It’s an example of the power of a single photograph to change hearts and minds. Here are 5 other iconic images from the 20th century that have impacted the course of history and the stories behind them.
1. The Napalm Girl
This picture of a terrified nine year old girl fleeing a napalm attack, became a symbol the anti-Vietnam war movement. The Pulitzer Prize winning photo was taken by Nick Uts in 1973. Extraordinarily the girl in the photo, Kim Phuc, went on to become a Christian and today regularly speaks about her journey to forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ. 'God brought me to the point where he let me see so clearly that I was seeking peace and needed somebody to come in my life and take away my burden'.
2. Tank Man
An unknown individual who came simply to be known as the ‘Tank Man’ stopped an advancing column of tanks on June 5, 1989 in Beijing. It was the day after the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. Footage of the incident shows the man, with shopping bags in hand, repeatedly stopping the advance of the tanks in a non-violent protest, even climbing on top of one before being taken away by security forces. Today it remain a powerful image of the weak standing up to might of the strong.
3. The vulture and the little child
A photo taken by Kevin Carter in 1993 of a vulture standing near a child suffering from malnutrition brought the realities of the Sudan famine into sharp focus. Despite receiving the Pulitzer prize, some criticised the photo-journalist for taking the picture. Tragically Carter took his own life shortly after receiving the prize.
This photo titled ‘Earthrise’ was taken by the astronauts of Apollo 8 during Christmas week 1968 as they orbited the moon. For the first time it evoked a unique sense of humility at our place in the universe – one small blue planet suspended in orbit in the vast expanse of space. Little wonder that the team chose to read the words of Genesis 1 as they relayed the historic moment to a TV audience on earth: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'. The choice of reading later prompted a law suit from a US atheist organisation, but the case was thrown out by the Supreme Court.
5. Buddhist monk on fire
This 1963 photo of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk’s self-immolation on a road in Saigon was picked up by worldwide press within 24 hours, a remarkable thing in a pre-Internet age. Thích Quang Duc was protesting the South Vietnamese regime’s treatment of Buddhists. President John F Kennedy said, 'No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one'.