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Top 10 World’s Most Famous Photos

Published on January th, 2011

There are so many famous photos especially historical photographs. It’s actually very hard to list down the top 10 most famous photos in the world. Anyway, I have selected these ten famous photos for my top 10 list.

1. Afghan Girl [1984]
Photographer: Steve McCurry

And of course the afghan girl, picture shot by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Sharbat Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image. She was approximately 12 years old at the time. She made it on the cover of National Geographic next year, and her identity was discovered in 1992.

2. Omayra Sánchez [1985]
Photographer: Frank Fournier

Omayra Sánchez was one of the 25,000 victims of the Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) volcano which erupted on November 14, 1985. The 13-year old had been trapped in water and concrete for 3 days. The picture was taken shortly before she died and it caused controversy due to the photographer’s work and the Colombian government’s inaction in the midst of the tragedy, when it was published worldwide after the young girl’s death.

3. Napalm Girl Phan Thị Kim Phúc [1972]
Photographer: Nick Ut

The iconic photo taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut shows Phan Thị Kim Phúc at about age nine running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a South Vietnamese napalm attack.

4. Marilyn Monroe’s Skirt Up [1954]
From Film: The Seven Year Itch

In September 1954, Monroe filmed one of the key scenes for The Seven Year Itch in New York City. In it, she stands with her co-star, Tom Ewell, while the air from a subway grating blows her skirt up.

5. Stricken child crawling towards a food camp [1994]
Photographer: Kevin Carter

The photo is the “Pulitzer Prize” winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan Famine. The picture depicts stricken child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away.

The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat him. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months later he committed suicide due to depression.

6. Vietnam War [1968]
Photographer: Eddie Adams

February 1, 1968. South Vietnam police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan shots a young man, whom he suspects to be a Viet Kong soldier.

7. Burning Monk – The Self-Immolation [1963]
Photographer: Malcolm Browne

June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam, burned himself to death at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon to bring attention to the repressive policies of the Catholic Diem regime that controlled the South Vietnamese government at the time. Buddhist monks asked the regime to lift its ban on flying the traditional Buddhist flag, to grant Buddhism the same rights as Catholicism, to stop detaining Buddhists and to give Buddhist monks and nuns the right to practice and spread their religion.
While burning Thich Quang Duc never moved a muscle.

8. Bliss [~2000]
Photographer: Charles O’Rear

Bliss is the name of a photograph of a landscape in Napa County, California, east of Sonoma Valley. It contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds. The image is used as the default computer wallpaper for the “Luna” theme in Windows XP.

The photograph was taken by the professional photographer Charles O’Rear, a resident of St. Helena in Napa County, for digital-design company HighTurn. O’Rear has also taken photographs of Napa Valley for the May 1979 National Geographic Magazine article Napa, Valley of the Vine.

9. Tiananmen Square Protests [1989]
Photographer: Jeff Widener

This famous photo, taken on 5 June 1989 by photographer Jeff Widener, shows the PLA’s advancing tanks halting for an unknown man near Tiananmen Square.

10. V J Day kiss in Times Square [1945]
Photographer: Victor Jorgensen

Navy Lt. Victor Jorgensen’s camera captured this famous kiss of a nurse by a sailor in New York City’s Times Square on August 15, 1945, when Japan announced its unconditional surrender.


  1. Posted by arse on January 9th, 2011, 11:47 [Reply]

    Bliss is not worthy of the list, very poor photograph

  2. Posted by admin on January 22nd, 2011, 09:44 [Reply]

    Bliss might be a poor photograph but it’s still famous :)

  3. Posted by KatieBeth on May 24th, 2012, 20:36 [Reply]

    You give credit to the wrong photographer for VJ Day Kiss. This specific image was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, as depicted by the copyright on the bottom right. This image is still copyrighted to this day.

    The image taken by LT Jorgensen is not copyrighted, and is from an angle that looks directly at the face of the sailor. Here is a link for LT Jorgensen’s image:


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