The 30 Most Powerful Pictures Ever Taken

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, however not all pictures are created equal. We normally feature adorable, enchanting, and amazing pictures, but we had to post these powerful pictures taken throughout history.

These pictures are gripping and unforgettable because of the volumes they speak about the human condition – covering both the best and worst moments of contemporary human existence.

1. Starving boy and missionary

powerful-photos-1

Image credits: Mike Wells

2. Inside an Auschwitz gas chamber

powerful-photos-2

Image credits: kligon5

3. Heart surgeon after 23-hour-long (successful) heart transplant. His assistant is sleeping in the corner.

powerful-photos-3

Image credits: James Stanfield

4. Father and son (1949 vs 2009)

powerful-photos-4

Image credits: Vojage-Vojage

5. Diego Frazão Torquato, 12 year old Brazilian playing the violin at his teacher’s funeral. The teacher had helped him escape poverty and violence through music

powerful-photos-5

Image credits: salvemasnossascriancas.blogspot.com

6. A Russian soldier playing an abandoned piano in Chechnya in 1994

powerful-photos-6

Image credits: drugoi.livejournal.com

7. Young man just found out his brother was killed

powerful-photos-7

Image credits: Nhat V. Meyer

8. Christians protect Muslims during prayer in the midst of the 2011 uprisings in Cairo, Egypt

powerful-photos-8Image credits: Nevine Zaki

9. A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009

powerful-photos-9Image credits: abc.net.au

10. Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months

powerful-photos-10

Image credits: Louie Favorite

11. Indian homeless men wait to receive free food distributed outside a mosque ahead of Eid al-Fitr in New Delhi, India

powerful-photos-11

Image credits: Tsering Topgyal / AP

12. Zanjeer the dog saved thousands of lives during Mumbai serial blasts in March 1993 by detecting more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades and 6406 rounds of live ammunition. He was buried with full honors in 2000

powerful-photos-12

Image credits: STR News / Reuters

READ  Artist Creates Astonishing Finger Painting Masterpieces

13. Man Falling from the World Trade Center on 9/11. “The Falling Man.”

powerful-photos-13Image credits:  Richard Drew /AP

14. Alcoholic father with his son

powerful-photos-14

Image credits: imgur.com

15. Embracing couple in the rubble of a collapsed factory

powerful-photos-15

Image credits: Taslima Akhter

16. Sunset on Mars

powerful-photos-16

Image credits: nasa.gov

17. Five-year-old gypsy boy on New Year’s Eve 2006 in the gypsy community of St. Jacques, Perpignan, Southern France. It is quite common in St. Jacques for little boys to smoke

powerful-photos-17

Image credits: Jesco Denzel

18. Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon). In May 2008, cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar, leaving millions homeless and claiming more than 100,000 lives

powerful-photos-18

Image credits: Brian Sokol

19. A dog named “Leao” sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of her owner, who died in the disastrous landslides near Rio de Janiero in 2011.

powerful-photos-19

Image credits: Vanderlei Almeida / Getty Images

20. “Wait For Me Daddy,” by Claude P. Dettloff in New Westminster, Canada, October 1, 1940

powerful-photos-20

Image credits: Claud Detloff

21. An old WW2 Russian tank veteran finally found the old tank in which he passed through the entire war – standing in a small Russian town as a monument

powerful-photos-21

Image credits: englishrussia.com

22. Flower power

powerful-photos-22

Image credits: Bernie Boston

23. A woman sits amidst the wreckage caused by a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunam, in Natori, northern Japan, in March 2011

powerful-photos-23

Image credits: Asahi Shimbun, Toshiyuki Tsunenari /AP

24. The Graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, Holland, 1888

powerful-photos-24

Image credits: retronaut.com

READ  20 Things Women Should Master by Their 20s

25. Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado in March, 2012

powerful-photos-25

Image credits: Gary Cosby Jr. / AP

26. Demonstration of condom usage at a public market in Jayapura, capital of Papua, 2009

powerful-photos-26

Image credits: Adri Tambunan

27. Russian soldiers preparing for the Battle of Kursk, July 1943

powerful-photos-27

Image credits: Shirak Karapetyan-Milshtein

Update: Our reader Leif-Erik pointed out that this photograph was actually created in 2006-2007 for a photo competition. It is based on archive photos from the war in Russia in 1941-1945.

28. During massive floods in Cuttack City, India, in 2011, a heroic villager saved numerous stray cats by carrying them with a basket balanced on his head

powerful-photos-28

Image credits: Biswaranjan Rout / AP

29. An Afghan man offers tea to soldiers

powerful-photos-29Image credits: Rafiq Maqbool / AP

30. Some parents, likely now in their 70’s, still looking for their missing child.

powerful-photos-30

Image credits: reddit.com

We always try as hard as we can to give the appropriate credit to each photographer who has a picture featured, but it can be quite hard to track down. Please leave a comment on this article if you know the missing photographer.

I’m a writer based out of East Village, Manhattan. I work from my condo and local coffee shops (and a few restaurants with menus that are more unhealthy than licking a subway railing), meeting friends who have boats or boat access, touring the zoo for the zoo to visit my ex-boyfriends, and forcing my political beliefs on others at social events (kidding, don’t be one of those people.