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The most iconic photographs in history and the stories
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The most iconic photographs in history and the stories

The famous mantra goes; 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.

Over the past century, photography has emerged as perhaps the most accessible and influential art form, allowing us to bear witness to some of our planet's most formative moments in recent time. 

Whether it be the the scenes of devastation on 9/11 or the aftermath of nuclear fallout in Vietnam, many of us are able to instantly recognise the most iconic and controversial photographs ever taken.

But what do we know of the person looking through the lens at the time and their motives - or even the subjects themselves?

Whatever happened to the sailor pictured kissing a stranger on V-J Day in Times Square, or the photographer who captured a vulture as it waited for a starving child to die?

Here, MailOnline takes a look into the history and circumstance that led to the capturing of the most iconic images of the past 100 years.

 

Starving Child and Vulture, Kevin Carter (1993). Mr Carter took this controversial photograph of a starving toddler in Sudan and the image sparked an international debate regarding the role of photographers and intervention 

Starving Child and Vulture, Kevin Carter (1993). Mr Carter took this controversial photograph of a starving toddler in Sudan and the image sparked an international debate regarding the role of photographers and intervention 

The story of Carter's photograph is considered among the most tragic and controversial in the history of Pulitzer Prize winners.

While documenting the famine of 1993 in Sudan, Carter was walking through the bush when he heard whimpering. He came across a starving toddler, who had collapsed in a heap while walking to a feeding centre.

As the photographer took his photos, a vulture landed behind the child, resulting in this iconic photo. Instructed not to touch people due to potential diseases, he anxiously waited for 20 minutes in the hope that the vulture would fly off.

His instincts not to interfere were finally beaten as he scared the bird off, before watching on as the toddler crawled on.

The image was published in the New York Times and would lead to international debate surrounding the role of photographers and intervention.

It would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize, but Carter struggled to cope. In July 1994, a year after taking the image, he took his own life. He wrote: 'I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and danger and pain'.

  The Terror of War, Nick Ut (1972). Terrified children, including nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc, were photographed sprinting away from a pagoda in Trang Bang in Vietnam in 1972

The Terror of War, Nick Ut (1972). Terrified children, including nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc, were photographed sprinting away from a pagoda in Trang Bang in Vietnam in 1972

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