21 Powerful Photos That Tell A Story

No one can deny that a beautifully taken photograph can be quite stunning on its own. Maybe the photographer captured a mesmerizing rainbow with perfect timing or obtained a great shot of an exotic animal. But other pictures have an intriguing story behind it, and a proper explanation of the context can give us an idea of its worth, and even amaze us. Slide on to discover some of the most famous photographs with a striking backstory, and don’t miss #11 and #4 for some of the iconic moments in the history of sports!  

Photo: Courtesy of Philippe Halsman/TIME.

#21. I Will Not Be Sued!

This perfectly-timed photograph is as graphic as it gets. A suspicious guy (is it just me or he’s very similar to Sylvester Stallone?) who looks like he’s doing business, a fierce woman, shouting something at him, and another man behind her, stunned by the situation. Well, that’s no ordinary woman, it’s actually opera singer Maria Callas.

Photo: Courtesy of Borepanda.com.

After the legend gave a powerful performance in Chicago’s Civic Opera House, on November the 17th, 1955, her dressing room’s triumphant peace was suddenly interrupted by a U.S. Marshal and the Deputy Sheriff. They didn’t bring good news exactly… Callas was actually being summoned to court for a breach of contract. The picture vividly captures the moment in which she angrily shouted: “no man can sue me!”

#20. A Leap Into Freedom.

Do you know what’s really curious about this picture? The group of people who seem to be having a pleasant conversation at the back probably didn’t have the slightest clue of the iconic moment that they were witnessing. Indeed, this picture quickly became a symbol of freedom and autonomy.

Photo: Courtesy of Borepanda.com.

It shows Hans Conrad Schumann, a young border guard at the barriers that used to divide East and West Germany, courageously crossing the barbed-wire and entering West Berlin. The fact that the picture shows another photographer eternalizing the scene makes it even more unique. Slide on for another iconic photograph!

#19. Two Icons Meet.

This photograph depicts an emblematic encounter between two of the most recognized figures of their own generation: Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle. Star comedian Dave Chappelle, who had gained notoriety for his daring stand-ups and for rejecting a huge contract by a TV channel, visited Angelou’s house in 2006 for an episode of the documentary series “Iconoclasts“.

Photo: Courtesy of Vibe.

Maya Angelou is one of the 20th Century most notable poets and civil rights activists. That’s why most people from her close circle were surprised by the news that she was going to conversate with Chappelle. However, the encounter brought the best of both icons, as they enjoyed a passionate talk about race, comedy, and their respective generations.

#19. An Armenian Dances In The Mountains.

This picture was taken by Antoine Agoudjian, one of France’s most outstanding photographers ever. As you might suspect by his last name, Antoine is of Armenian descent. He has always been very connected to his past and constantly explores the country while taking awesome shots every now and then.

Photo: Courtesy of Antoine Agoudjian/Borepanda.com

Once, Antoine was rummaging through Aparan, a town which is an hour-long drive away from Armenia’s capital, when he spotted a dance group performing near the mountains. Immediately, after taking some pictures, an old man approached him. He was crying because Antoine made him reminisce his son which had passed away, and to Antoine’s surprise, the old man starting dancing. Luckily, he captured this beautiful moment of resilience.

#18. Moving An Apartment.

We can all agree on the fact that what’s taking place in this photograph seems extremely odd. Are those people really moving that huge building? How did they have the technology or strength to achieve this? Why was it necessary? Don’t worry, we got answers for all of these questions.

Photo: Courtesy of Borepanda.com.

This occurred in Rumania, in the spring of 1987, when the government ordered to modify the infrastructure with the aim of clearing the way for a new boulevard. However, this building stood in the way, so it was split into two parts which were then moved away. I bet the workers were exhausted after that demanding job!

#16. A Cry Of Joy.

This old photograph is definitely compelling. Just take a couple of seconds and look at those joyful faces, bursting of excitement at the encounter! Even your most cynic friend will be overwhelmed after discovering the backstory of this Pulitzer winning shot, taken by photographer Slava Veder in 1973.

Photo: Courtesy of Slava Veder/Borepanda.com.

This emotional reunion took place in California’s Travis Air Force Base. The man which is showing his back to us is U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Robert L. Stirm, and he’s meeting he’s finally seeing his family again after fighting in Vietnam. If you liked this one, be sure to check #14 and #3 for more emotional pictures!

#15. Sinatra Sings With Elvis.

Miles Davis and Coltrane, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Kanye and Jay Z… Music fans from all genres seem to cherish the moments when notable artists join forces, it usually doesn’t matter if it’s for an album or only for a song or a single show. However, one of music history’s most epic encounters is constantly, overlooked for some reason.

Photo: Courtesy of DiscoverMusic.

And that moment happened in 1960 when Frank Sinatra prepared a special show for the ABC Television Network. The idea was to welcome back Elvis, who had been two years absent from the music industry due to military service. The alliance helped to introduce Elvis to an older audience and demonstrated that Sinatra held respect for the young idol, which was a puzzling surprise since he had always criticized rock and roll.

#14. Selma To Montgomery Marches.

This iconic photograph shows one of the three non-violent marches held in 1965. These famous protest marches consisted of walking along the 54-mile  highway from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery’s state capital. Also a part of a larger civil rights movement throughout the South, the main goal of these marches was to obtain the right to vote for African-Americans.

