating the worlds largest open air prisons!

        • Then why don’t they leave. They have 20+ arab states to go join their brothers and celebrate the most intolerant faith in the world – Islam. Israel allows people of all faiths to be free. The so called Palestinians are lead by those whom only want to destroy the state of Israel. Israel really should just force them into Jordan , the real Palestinians state.

        • Yeah just kick them off of their own land again! How about kicking the Israeli’s out? its not their land bro. They stole it.

        • I suspect you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I won’t spend half an hour typing the history behind Israel and Palestine, so will provide a link that will hopefully educate narrow-minded individuals such as yourself to the TRUE story behind the alleged “occupation”.

      • What about the Israel children killed by the Palestinian rockets, etc. There are no winners in a war! Any loss of life is tragic…

        • The tragedy of the ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinians is that it is happening right now and continues unabated. Anyone who can support what is being done to the Palestinians is evil and no twisting of the truth will change that irrefutable fact. The American government is dominated by the “Israel First” traitors who are not serving the interests of the American people. Traitors should be dealt with appropriately.

  1. Alexandria Baucco on

    I feel like Kevin Carter’s 1994 picture of the starving boy in Africa deserves some honorable mention. That was the most emotionally charged piece of photojournalism I’ve ever seen, and it also won the Pultzer prize.

      • Henrietta Langeveldt on

        I fully agree. That picture of the bird waiting for the child to die is bitterly disturbing, but showed us the reality of the situation. It should be on this list…….

        • Fiona-Jayne Massie on

          For one thing, it was a girl that was photographed, not a boy.

          But I definitely agree. Kevin Carter’s photo is usually voted as one of the most – if not the most – shocking Pulitzer Prize winning photo of all time. It has such a rich and controversial history. Many accounts suggest that Carter waited 20 minutes for the vulture to open its wings, in order to create a more striking and menacing image instead of helping the toddler get to a feeding centre. João Silva, who accompanied Carter to Sudan, refutes this claim, but considering Carter committed suicide just over a year later… Dunno, there’s a lot going on. The photo has so much pain, suffering and sadness surrounding it.

    • Oh my goodness, that was probably one of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. It just further pushes the point that life is not fair in any way shape or form. It just helps to think that, that little boy is in a better place.

    • Kevin Carter committed suicide after taking that film after word got out that he spent over twenty minutes arranging the photograph before taking it (and in the meantime selfishly prolonging the child’s suffering). Powerful photo but the cost of the message over the singular dignity and need of a starving child makes it a noxious and exploitative piece of photography that cannot be endorsed.

      • That so called “noxious piece of photography,” that you refer to started a world wide campaining called, “Life Aid.” Thats why it won an award… the photographer committed suicide because of the public revolt towards him. He obviously was a very sensitive guy to begin with and the bad publicity caused him to take his own life.

        The publicity stirred whole nations into action. But obnoxious people like you will never realise that. for what it’s worth. You would rather not see the bad things that go on in the world and would rather they were hiddne then you can live life and not worry about the thousands of deaths that take place every day due to people starving. What a sick twist and a joke .

      • No he didn’t. He took his life because he couldn’t stand watching the world die, he couldn’t live with the hundreds of thousands of images in his mind from his time in Africa, and he DID help that little girl, he did get rid of the bird and he DID so much good in his life he is rolling in his grave to think all he’s remembered for is one photograph and a warped story that is mostly falsity… Get it together and before you voice an opinion, perhaps you should get your facts strait.

  2. Unfortunately, the most famous pictures are the most tragic moments in history. The touching photo of the starving Sudanese child is one of the most ‘famous’ pictures in the world, so we thought to share some less known yet powerful images.

    • This are some powerful images… mostly the children pictures… WOW it is admirable of photographers to go around the world and being there at the right moment to capture history.

    • I also think that it is such a sad and beautiful picture. But i stopped and thought, what if that was my baby…. dead.

  3. Well, that Israeli woman now knows how it feels when your land is taken away from you – by force – like what the Israelis did to the Palestinians.

    • This picture was not for your intensions of revenge or satisfaction of any way. You’re truely sick for saying such a thing. This picture shows the pain and agony they suffered. It should not make you smile or be at peace in any way.

      • Give me a break. If only you knew the hell israliens have been putting palestines through. Do we need a tragic picture for you to relate to what he said or something?

        • I suggest you watch Paradise Now, Alexis. It’ll give you a small glimpse of what Blah is talking about.

        • i agree and honestly if you guys want to blame someone for this, blame europe and the sykes-picot agreement early 20th century.

        • Hey Dark, how’s about you go and try to live on a plot of land surrounded by nations with an extreme intolerance for any religion that isn’t theirs and see how you like it? I’m sure it’d be just dandy.

          After all, it’s not like you’d be forced to fight for your own life or anything. Why would you need to do that?


