We all know the old saying that a picture can tell a thousand words. History has shown us that sometimes, they can even spark decades of discussion and become iconic for cultural, political or any other reasons.
Your next product photography session might not result in globally famous photos just yet, but it’s fascinating to take a look at what cemented some of the most iconic images into our culture and think about how to take inspiration from the photographers when it comes to all the imagery and branding you work on.
Here are the stories behind some of the most iconic images ever taken.
Cheeky Einstein – by Arthur Stasse
This image, taken in 1951, was the result of renowned scientist Albert Einstein losing his patience with smiling for cameras. As this moment captured a totally new, fun-loving side to Einstein that was completely unknown to the public, the image still surprises people to this day and has been duplicated throughout popular culture.
Iwo Jima Flag – by Joe Rosenthal
This Pulitzer prize-winning photo depicts American soldiers raising the US flag on a Japanese island battlefield, taken in 1945 shortly before the end of World War II. It was used for many years as promotional material for the United States military before being reproduced on postage stamps, referenced in films, and used as the basis for many similar works by other artists.
Falling Man – by Richard Drew
One of the most shocking photos from the scene of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 was this photo of an unknown man falling from the World Trade Centre towers. The shot itself seems almost impossible, which makes it all the more striking.
Hindenburg – by Sam Shere
In 1937, the Hindenburg disaster spelled the end for airships as a form of transport. The moment the craft burst into flame, which lasted only seconds, was miraculously captured on film by photographer Sam Shere, who didn’t even have time to point his camera.
Earth and the Moon – by Michael Collins
This is one of the only known images that technically features every single person on the planet Earth, as seen from orbiting the moon. In the foreground are Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in their lunar landing module as they prepared to touch down for the first time. Only the photographer, Michael Collins, is behind the camera and out of shot.
Times Square Kiss – by Alfred Eisenstaedt
This image is still recreated on a daily basis at Times Square in New York City, and depicts the moment a sailor in the US navy learned of the Second World War ending. Although often considered a romantic image, the woman featured with him in the photo eventually came forward and revealed he was a stranger who had simply grabbed her in his excitement.