Photographs that changed the world

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Allen Herbert, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. Which terrorist bombings? The ones coming from the east or west?
  2. It’s the Street and Documentary forum. Has had the word ‘documentary’ in the title like forever.

    What’s up guys? This website still alive or nah?
  3. Read carefully and in context.

    My comment was in response to someone who referenced street photography when talking about these photos. I was simply saying these were documentary photos.

    I’ve been around long enough to know this is the street AND documentary forum. My comment had NOTHING to do with the title of the forum itself and everything to do with the photos up for discussion.

    What’s up, indeed. The website is still alive, but only to the extent we keep it alive. In that spirit, maybe consider addressing the documentary photos offered in the OP. That would add substance and show an interest in the life of the site.
  4. I wasn't thinking of any specific examples. Just in the general sense of "The use or threat of violence in the pursuit of political, religious, ideological or social objectives ..." (Wikepedia). The 10.000 bombings in Ireland and the UK between 1
  5. Edit time ran out:
    I condemn any and all terrorist attacks. Not all of which (during the last 40 years) fit neatly into any broad 'east-west' container.

    Looking at the selection of photo's again and the website TIME’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time I can't argue with the selection. Maybe the photo's of the 1990's just haven't been as iconic as thes are.

  6. Sometimes:)
  7. Certainly those are well-chosen examples. You might find this article interesting in its appraisal of the complexity of events and circumstances that led to the end of the Vietnam War, and the role of Ut’s photo.


    Putting Ut’s photo into perspective and examining some of the mythology around it does nothing to lessen the emotional impact and importance of the photo. But I do think that many photos we consider to be earth-shattering or life-changing are as brilliantly reflective of other things happening as they are the causes of them. I think, sometimes, impactful photos and art are in more of a symbiotic relationship with other cultural and political phenomena and often gain power from other simultaneous communicative and expressive media, means, and circumstances.

    Not as thorough, but some additional interesting points made in this article as well.

  8. Bottom line, they work.

    Birds of a feather street/documentary they are much of the sameness.

    The photos communicate as all great Art, not a lesser Art. A honest argument would be they are "a" greater Art above all Art; having deeper hands in reality.

    These are particular powerful photographs deep within the soul humanity, and devoid of much of the fantasy of other Art expressions.

    They have no bounds, their communication is to all, not just to the elite few who turn Art into Gold coins regardless of the Art.

    They have a honesty that only real truth can reveal.
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  9. [longish]
    Thanks Sam and its gotten me to thinking about those times. Not only do I remember those photos, but I read a quote attributed to General Diep, Military head of the North Vietnamese Army who was at some function years after the war and was talking to an American counterpart. Reportedly the American said to Diep that "you know you never once beat us in the field and Diep nodded thoughtfully and said, that may be true but it didn't matter." What he was said to have meant was the real battle was won in the U.S. politically when the American people turned against the war. In fact apparently the 1968 Tet offense was launched by North Vietnam to demonstrate to the American public that President Johnson was lying to them when he said we were "winning the war". Also, as I recall, the sentiment here in the U.S. was totally informed by the images coming from the press, both TV and print journalism. The relationship between photography and video images with text and verbal reporting was like close support between ground and air forces. It changed or at least created history.

    Sara Berger's article is interesting, but I remember reading and the News itself talking about the "living room war", from that time period. Liked how she brought "context" into the equation to as in terms of the journalistic use of a single photograph pretty much derives its impact from the context as well as the moment presented. The perception of how imagery and media impacted the public perception of the Vietnam War was analyzed by the military as part of its self-analysis after the Vietnam War (read Major Sumner's "On Strategy" for a look at how U.S. strategy and the assumptions it made was the reason for the debacle) and resulted in the total tight control of information that was the hallmark of coverage of first Iraq war.
    samstevens likes this.
  10. YES! The nightly barrage of TV news footage was devastating and horrific and, for me, more a factor than any single iconic still image. The singular photos seem to distill history in an amazingly clarifying way but I’m just not sure they cause it in the same way other things do.

    Another iconic image from almost a decade earlier is John John saluting Kennedy’s casket. So much is distilled into that single moment of salute but it was actually the live TV airing of the assassination, the funeral, and Ruby shooting Oswald that brought so much of the world the story.

    If the premise was the influence of TV during that era, just as the influence of today is the Internet and social media, I’d be more likely to fully agree. It’s often stills that capture and encapsulate in a way live extended footage at the time may not, and stills often have a stronger retrospective historical impact as they condense so much emotional power into a single image. But I think, at the time, the influence of TV and its continuous moving imagery along with reporters’ daily reports from the field played an incomparable role in affecting the national psyche about the war.

    The power of these iconic stills, to me, is more in their ability to last and transcend an era and bring it to mind today than their effects in real time. This doesn’t take away but simply puts into perspective the power they did have in the moment. I think a mythology gets built up around the iconic imagery which happens because of the power they gain over time as much as the kind of power they exerted in the moment.
  11. I think, that perhaps more than changing the world, the images showed us a world that was changing. They brought awareness of these changes into our consciousness.

    The 20th century bought more changes, and brought them faster than any era in previous history. That these photos are etched into peoples' memories is indisputable. Some of us may be closer to them than others among us- or have different feelings about them, having lived these moments as they were happening.

    The news photographs of today and recent yesterdays will be as significant in the not too distant future, same as these photos from the not too distant & distant past are. But a major difference between yesterday & today is that our ability to see beyond our borders has grown exponentially, compared to the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, the 1970s and even the 1980s. News and information didn't travel very far up until the 1960s; people mostly got news from near home, or around the country via TV & radio & newspapers. It was magazines such as Life who first brought the world into our homes and they did it thru photographs. These photos brought news of far away or showed us vastly differing realities from what many of us had known. The early shots show us kids sleeping on the streets of New York or some other big city. The middle shots show us children and people during World War II. The later shots show us starving children on the continent of Africa.

    One other major difference between then and now is that then there were a finite number of sources for photos and information. Today the sources are innumerable, so it's going to take some serious effort to not only collate tomorrow's shots but to sift through all the events and decide which ones are significant and to whom.
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  12. Have to disagree only in the sense, that I clearly remember their impact in the day. This is well before I ever started taking pictures myself. Yes, I think the role of such images changes over time. Back when taken, they were news and quite important in informing people with great impact. Today, I look at those photographs as photographs, both as documents and from the perspective of appreciating them as photos. The context around them only adds to them. But back then they were news. Curious, I know many of us here were alive back then. I wonder how other people actually remember how some of these photos impacted the times.
  13. A reasonable disagreement.
  14. :)
  15. "YES! The nightly barrage of TV news footage was devastating and horrific and, for me, more a factor than any single iconic still image" Sam.

    Yet, it is the still image that will remain in our psyche. Not the barrage of news footage, which has been long gone in the walk of time

    The poignant still images, will remain for ever; offering emotional discord for all time.
  16. A recent still image.

    The emotional, moral power of it....brings tears to the eyes.
  17. "Those are mostly documentary photos, not street photos" Sam"

    Sam, is playing with semantics, which is often the talk on the philosophy forum, where heated arguments about the meaning of words take place.

    Documentary, Street are birds of a feather.

    So, old time photos, of the past, are they street photography, or, have they become documentary as time pasts bye?

    Just silly talk.

    How do these photos speak to you? What are they communicating? Have you ears that can listen? and eyes that can see?
    Last edited: May 17, 2020

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