        • You mean, like when the Romans burnt down Jerusalem and kicked Israel out? Then renamed the area Palestine just to irk the Jews? Yeah, like that?

          But what am I saying. That doesn’t count right? I mean, it was done to the Israeli’s right? So, no harm?

        • Yeah, so if a Native American came to your house and said, “Hey…my people lived here hundreds of years ago, and because of my religion, I have a right to your house. Get out.” I am sure you would oblige.

        • Supposedly there were people living here long before the Native Americans came here. I don’t really want to get involved, just trying to uncharge the situation. It’s a crazy and ridiculous world of survival of the fittest or whatever you want to call it. I don’t think we would know what to do if there was everlasting peace.

    • Love Your Neighbour on

      Do on to others as you would have them do onto you! We are humans, not black/white/asian etc. this is OUR earth. Revenge no matter what the reason leaves everyone empty! So what you’re saying is that we should all go kill and torture German people because some sick Germans did that to other people? I pray for you that you find it in your heart to be more compassionate towards your fellow man no matter what their race/religion/orientation etc. God Bless!

    • Heather, you know so little of history. Israel PURCHASED their land .. when it was an arid, seemingly uninhabitable piece of desert that no one wanted. Once it was developed, anti-Jewish groups began to send in ‘settlers’ to say the land was taken by force. The rest was spoils of war. Educate yourself.

    • Oh please, I’m sick and tired of Palestinians and their claim that Israel took the land they are on away from the Palestinians. Never happened, they’ve always been there. The Palestinians need to get over themselves and be happy with what they have. This constant fighting and pushing and shoving accomplishes nothing but costs many lives every year. Shouldn’t surprise anyone though, the Arab nations are a war like people and always will be, it’s in their blood.

      • seriously… anyone of arabic blood has war in their blood? ok the UN made israel on where they assumed the original Israel was in order for people of hebrew nationality in europe to have a place to go after WWII… palestinians have been around since before the Jews since Jews are only the descendants of Juda only 2 of the 12 tribes kept any of that claim of being Israelites and actually technically have no right to the land since the bible says they were not the chosen ones and were punished for turning from him… now if there is a UN mandate that was agreed to who gets which land then there is absolutly no reason for palestine to be completely taken over and have so called “settlers” destroying their land… the fighting is because of greed and ppl fighting to keep what is theirs… we need to enforce rulings made by the UN like it is the law and then everyone can live more at peace

      • What hv u done Israel!!! on

        With all the evidence in front ur eyes and the real history that explain everything u just keep on ignore the truth. Am an Arab and I had never figh or even think of killing human but still u think u know ppl and that’s that.

        If u think that Arab r the real war nations then ask ur self ignornt Fool who did creat Hamas?? It was the F Israel !!! they chose Shiia ppl and group them to kill the other Sinna Muslims but the wepon that they creat become their enemy.

        See this F up calculation
        “” Besides killing between 1,200 and 1,500 Palestinians, most of them civilians and 40 percent of them women and children (compared with 13 Israelis, most of them soldiers) Israel’s 22-day war against Hamas in December 2008 and January 2009 “”

        If some1 defend his home them Israel hv the right 2 kill anything that moves to revenge their Soliders whoms already killing Civilians.

        A real Case: An Israel soldier after finishing his work, collect everything he can as a wepons from guns to anything and get in a bus full with Palestinians civilians and start killing them 4 no reason. At last some Palestinians defend themselves and killed the soliders( 4 Men ) and with all the eye wittnesses and all they hv to go to court 2 this day becuse the court isnt convinced with all the eveidence that r filling BOXES all over the room agains that solider and this was self defence but still they r not innocent 2 this day. So I ask myself isnt their right to denfend themselve and just give up and been killed?

        SERCH….SEE 4 UR self…. Then talk casue all I can see infront of me is a Media slave which been brainwashed.

  4. The last picture of the girl stuck in the mud…there were people videotaping her and taking pictures of her dying…was there no way to get her out? Did anyone even attempt to help her? Seems rather gruesome to me. They practically used that poor girls death as entertainment.

    • I believe she was stuck under the water by very heavy stuff. They needed machines to get her out. A video camera can be carried by one man over rubble. A crane? Not so much.

    • She was trapped, the only way to get her was to amputate her legs, which would’ve killed because they didn’t have the necesarry medical care for such a case.

      • I’m not sure if this is true or not, but they said when she passed away and they freed her, they discovered her siblings, who had passed away, were clinging to her legs. But I know for a fact that they said amputation would have killed her.

    • first, sorry if my english is “wear or something” I know just a few words.

      Im colombian, and I know how she suffer, many people try to help her, but was impossible cuz a wall squash his legs, and she stay thats 3 days over his knees. Marius say that “the only way to get her was to amputate her legs, which would’ve killed because they didn’t have the necesarry medical care for such a case” well that is not true, we had a necesary medical care, but was impossible to amputate her legs due to so many water.

