The 100 most influential photos of all time
The 100 most influential photos of all time A Tate member of staff poses next to American photographer Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother", from 1936, at the press view of "The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection" exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. "Migrant Mother" is included in Time magazine's most influential images of all time. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham/Joe Rosenthal, File)
The 100 most influential photos of all time
Lexile: 890L

Assign to Google Classroom

A single drop of milk. A newborn baby. The ravages of war and terrorism. The defiance of those who protest and the fear of those entrapped.
All are included in a multimedia project featuring Time magazine's most influential images of all time. They have been released through a new book, videos and a website.
Many of the photos or frames from films are familiar, engrained in the collective conscious. Like the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Falling Man," taken on 9/11 by Richard Drew of The Associated Press.
Others, and their stories, are little known. One is the tiny snap by California software engineer Philippe Kahn of his new baby, the first cell-phone picture. He rigged a flip phone with a digital camera in 1997.
The magazine's editors consulted historians and photo editors and curators around the world. Time staffers interviewed the photographers, picture subjects, friends and family. Essays were written on each image.
Matthew Brady's Abraham Lincoln, Dorothea Lange's migrant mother, the flag raising at Iwo Jima by the AP's Joe Rosenthal - also a Pulitzer Prize winner - and that famous kiss in Times Square on V-J Day, captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt, are among the 100 chosen.
So is Frame 313 of the amateur, 8-millimeter film shot by Abraham Zapruder of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Life magazine withheld that frame at the time. It is notorious in its absence for showing the bullet on impact with Kennedy's head.
Some were chosen for their content. Others were selected for their innovation.
Harold Edgerton, for instance, while tinkering in his lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, laid the foundation for the modern electronic photo flash. His "Milk Drop Coronet" image was made in 1957.
He froze the drop as it landed on a table. He used strobe lights with camera shutter motors to refine moments otherwise imperceptible to the human eye. This is according to the project's book companion, "100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time."
There is a NASA image of Earth from the far side of the moon. And a fetus still in the sac, revealing what pre-birth development looks like. There's also the famous, fuzzy Loch Ness Monster, from 1934. And the Oscars selfie initiated by Ellen DeGeneres in 2014.

Source URL:

Filed Under:  
Assigned 427 times
Why do photographs have so much meaning?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • tmc-gai
    12/02/2016 - 08:08 a.m.

    These pictures were such a important event to all of us like the landing on the moon. We will always remember these historic events that these 100 pictures that were chosen.

    What other pictures should have made the 100 pictures?

  • nathanm14-ste
    12/02/2016 - 02:00 p.m.

    Pictures are a great thing because they capture a moment in history that will never happen again nor can they ever be recreated.

  • matthewk-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:48 p.m.

    Because photographs are memories captured in one moment. Not only are they beautiful pieces of color they are influential pieces of art. You can almost bring back dead friends or family just by looking at a photo of them. Photos can inspire you to create. Photos can bring people together. Photos are wonderful creations that can make many people feel many different things. Photographs have so much meaning because photographs are essentially life on paper.

  • kayleeb-kul
    12/05/2016 - 09:38 a.m.

    It is amazing that technology has allowed us to capture these precious moments in history. So many things have happened before my time and it's amazing that I am able to see them right at the moment they happened. As cameras and technology are advancing, we will be able to see more of Earth's amazing wonders and discover more things as well. I think this is a wonderful article to be published and show people the things that have happened through time.

    • bethanyl-kul
      12/05/2016 - 01:52 p.m.

      I agree with Kaylee, i think that we can thank technology for a lot of these captured moments. I am excited to see how history evolves along with technology.

    • sydney-kul
      12/09/2016 - 12:33 p.m.

      I agree with Kaylee. I think it is awesome how we have the technology to capture the best moments of our lives. With the advancements that will happen in the future, we will be able to capture even more than we can now.

    • jacoba-kul
      12/09/2016 - 12:34 p.m.

      I think it is ironic that the first time someone put a camera on a phone a guy took a picture of it.

  • jennav-kul
    12/05/2016 - 10:22 a.m.

    Photographs have so much meaning because they are a great way to remember a moment. Pictures can help you see what something was like in the past. They are a great way to visualize a place or person. Many Pictures give you something to look at and reminisce from the past.

    • kayleeb-kul
      12/05/2016 - 12:29 p.m.

      I agree that pictures are a way to reminisce on the past, especially when they are showing something so important in history that happened in the world.

    • allisons-kul
      12/05/2016 - 03:16 p.m.

      I agree with you! Photographs give you the opportunity to reminisce on good times or bad times. They are a reminder of what was occurring. I think it is awesome how differently people can infer what is happening in a picture.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment