Photos That Changed the World

Photos That Changed the World is a fascinating new series that takes an uncompromising look at history through the eye of a lens. These are the images that set social changes in motion and transformed the way we live and think. Each hour-long episode focuses on two photographs, exploring the events of the day, the images themselves, and crucially, what happened after the camera shutters closed.

A Man on the Moon – Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin standing on an alien world is the enduring image of Apollo 11, and changed the way we see ourselves and our planet.
Tank Man – Jeff Widener's photograph of a lone man stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square became a powerful symbol of both the bloody events of June 4, 1989, and of non-violent resistance.

Iranian Embassy Siege – In 1980, six gunmen took over the Iranian embassy in London. Following the death of a hostage, the world watched and photographers swarmed as the SAS stormed the building.
The Royal Kiss – Newlyweds the Prince and Princess of Wales kissed on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on July 29, 1981. Charles’s formal pose and Diana’s emotional physicality was an omen for the marriage that lay ahead.

Hunting the President  – As President Reagan waved, John Hinckley Jr. fired his gun, and photographer Ron Edmonds captured the vulnerability of political leaders for all the world to see.
The Hooded Man – The most memorable image from the war in Iraq was taken not by a photographer, but by US Army staff sergeant Ivan Frederick, one of several soldiers to torture Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Munich Massacre – Kurt Strumpf’s haunting photo of a balaclava-wearing terrorist at “The Games of peace and joy” in 1972, became a symbol of the times following a 21-hour standoff that ended in an Olympic bloodbath.
Mandela’s Walk to Freedom – Greg English’s photo of Nelson Mandela, free for the first time in over a quarter of a century, gave millions of people, not just South Africans, hope for the future.

The Terror of War – The horrific photograph of 9-year-old Kim Phuc running naked in terror from a napalm attack was widely published around the world and is attributed to having helped end the war in Vietnam.
The Drowned Boy – The photograph of 2-year-old Alan Kurdi lying face down on a Turkish beach caused international outrage and woke the world to the urgency of the Syrian refugee crisis.

The Lady in the Mask – the 7/7 bombings image of a commuter clutching a white burns mask to her face outside Edgware Road tube station brought home the very real threat of terrorism in the UK.
The Moors Murders – The infamous mugshot of Myra Hindley taken upon her arrest in 1965 is a chilling photograph and for many, one that is the embodiment of evil.

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