      • I’m Colombian too… THAT was a very sad story, not only because is a poor country of scarse resources, the fact of the matter remains that in 3 days time help had arrived to help this child, it wasn’t only the hypothermia but also the risk of crush syndrome. I think the must awful part was the fact that she was concious and in pain during the whole ordeal. we can only hope that God helped her pain a little bit and her story inspires the world to appreciate life and become a better person everyday….

  5. “….we thought to share some less known yet powerful images.”

    Thank you for doing this, I was getting tired of seeing the same top 10 lists with the same photos. (Found your site with SU)

    • Thanks for noticing, Stacey. Sometimes a top 10 list has been done so many times it becomes less effective. So we cheat a little and do our our top 10 list for variety. Glad you appreciated it.

  6. Oh, my HEART goes out to the POOR illegal settlers!

    *rolls eyes*

    Those settlers are not civilians. They are armed, illegal occupiers who signed up for Israel’s ethnic cleansing policy. And im not even talking in a symbolic or metaphorical sense of collective guilt (unlike Israel inflicts on Palestinians), I quite LITERALLY mean that they are an armed force. Israel tries repeatedly to claim settler deaths are “civilian” and their killers “terrorists”, but they quite literally are an occupying, armed force authorised by the government. Germans killing and removing French citizens from French homes and moving in themselves during WW2 would be no less “civilians” than these settlers are.

    The hilarious irony being that those photos of the “clash” were widely distributed through conservative Israeli media that SUPPORTED the same conservative politicians who ordered the settlers out. Again boosting outrage and further support for the settlements at home while maintaining a pitiful faux appeasement visage to the rest of the world.

    The disgusting part being that no-one outside of zionist apartheid supporters found that photo to have “shocked the world”. Illegal settlements are STILL going on, STILL support by the Israeli government and STILL growing. Those in the picture just happened to be the most illegal out of them all, so much so that even Israel’s own supreme court (with a hard push from repeated UN warnings) couldn’t gather enough lies to support the ones pictured.

    • Agreed! Israel has got to be the most hypocritical political entity on this planet! Why put this picture up here? Israelis aren’t starving to death or victims of natural disasters, they are victims of their own policies!!!

      • Israelians love to portray themselves as victims. Millions of people died in wars but to this day, it’s the jews who constantly bring up and cry about holocaust like only their people matter. They simply feel superior to non-jews that the world has to stop and mourn over and over again for any harm done to their people.

        • I agree with you blah. I don’t have anything against Jewish people. What I hate the most is, if you say anything about Jewish people you’re automatically an anti Jew.

    • That’s people being kicked out of their homes because of retarded bureaucracy and the ‘poor me’ attitude of the Palestinians and those that support them.

      Read a history book. The Palestinians left of their own volition during the 1948 exodus. They left because they EXPECTED their Israeli neighbors to be exterminated and that they could return whenever they desired. Guess what? They backed the wrong horse. They gave up any claim to their homes when they abandoned them. ‘Palestine’ doesn’t exist and never will…they deserve what they get and more. Maybe American liberals will give them New York or something.

  7. there was a picture of a little naked vietnamese girl who was running down the steets of saigon screaming…that was a pwerful and disturbing picture. that little girl is now a grown woman living in canada.

    • Thinking the same picture.
      Horrifying knowing that she was running because she was getting burned by napalm.
      I thought I was going to see that picture here.



  8. Very touching pictures, I had seen a few but 1/2 were new to me and very impressive. Only problem I have with the list is reffering to the Iraq war as “one of the most violent conflicts of modern history”. With zero disrepect to those who fought in the Iraq War, it was not nearly as violent or large scale as 100’s of other modern wars: WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, etc… All war is violent, that statement was a little too subject and innacurate, otherwise, AMAZING pictures, well spoken and great messages.

  9. In a way I’m glad I’m insulated from the horrors around the world. Living in Australia one can get very complacent.
    However photo-journalism at this level serves to bring me back to reality.

  10. Photo Calendars on

    I think the last image and the info about it will haunt me forever….very sad!!

  11. Wow, the one that broke my heart and fractured my soul a little, was the one of the buried child. Cold cold eyes staring into the oblivion of evil. The same goes for the last picture, looking at those completely black eyes scared me.

    I’ve seen beheadings but they don’t compare to Those two pictures.

    • Living in a so called paradise (The Bahamas) I personally don’t get to see imagines so griping and powerful in person. Sometimes we get busy in our own little worlds and forget there is so much more happening all around us! I’m both heart broken and angry that children in their innocence had to suffer because of our policies and politically ideologies. What kind of future are we preparing for? Rest in eternal peace little Omayra.

    • I worked on an ambulance in NJ, this is the norm for us. Very depressing, we see all sorts of t hings that would have been in a war zone or natural disaster in this state.

  12. i am very sad ,really because of the victims of tsunami …. i hope i can do some thing ….. asking my god to help them.

