Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Caught In The Moment – Famous Images From History

Ever since the creation of the photograph its power has often gone underestimated. What I love about the photograph is that there can be no denying one thing, those who are ‘in it’ were there, in that moment in time was captured and can be enjoyed, or deplored again.

As we know a picture tells 1000 stories, some controversial, some serve as a reminder of what might have been and some purely scream out never again! The following photographs will cause emotional reaction, some will disturb you, some will bring you joy, but one thing is for certain, you will certainly appreciate the significance of their existence.

September 11 2001 is a day none of us will ever forget, a callous display of human cruelty that reminds us all firstly how precious life is, and secondly how little valued it is by some. The picture shows a man in mid-air having jumped or fallen from the North tower of the World Trade Center. Theologian Mark D. Thompson commented that “perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature or even popular music, it is found in a single photograph.

For me, this photograph can represent life and death. I like to think the falling man; even in his impending doom had a choice, a choice of how he wanted to die. Rather than face being burnt alive he chose to jump to his death. Because we can’t see facial expression, and only rely on one sense, vision, to me, he appears be at peace with that fate.

Nearly 100 years ago Emily Wilding Davidson was struck and killed by a horse owned by King George the 5th. Amazingly even back in 1913 this iconic image catches the moment; however, it was the reasons behind her death that make it so compelling. Davidson was part of the Suffragette’ movement that was pushing for equal rights and right for women to vote and some viewed her death as the ultimate sacrifice for government to hear their message.

Indeed, like all photographs, this one tells many stories, and Emily Davison’s motives and intended actions will never truly be known, many say she threw herself in front of the horse, making her a martyr of the cause and some say she was trying to throw the suffrage flag over the horse, either way she has gone down in history as one of the most important women of the movement.

This is the most famous magazine cover from the controversial photographer George Lois. It depicts Ali as the martyr Saint Sebastian, who was killed for his Christian beliefs. Portraying Ali in the same way referenced his recent refusal to fight in Vietnam because of his religious beliefs and the US government’s quick and severe punishment, stripping him of his title and livelihood, giving him a suspended 5 year prison sentence and effectively rendering him bankrupt.

Matthew Graham is a keen historian; he has a degree in history and loves writing about passed events, particularly involving sport. His writes for a company that boast a great digital slr camera and cheap digital camera range.