Photographs do not lie. An image speaks of a truth or an event in history that would never be repeated again under the same circumstances. Photographs are amazing because they capture vital moments and forever immortalize these images in the annals of time.
Over the years, certain photographs have captured the hearts and minds of people, for depicting a number of vital events with so much authenticity and cathartic vividness. These photographs will never ever be forgotten.
This list will let you in on the world’s ten most vivid photographs about disaster and social catastrophe. These photographs deserve admiration for their seething authenticity, and the sheer courage of the photographers who made these images possible. These photographs tell so much of the human condition and of the kind of world that we live in today. They represent tragedy, courage, and hope – these are the things that make us human.
10. Kosovo Refugees by Carol Guzy
Kosovo was the hotspot of strife and social discontent in the early 2000’s. The image of a baby boy being passed onto his relatives through barbed wire generated a lot of reactions from all over the world. The image won for the photographer the Pulitzer Prize – an award which Guzy had already won four times.
9. War Underfoot by Carolyn Cole
Cole, a Los Angeles photojournalist extensively covered the civil war in Liberia. Her photograph that was taken the day immediately after the siege of Monrovia – Liberia’s capital city, depicted a young boy walking on a road that is filled with bullets and ammunition. Cole won a Pulitzer Prize for her photograph.
8. World Trade Center Collapse During 9/11 by Steve Ludlum
The photograph that was taken by Ludlum will forever be etched in the minds of people all over the world. It featured a World Trade Center on fire and in the brink of collapse after being hit by two passenger airplanes. It was a tragic picture that won for him the Pulitzer Prize for photography.
7. Bangkok, Thailand Massacre by Neal Ulevich
Ulevich was covering a student demonstration in Thammasat University in downtown Bangkok when things turned bloody. The protesters who rallied against the return of a dictatorial political leader were beaten, shot, hanged, and killed. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1976 Bangkok demonstrations.
6. 2008 Haitian Hurricane Aftermath by Patrick Farrell
In 2008, the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti was hit by a powerful hurricane which causes extensive damage to life and property. Farrell’s photograph of a young naked boy who barely survived the hurricane tugged at the hearts of millions who saw the powerful photograph which became another Pulitzer Prize winner.
5. The Power of One by Oded Balilty
Balilty’s photograph of a young Jewish woman resisting the throng of authorities who were sent to crackdown on illegal settlers in israel drew much attention around the globe. It became a symbol of extraordinary human courage amidst adversity and the human will to survive against all odds.
4. After the Tsunami by Arko Datta
Datta is an award-winning Indian photojournalist who has taken a lot of memorable photographs depicting human struggle in South Asia. His heartbreaking photograph of a Sri Lankan woman mourning the death of a relative after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami continues to touch the hearts of many even to this day.
3. Operation Lion Heart by Deanne Fitzmaurice
Fitzmaurice’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph depicted an Iraqi boy who was maimed after a suicide bombing in Iraq. Taken to California to seek medical treatment, the boy undertook several highly delicate surgeries and survived. He came to be known as Lion Heart for his amazing will to live.
2. Bhopal Gas Tragedy by Pablo Bartholomew
In 1984, a gas tragedy occurred in the Indian city of Bhopal, resulting in the deaths of around 15,000 victims. Bartholomew was able to capture the burial of an innocent child who was a victim of the tragedy.
1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez by Frank Fournier
Fournier’s Pulitzer winning photograph depicted a young female buried by a mudslide in Colombia. Trapped there for more than 60 hours, she slowly lost her life in full view of the world.