  13. The last girl-I think I would have tried to do anything to help her, cry my eyes out, jump in there swim to the bottom pull her legs anything dear God how could I watch her stuck in there like that… It makes me tear up!
    All these photos make me realize how luck we are! How luuccky and thankful we should be rather then complaining about our little simple miniscule issues.

  14. Not sure the list can be limited to ten. Use discretion before viewing the following iconic images: Matuschka’s ‘Beauty Out Of Damage;’ Kevin Carter’s ‘Vulture and Child;’ Stanley Forman’s ‘Fire on Marlborough Street;’ ‘Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath’ by W. Eugene Smith; Charles Porter’s image of Baylee Almon, victim of the Oklahoma City bombing; Lennart Nilsson’s ‘How Life Begins.’

  15. The last girl– her photo is heartbreaking. ): But is it just me or do the whites of her eyes appear black??? It’s scary :/

  16. the dying girl picture really got to me and I can’t stop thinking how cruel this world can be sometimes. I just pray for a better and peaceful place for us all to live in.

    • i just dont understand how the photographer didnt help get her out but instead took her picture and let her die. that alone is inhumane! im also a photographer and i just couldnt see letting a life slip away just to get the shot(award winning or not). its just wrong point blank

  17. Things like these should not happen. Fix it. We can you know.So why hasn’t it been fixed.

    • Yeah we can just build walls the entire length of the coast and tsunami’s will be a thing of the past. Mudslides, just stop the rain and its all fixed. Think before you post……..

  18. as an american the “operation lion heart” pic made me weep, not only for the innocent child that will never have a chance at a normal life, but for the idiots in my country that supported Bush and gave him the power to cause such destruction. disgusting really.

    • Finally, I just want to to know who thought it was a good idea to re-elect that yahoo? I often wish that we had presidents of the past back and to see what they would do in this situation. Eisenhower, Roosevelt.

      • i agree! i hate bush for what he has done to this country. the world will never be the same thanks to that SOB

  19. natalie hackett on

    the Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984 looks so sad. and the babys eyes where soo blue my eyes are so watery

    • you are right cassy , Put the camera down and help the needy , absolutely Perfect line for all the PeoPle who took these Photographs.

    • But they do help the needy. If they put the camera down, no one would know nor care except for that one man who put down his camera. Now, millions know, care and can (at least try to) do something.

      • yea, but i don’t understand why he left the child there to die …. i mean, he could have taken the poor kid with him to the rescue camp … huh

        • Kevin Carter was tagging along on a UN humanitarian mission to distribute food in Sudan. When the plane landed, the parents from the village left the children behind while they got the food. Carter was walking around, shooting until they had to leave, and saw the vulture behind the girl, didn’t want to scare the vulture away so he approached very slowly and took time to adjust his lens, and took several photos in the ~20 minutes that he waited. He did say he waited to see if the vulture would flare its wings, because he thought it would be a more dramatic photograph, but it didn’t, so after taking his photo, he chased it away. Silva says the girl most likely had parents, who were getting food being distributed by the UN team. There is nothing from either Kevin Carter’s own story or Joao Silva (who was there on the same trip)’s story to suggest that he “left her to die”. The “suicide” note saying he will never waste any food that is circulated on the internet is fabricated.

          His body of work is stunning, and he was a troubled man with a genius eye. I can only hope that he is in a better place.

  20. well, the israeli women pic isnt shocking a all !! come one the police r just polite, but posting his picture and ignoring the horror in 2008 israeli attacks on gaza is un-acceptable ! why dont u show the readers the 5000 dead people where the least horrifying pic is about a kid torn into million pieces ! BIAS !!

    • The Israeli police were just going through the motions of “evicting” the settlers, but obviously they did not want to overpower the woman. They were only acting as if they were pushing. They do tend to be rather good at acting.

  21. Kristen @ Wedding Gardens on

    This is really amazing yet kinda scary and I’m actually afraid and a bit shocked. I can’t really explain my feeling.

  22. My only issue was with the #1 photo of the little girl who died “1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fourier).” My issue is this: obviously someone took that photo and if he was close enough to snap that and live, then although she was “trapped” by a mudslide, I believe her death was in vain. Makes no sense why the photographer didn’t bring a crew of others to save her, but rather take a photo of her dying. Tragic 🙁

    • I am Colombian,
      the Armero tragedy was horrible, Omaira was one of the few people who survive such a tragedy at the moment. Her family was dead underneath her, her legs were completely crushed for all the debris and mud that slide down the mountain. There was a lot of people trying to rescue her, even international help was there doing their best to help and rescue little Omaira. I remember she tried to make their rescuers feel better by signing songs and always keeping a great attitude, though she knew she was going to die. her eyes where black because an horrible infection she got for the mud… Hypothermia was the main cause of her death, there was just not enough time

  23. The number on picture kind of disgusts me as it would appear that no one was actually trying to help her out of that mess. They just stood there and took pictures, I mean they do have to make money off of other people’s misfortunes but help the little girl out once you have your blood photos.

