Photographs that changed the world

“Migrant Mother” Dorothea Lange, 1936 migrant-mother

Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother is a fabulous photograph that lends a face to the Great Depression. With each passing year, newer generations are growing further and further away from the events that shaped the course of world history – and this is both, disparaging and dismaying since there is a lesser degree of connect, that is only on a progressive decline. To this end, photographs such as Dorothea Lange’s collections play a valuable role.

“V-J Day, Times Square, 1945″, a.k.a. “The Kiss” Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1945

When Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945, and it was announced in the USA, the Second World War had ended. Almost immediately when the war ended, there were riotous celebrations all over the world – and civilians were far happier about the end of the war than the men in uniform. Many of the soldiers had come back to the USA from Europe after supporting the other Allied powers and liberating concentration camps across Europe. There was a slight chance that they would be shipped out to the Pacific coast.

Harold Whittles hears for the first time!

The picture shows a rather astonished little boy: he isn’t sure what’s happening, or how it’s happening. From a world of silence, he has suddenly been transported to a world of rich, vibrant sound. It is new, it is strange, and it’s also a little scary. His little eyes grow wide with wonder, and he is itching to respond to this new world that has been presented to him. Harold Whittles, the little boy, has just been fitted with a hearing aid. Deaf until then, Harold was introduced to sound with the arrival of technology at his doorstep. Just as his doctor fitted the hearing aid, the first wave of sound awoke a dormant sense in the little boy.

The Austrian Boy and his Shoes

The picture moves you to happy tears the moment you see it. The gentle curve of the child’s cheeks make you think that the innocence of infancy remains a permanent guest. The little okra-seed sized teeth speak volumes of the childlike fancy that sits in his innocent laughter. The happiness is palpable: a pair of chubby little fingers clutch a pair of shoes to the chest of the little boy. His little round knees are stuck together as he celebrates his present.

Vietnam’s Napalm Attack

For years together so far, and for many years to come, the nine year old girl will remain frozen in the frame, midway through her run as she cried out saying Too hot! Too hot! The young girl will be frozen in the frame, seen running away from her village in Vietnam, burning from the yoke of a Napalm attack. Years ago, sticky blobs of hot napalm had burned her clothes and skin, and she was forced to run naked to escape the horror of the Vietnam War about 40 years ago.