Photos are a great way to capture moments. They can capture very emotional moments in time from tragedy to celebration. Here are 42 of the most powerful photos ever taken:
Devotion: A Hindu devotee takes a plunge in the holy waters of the Ganges river.
Hold My Hand: A little girl holds the hand of a 105 year old woman as they are evacuated following Hurricane Katrina.
Inside Auschwitz: Scratch marks inside the gas chambers at Auschwitz made by prisoners frantically trying to escape the fatal gas.
Standing Guard: An Orthodox Jewish man looks on as riot police stand guard following massive protests and demonstrations by the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. The community was protesting against legislation that would enforce involuntary conscription on them.
Final Goodbye: John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes the coffin of his father.
Mass Wedding: A wedding in South Korea where over a thousand couples got married.
Hope: A Japanese soldier holds an abandoned baby girl following the 2011 Tsunami. The girl was soon adopted after this picture was published.
All Is Lost: A woman comforts her son after a massive tornado ripped through their home in Concord, Alabama.
Last Prayer: A chaplain performs the final rites for a soldier shot by a sniper following riots in Venezuela.
Until The Next Time: A North Korean man waves goodbye as his South Korean cousin weeps. A few dozen North-Korean and South-Korean torn apart by the Korean war were allowed to meet in a rare reconciliatory gesture by the two nations.
A Soldier’s Embrace: A WWII veteran breaks down after meeting a young marine who lost his hand in Iraq.
Rain-Room: Women walk through the “Rain Room” installation at the Museum of Modern Art. The water automatically stops as soon as it nears a human body, which means you can walk through this “rain” without getting wet.
Reunion: A Soviet couple reunited with their daughter after the end of the Second World War.
I Too, Was A Young Man: A Russian WWII veteran breaks down after recognizing the tank he fought in during the war.
Music In A Devastated Land: A Russian soldier plays an abandoned piano in Chechnya.
Exhaustion: An exhausted surgeon following a marathon 23-hour heart operation. His assistant sleeps in the corner.
Life Goes On: A little girl fills a container with water at a Syrian refugee camp. Children have been among the worst affected in the Syrian crisis which is reaching its third year with no resolution.
Tank Man: A man single handedly confronts a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square – one of the most iconic pictures ever taken. The man’s action was deliberate but at the same time, unplanned. He was returning from buying groceries (see the bag in his left hand?) when he saw the tanks bounding through the square. Instead of running away – as nearly everyone else did – he stood defiantly before them in a silent, but proud protest against all the atrocities of the Chinese government.
Reunion, Part II: A US soldier meets her daughter after an 8-month long deployment.
The Infinite Sky: A long exposure shot of the sky above the St. Loan Medieval Church. Note the streak to the left – that’s the Perseid meteor.
Grief: Robert Peraza kneels down in grief before his son’s name on the 9/11 Memorial.
Come Home, Daddy: A little boy tries to help his alcoholic father stand up in Guangzhou, China
Monster: Ariel Castro pleads to the judge during his sentencing. Castro was sentenced to life without parole for abducting three women and keeping them in solitary confinement in a case that sparked national outrage. Castro was considered, by all accounts, an upstanding citizen who regularly hosted barbecue parties in the backyard for his neighbors, even as the three women remained confined in a separate part of the house.
Collapse: Bangladeshi volunteers and rescue workers try to help survivors after the collapse of the 8-story building, “Savar”, where garment workers made clothes for Western fashion brands. Over 300 people died in the collapse, prompting outrage across the nation and compelling fashion brands to demand better work conditions from their clothing suppliers.
Hope Remain, Still: A missionary holds the hand of a little boy in Sudan
Solitary Walker: A little boy walks to school through terraced rice paddy fields in China. This image is emblematic of the sweeping changes across the country. As China hurdles into modernity, scenes like this are becoming increasingly rare with the agriculture sector shrinking.
We Are Not Done Cleaning: On May 20, an EF5 tornado ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma. This was just one sign left behind by a family whose home had been completely devastated by the tornado.
A Soldier’s Despair: US soldier, Ken Kozakiewicz, cries in despair after learning that the body bag at his feet contains the body of his friend, Andy Alaniz. This photo won the World Press Photo award in 1991
D-Day: Soldiers wade ashore the Normandy beach on D-Day during the Second World War. Years later, Steven Spielberg would recreate the dread, the horror, and the sheer madness of this maneuver in the iconic opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.
Man’s Best Friend: A man hugs his dog after finding it stranded inside his home following a massive tornado in Alabama.
Man’s Best Friend, Part II: A Japanese man cries after finding his lost dog following the 2011 Tsunami.
Earthrise: The Earth, seen from the surface of the moon.
Last Hug:A man embraces his wife following the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh. This was their last gesture as the building collapsed around them – not panic, fear, or even a resolute attempt at escape, but a simple acceptance of their fate and a desire to hold each other in their final moments.
Eyes Of Hunger, Eyes Of Hope: Indian men line-up for a free meal on the occasion of Id-Ul-Fitr near Jama Mazjid, New Delhi. Most of these men are rickshaw-pullers, daily wage laborers and homeless men who rarely get two square meals a day.
Comforting The Weak: A rescue worker offers water to a Koala bear following devastating fires across Australia in 2011.
The Big Leap: A man jumps past a wall of burning tires set alight by rioters protesting against government corruption in Brazil. The protests were initially against a rise in bus fares, but soon turned into a broader movement against crony-capitalism that has wrecked Brazil’s economy in the last few years.
When Berlin Fell: A Russian soldier raises the Soviet flag over the ruins of Berlin at the end of the Second World War.
Flower Power: A young woman defiantly places a flower in the barrel of a gun – an image that would herald the “Flower Generation”.
Wait For Me, Daddy: A little boy races after his father as he sets off for the war in 1940. Unfortunately, the boy’s father died during the war. This is probably the last picture that exists of the boy and his father together.
Till Death Do Us Part: The graves of a Protestant woman and her Catholic husband. The Protestant-Catholic cemeteries were separated by a wall, which couldn’t stop this couple from being together even in death.
Eyes Full Of Wonder: A little boy, deaf from birth, hears sound for the first time after getting cochlear implants.
Defiance: A young soldier defiantly confronts Heinrich Himmler in a German POW camp. Himmler, who was virtually the second in command to Hitler during the Second World War, committed suicide while in British custody after the end of the war.
It amazes me the emotions that these pictures captured. A picture is truly worth 1000 words.