    • If you observe carefully, you will find out that actually those journalist can’t do much to help them. For instance, the girl in the last pic cannot be saved in time because her legs were stucked in debris. And for the Haitian boy, he was not crying for food nor salvation. The Indian woman was grieving, so what else could you do? Journalists are humans too, and they are not cold-hearted bankers and politicians who gain profit from the poors.

      • I was really only making reference to the last photo of the little girl and not the Haitian boy or Indian Woman.

        You say they didn’t have enough time to save the little girl, well according to the article; “After 3 days of struggling, Omayra died due to hypothermia and gangrene.” She was in that hole for 3 days and your saying that they didn’t have enough time! In 3 days no one was able to get the debris holding her legs down free!

        I wonder which day the Journalist your defending came along for their picture and than was on their way to the next tragedy.

        The point I was trying to make is that journalists go out looking for these disasters to make money, I may be generalizing a little bit, but that is the case. Journalists make their money off of tragic events, if these tragic events didn’t happen, they would be taking wedding photos. Sure some of them may care, but for the others it is all about the paycheck. They are not all putting themselves in harms way just because they care about the people in the photos, they care more about how much CNN or Fox is willing to pay for those photos a lot more.

        Now on to the other 2 pictures you brought up that I never mentioned before.

        The Indian woman in your words; “The Indian woman was grieving, so what else could you do?” How about not take a picture of her in that fragile state! However, I know when I am grieving over a loss of a loved one the first thing I want is for someone to capture that pain in a photo for everyone and their dog to see. I mean in the crucial heart breaking times when all seems lost don’t you wish someone would pop up with a camera with a “say Cheese!” That always cheers me up.

        The Haitian boy in your words; “And for the Haitian boy, he was not crying for food nor salvation.” No you’re right on the mark with this one, that boy that has tattered rags hanging from his feet pushing a disastrous looking stroller through flooded streets wasn’t asking for food or salvation. Ask yourself this though, does he more than likely need food and salvation? Of course he does look at him, if that was your child in that situation would you want some Journalist taking snap shots for some magazine or news program, I am guessing that you wouldn’t, cause I know I wouldn’t.

        Okay last point, you said; “Journalists are humans too, and they are not cold-hearted bankers and politicians who gain profit from the poor.” What are you talking about?? Their entire existence pretty much makes money off of the poor. Look at the pictures above and tell me those people were rich. Journalists make their money taking pictures of people in horrible situations so that the rest of the world can feel sorry for them, they are opportunistic parasites. These people are just as bad if not worse than the paparazzi, worse because they are taking pictures of people’s tragedies and making money off of it, paparazzi are just taking pictures of people who have willingly put themselves in the spot light, and making money off of it.

        • If you would read the other comments before preaching to everyone you would see they did try to help her. They even had international help trying to get her out of there. And say what you will but the fact that there are photographers willing to risk their lives in these situations is the reason that the rest of the world knows they exist. Without them nobody would care because nobody would know. Get off your high horse.

        • I wasn’t preaching I was speaking my mind, which is what they have comments here for in the first place. If you don’t agree that’s fine, it is simply my opinion, you don’t have to attack me behind your anonymous tag. I realize that I use sarcasm in my long winded post, but it is not meant as an attack.

          I just feel that if it was my daughter, wife or loved one in general in any of those situations I would not want someone snapping pics of them at their worst. How would you feel if someone took a shot of your Mom “anon” after she was just in a horrible accident and left in a undignified position and then published it online or in a magazine for the world to see. There is your Mom at her worst, being put on display for the world. I bet you would sing a different tune if it were your loved one.

          As for letting us know what happened you can do the same with writing, what is it about the human race that we need to see the violence and trauma, isn’t reading about it enough? Why do you want to see pictures of people suffering? My complaint isn’t in regards to them letting us know what is going on, it’s how they do it. I think the same message is achievable without taking away a person’s dignity, They say a picture says a thousand words, well I think a thousand words tells the story better and more compassionately.

          All I was trying to say was that those people weren’t asking to be photographed, and by doing so you are somewhat taking away their dignity. It would be different to me if these photographers were asking permission to take these pictures (Once again as stated in my last post I am generalizing and I am aware that not all photographers are the same) they are simply taking advantage of an opportune moment. There should be royalty laws that protect people around the world from having unauthorized pictures taken of them and published. I work in design and if I take a picture of someone and use it in a website design without their permission, you can bet your ass I am hearing from their lawyer in the near future.

          I am not on a high horse, this is just what I believe, I am not looking down on these photographers, I am looking right in their eyes and I would have no problem saying the same to their face if the situation arose. I mean I am not going to hunt them down, but if I caught them in the act I would have something to say about it. I don’t just hide behind internet comments as anonymous. I would be willing to bet that both anon and youmaynotknowthis are involved in the media in some way, possibly even photographers themselves.

        • Absolutely Tim …. If its the photographer’s mother or a child for this matter. They would deffinately not be busy in shooting the child’s reaction except for jumping into it and save her with everything possible….. 3 damn days… CAN U BELIEVE IT!!

  24. God! If u really exist here me out. The world if full of Sadness help us to make it a better place…. !

  25. Just finished looking at the whole list…and i agree with what most people are saying – the Bhopal child buried and Omaira are really hanting pictures..something i will fail to forget. Its so cruel the way nature can be so unforgiving and hurtful as well as breathtakingly beautiful…

    And its also amazing that despite all of us being from the same species act as if were from different planets and start to find excuses to fight. I wish we were all more compassionate. Thats my wish for all the world

    • Chidambaran.K on

      None of us are bothered about anybody.
      Nations of the world – be they “democratic”, “monarchical”, “communist” or whatever – are
      by and large busy stocking weapons of mass destruction …

      Remember, not long ag, we witnessed the gruesome sight of all the so called “civilized” nations and “peace-keeping” international organizations watching in mute silence and immobility thousands and thousands of innocent civilians butchered in cold blood and in broad daylight by a Government which had planned in advance and executed the genocide of Thamizhs ,,, … …
      in Srilanka.

      Despite pious words and tall talk by world leaders,
      none would bother the famine deaths that haunt African nations even today !

  26. I find the #1 photo odd .. her plight was televised .. “Frank Fournier took this photo shortly before Omayra died. Her agonizing death was followed live on TV by hundreds of millions of people around the world and started a major controversy. May her soul rest in peace…” .. from the words written, put the damn camera down and dig her out is all they had to do, after all, they were right there was she was … whatever their reasons, I find it hard to not try and do something with my own 2 hands to help .. sad photos…

    • that’s the thing though, for all we know he was trying to get her out. And he was helping. I mean really it takes a few seconds to take a photo. And because of that photo millions of people knew about what happened. And it showcased how poor of a job the government did with the relief effort. I mean dont get me wrong, I agree with what you are saying. Its horrific. But honestly I’m glad that people take these photos because without them nobody would know. Because of this photo the disaster has a face, and that face and name hopefully will force the governemnt to handle things differently.

  27. Every day I hope to find reasons to believe that life is good and points to a just conclusion. It is far from easy. What place or philosophical state could ever be worthy of the title ‘Heaven’ with a history reflected by images like these?

  28. the only word I can come up with..
    Anyone else notice that majority of them were taken in the past 11 years…

  29. Powerful set of images.
    I’d like to say a word in defence of the photographers though. I’ve been a professional for over twenty years, but I’m also a steel worker for boats. Frank Fournier probably couldn’t do a thing to help Omayra. She was pinned down by heavy debris; I often need to move ‘I’ beams and heavy plates. It needs planning and equipment: lifting gear neads somewhere to stand (not on mud and debris), cranes need an access road. Just one obstacle under the mud and your idea’s useless.
    Who knows, maybe his company provided a distraction for her, maybe he tried to cheer her up, perhaps he eased her passing.
    We couldn’t have this discussion without those photographers, right now I wouldn’t feel this sad piognancy without these images.

    • Thank you for pointing this out. I think people forget that without someone out there recording these horrors nobody would be talking about them.

    • I’m not an engineer or anything, but after reading some of the comments here about not being able to help the little girl trapped in the mud, and debris I have to question something…Equipment couldn’t get to her in the mud, cranes etc couldn’t be supported on the mud…It was televised for 3 days while millions of people watched her dying. Where were the helicopters to lift the debris off of her just enough to get her out? 3 days time is enough for any where in the world to get there in time. On top of that, helicopters lift huge logs, and things of that nature so why was it not at least tried? where were the under water welders or whatever it is they use on oil rigs, and things of that nature? Let me guess…it was too fascinating to watch rather than to help. One little girl’s life wasn’t worth the effort??? Could not have anything been used to leverage or lift her out of the situation??? Come on, We have conquered amazing feats in this world…massive dams controlling millions of gallons of water per second…Giant coffer dams to allow building under water…the list goes on. Something could have been done! If it was my child, or anyone’s child, and I knew about it I would have died trying. I hope to God they at least gave her a shot of something to ease the pain or was that overlooked as well! Just my opinion!

  30. Horrible events and please someone help me not to be naive but if the photographer mainly in the last picture of Omayra was able to get that picture of her how come they didnt save her ?

  31. We can’t stop nature but we can stop ourselves from doing destruction. We increased the intensity of nature’s destruction by infrastructures. We continue our work to transform the earth into hell. We will not stop, we will not fail.

  32. well those r a sad pic but you have missed a pic when a baby found dead and he was buried under a a bile of stone in gazza’s strip

  33. Great list but i thing th picture of Thich Quanq Duc’s self immolation in Saigon should of been one.

  34. why not help the dying girl on

    this world is out of my mind. they take pictures but dont help . they see peolple dying in war but just take picture . they atleast dont have a human heart . no one can see a dying human and dont help

      • learn to not be an ass, I agree with the the one above. all i see is a bunch of prics taking pics of people in distress and not caring about anything but a profit off their pics. Its blatantly disgusting is what it is!

  35. that last image the people taking a pic should be charged with accomplice to murder instead of awards. I dont care if her legs was trapped im sure within 3 days you could have had a hammer and chisel there digging her out instead of profiting on her suffering! greedy selfish people in the world love to profit off others hurt. sry if i sound mad, its cause i am. if i’d been rich enough to be there with a camera i would have been also rich enough to afford some tools to break the slabs off pinning her under, but no these people just want to make money off of misery not to end misery! F**^ the NWO and the God-forsaken world we live in, its time for you cruel people to step up to the plate and take your own punishment. Either help the people or GTFO!

    • From what I understand, she was truly trapped, and there was no available tools/equipment to dislodge her. On all reported accounts, the photographer was powerless to save her, but he was not powerless to take a photo that would send a message to the world. I don’t feel that way about Kevin Carter, though, the photographer who photographed the little starving girl in Africa with a vulture behind her. THAT could have had a different ending…

      • About the girl in the mud. why don’t they dig out the mud , get all the water out and remove the thing she was stuck in. how stupid are the people?

  36. Very hard to see… But it even hurts more when I think that they can take one picture every day in my country !!!

  37. I can only assume that all of these photographers got thier prizes due to taking pictures instead of helping out? Yeah i know making people aware of these things may help, if only too little too late!

    Put the f**king camera down you ‘hero’ and actually do something about ‘your’ subject!

    As with nearly all of people today – click – upload and discuss! How about doing something eh?

    Humans are devolving at an incredible rate! Sad.

    • I agree that, it is one thing to publicise a problem but another to actually get involved. At what point does the quest to draw attention to the problem simply become profiteering from human suffering in the most disgustingly voyeuristic way. No doubt that all the images above are powerful and hopefully, begun a chain of events that lead to solutions. However, somehow I doubt it. The public are far more apathetic than that. Its sad that we need images like these to motivate us to do something. One hopes that the people taking these pictures, then rolled up thier sleeves and also offered some more practical support to those people making their living and reputations.

      But doest drawing attention alone really do anything? Look at what happened in Bhopal, years later and the response from the major US corporation involved was pathetic. Corporations put little value on human life, ethics or social obligations other than lipservice. Its about time that the public forced the issue of holding them to account. Now that, has to be journalism of the highest order.

  38. I’m confused…. For the last picture, if her was able to take the picture before she died, how come she wasn’t saved? It also said that they were following her struggle, so people knew where she was, but no body was able to get her out? I’m just curious as to what exactly happened.

  39. How can I unsubscribe from this thread?
    I’m tired of receive replies of people shouting at what happened to the last picture girl telling that the photographer should have helped instead of take pictures, well, here is some data you may not know, the girl’s legs and middle body are crushed underwater so she’s trapped, this IS the reason they cannot take her out!!
    No assistance or help at all, what else could he do?? Cut her legs off with a swiss knife??
    His better weapon is a camera, to show the world a sad story about this girl and tell the people about the lack of government help.
    People, you should read about the whole story, not the small explanation below the picture.
    Here’s a link to the story:
    Thank you.

  40. this pics really will stay permanently etched in my mind….. and the stories they tell and of course, the violence. i think we should thank the journalists for bringing this photographs in to the world not hate them bec. theyre just been as helpless as many. this will open the minds of people and speaks a thousand words on itself. it would stir compassion, dignity,fascination as well as fear but at least we’ll be able to remember and mourn for the people in this pics… appreciate it bec. you’ll learn a thousand lessons just by looking at it…

  41. hat last image the people taking a pic should be charged with accomplice to murder instead of awards. I dont care if her legs was trapped im sure within 3 days you could have had a hammer and chisel there digging her out instead of profiting on her suffering! greedy selfish people in the world love to profit off others hurt. sry if i sound mad, its cause i am. if iâ??d been rich enough to be there with a camera i would have been also rich enough to afford some tools to break the slabs off pinning her under, but no these people just want to make money off of misery not to end misery! F**^ the NWO and the God-forsaken world we live in, its time for you cruel people to step up to the plate and take your own punishment. Either help the people or GTFO!

  42. Blaming the photographers doesnt get you anywhere. Be it the people who were present being truly unable to save those poor lives, or that they were heartless to care only about profits and not lives – just learn from these lessons!

  43. I think these pictures should bring to our attention the fact that there are far more important, dangerous and tragic things going on in this world at any given time than our own petty little problems. We get upset because the car won’t start or we can’t find the keys. We worry and fret over stupid things that mean nothing. Look at the people in those pictures, simply trying to survive another day, some of whom didn’t. It really brings home how petty and petulant we have become.

  44. Indeed, they were all horrible, but true. ;(
    Thanks for posting this
    I hope this can remind us the cruelty to mankind


  46. These photos while they are certainly masterpeices. they still bring to life again and again the struggles and turmoils that this world had fought against since long before any of us were born. politics and stupidity eventualy will completely ruin this world. I hope you can live with that when you realize that it your comments that contribute tothis idiocy

  47. These photos are sadly mesmerizing. Some of these tragedies I did not even know about which is even sadder. That last photo of Omayra is utterly haunting. Those eyes never to be forgotten.


  48. Powerfull stuff! A picture says a thousand words… Well most of them. These are beyond words.

  49. Oh god WHY ARE PEOPLE LETTING THIS HAPPEN…we deserve to wiped out because quite frankly that was deeply disterbing and should not exist

  50. the op forgot this infamous picture of the Vulture and a African baby. where the photographer took a picture of a Vulture next to a alive African baby, The Journalist could of saved the baby. But instead he let nature take it course. He won lot of awards but when the public found the truth behind the picture where he could of saved the baby he became a disgrace. And eventually he ended up taking his own life.

  51. These are terribly heartbreaking. It is so unbelievably sad to think that all this death, murder, and devastation is happening all over the world and whatever little we can do to help is just not even nearly enough. I love this planet, and I try to love the people on it, but these pictures make it so hard to remain optimistic about the future; what awaits us humans.

  52. I can’t believe these photos. I feel like I have been living in a fantasy all my life. Because picture after picture, I felt chills run through my body, giving me goosebumps. Even sitting here in the heat, I felt chills, cold, cold chills…

  53. Amit Noel Singh on

    All these pics are heart shaking….
    I pray to Lord Almighty that no one face these tragedy in life.

    God Bless all

  54. Ever since there were two creatures in the world, there were fightings, all kinds of fighting. Wars are the most terrible. Common people are always the ones who lost the most. Really hope there is one day when no country is involved in a war.

    • I don’t think it is possible for there not to be a war. Conflict it seems to be part of human nature even of we all were on the same level, there will always be opposing opinions and with those opinions comes the friction that causes the war

  55. How about we all just jump off our political crusade horse and just enjoy the article instead of rambling on and making yourself seem like a patriotic idiot.

  56. ashley willoughby on

    “And of Clay Are We Created” is a very moving short story by Isabel Allende and it is dedicated to Omayra Sanchez’s last three days of her life while trapped. It is in the point-of-view of the reporter who stayed by her side throughout her suffering. I definitely recommend it to anyone who was moved by picture #1…

  57. They all seem rather recent.

    I thought the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc in protest in Saigon on 11 June 1963 would have been included. It has been a haunting image for nearly 50 years. So has the photo of South Vietnamese National Police Chief General Nguyen Ngoc Loan who executed a Viá»?t Cá»?ng officercaptured during the Tet Offensive, by shooting him in the temple in Saigon on 1 February 1968.

  58. No more energy.We , as human beings, won`t overcome these man-made troubles , until when we are not united.respect and be kind to each other.We`re not robots.(excuse me for grammer)

  59. Where is titanic that is a tragic and many have pictures and would be no #1 so this is bad researching by the way i was born on the day before 911 which means 9/10 :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(

  60. That was very touching and emotional images. Thailand massacre was new to me as well as the Haiti photo and that was very touching.

  61. Some people got REAL problems, makes me grateful for what I have. And so very sad for everyone who has to lead lives like these.

  62. these are very amazing pictures, it could say that some of these are one of the saddest pictures in the world.

  63. O GOD Where are you…please help the people who are trouble in your world…1,3,7and10 are the most Heart touching picture…!

  64. There was nothing heroic about that Israeli settler woman. Israel already has well more than half the land within their borders and if it were up to them they’d leave no room whatsoever for the Palestinians. Stupid woman is part of the land grab that’s pushing Palestinians into smaller and smaller areas of the country. And now of course they have a right-wing prime minister again who is letting them get away with things like FIREBOMBING LITTLE KIDS. Oh yeah, they’re “heroes” all right.

  65. Why is that picture of Kosovo in here? There was nothing nefarious about that picture, it was all lies. The journalists made it seem like there was concentration camps and mass graves and none of that was ever found to be true.

  66. Enjoyed reading these comments!
    Most of you would have condemned Hitler for what he did to the Jews? Ever stop to condemn the Allies for creating Israel and pissing off the Muslims? If Hitler had been allowed to continue we would never have had Israel and the last 65 years of on going bloodshed- The continuing arrogance of Jews , with the backing of good “ol Uncle Sam, is what has led to the terrorism we face today. I am not anti-Semetic or anti Islam but keep the bastards out of decent western countries.
    You heard about the big high wall in Heaven? God built it for the Jews because they liked to think they were the only people there!