Photo: Courtesy of ACLU Archive.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had put an end to legal segregation, African Americans still clashed against the resistance of white officials when they expressed their desire to vote. These legendary marches were essential for the introduction of a voting rights bill in August 1965. The route was also designated as a U.S. National Historic Trail.

#13. Tadeusz Zytkiewicz With A Picture Of Himself.

Without proper backstory, this picture can be really confusing. Indeed, on the surface, we are only observing an old man with a picture of himself. But the photograph which he’s pointing at holds great relevance for the history of medicine and technological development. The blue-eyed old man is actually Tadeusz Zytkiewicz.

Photo: Courtesy of Borepanda.com.

What is it about the scene he is pointing at that’s so important? Well, Tadeusz is showing us the moment when he became the first patient to receive a heart transplant. Yes, you read that right! In 1987 Dr. Zbigniew Religa took a high risk with this unprecedented surgery, and the result was an outstanding success. Bravo for Dr. Religa and his patient!

#12. Jimi Closes Woodstock.

Jimi Hendrix is usually undoubtedly regarded as rock and roll’s most skilled guitarist ever. I mean, he was even capable of performing a magical solo with his teeth! He certainly revolutionized the instrument’s technique, with an immense talent that often seemed unreal. This picture shows him fully immersed in his 1969 Woodstock legendary performance.

Photo: Courtesy of guitarhive.com.

That’s right, Jimi had the honor of closing what’s probably the most symbolically relevant music festival of the 20th Century. What an accomplishment! But his performance wasn’t only a great highlight of his career, but also of the pacifist movement. Hendrix famously did a version of the National Anthem with his electric guitar, a memorable gesture which was meant to protest against the Vietnam War.

#11. Get Up And Fight!

Some call him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century, everyone agrees that he was the best heavyweight boxer on Earth. Fast as a fly, powerful as an elephant, and extremely provocative, Muhammad Ali was on everyone’s mouths when he was involved in some of the most notable fights of all time.

Photo: Courtesy of TIME.

One of these epic duels was against Sonny Liston, who we see defeated in the picture, after a mighty punch from Ali. Don’t you think this is a perfectly timed photo? I most certainly think so! The photographer captured the exact moment when the world’s greatest boxer taunts Liston by shouting: “get up and fight, sucker!”. Check #8 and #4 for other sports-related photos!

#10. Magical Mystery Pillowfight.

Glasgow-born photographer Harry Benson collaborated with The Beatles on numerous occasions, but when he was assigned the job of taking some shots of the band for the first time in 1964, he was actually far from thrilled. According to him, he was planning a work-related trip to Africa at the time, and he didn’t consider the task of working with the young musicians as a serious thing.

Photo: Courtesy of Harry Benson/TIME.

Good luck he accepted, though, because this we wouldn’t have the awesome possibility of getting a peek of John, Ringo, George and Paul at their most playful and exuberant version, otherwise. That same night the band’s single “I Want To Hold You’re Hand” went straight to #1 in America, which seems even more extraordinary after observing their youthful joy in this pillow fight.

#9. Students Rise In Paris.

A group of elegantly-dressed students with a huge banner takes the streets of Paris in 1968. This photograph perfectly portrays the European country’s immense turmoil during the month of May in that year, when first the students, and then the workers, protested against traditional values and institutions.

Photo: Courtesy of Revista Arcadia.

A change was needed, and both universities and factories were occupied by protesters, as they put Charles De Gaulle’s government in a deep crisis. Rumor has it that almost 30% of France’s population in the mythical protests, which were characterized by the creative use of graffitis and art as ways of expression.

#8. The Fastest Man On Earth.

A tall, imposing man comfortably finishes a race with a stunning advantage and a provocative smirk on his face. The remaining seven participants struggle to keep up with his pace but ultimately fail. The winner is Usain Bolt, and you’re observing the moment in which he broke the 100-meter race record.

Photo: Courtesy of RTVE.es.

The 100-meter dash is perhaps the most watched event of every athletics competition. In fact, it’s probably the most exciting moment of the Olympic Games, adrenaline-wise at least. That’s why Usain Bolt earned the honor of getting called the fastest man on Earth when he established the record of 9.58 seconds. That’s an average of less than a second per every 10 meters. Impressive!

#7. Dali Atomicus.

What can be said about Salvador Dalí that hasn’t already been said? The Spanish, controversial and immensely talented artist made some mankind’s most unique and baffling paintings. Dalí often tried to innovate and explore his fantasies and unconscious, and his otherworldly talent helped him materialize his ambitious vision.

Photo: Courtesy of Philippe Halsman/TIME.

This picture is probably the portrait which succeeds the most in capturing the artist’s eccentric style and personality. Photographer Philippe Halsman achieved this notable feat, elaborating an uncommon scene which included three cats, a bucket of water in the air, and an in-progress easel of Salvador. What a mind-blowing composition!

#6. Man On The Moon.

Somewhere, thousands of miles away, a couple of footprints may still exist on the moon’s dusty craters. On the evening of July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong famously became the first man to put a foot on the moon. Just picture yourself in that suit, surrounded by a mysterious landscape and a jet-black sky. It gives me goosebumps!

Photo: Courtesy of NASA/TIME.

Maybe Buzz Aldrin can’t say that he was the first man on the moon, but it was Armstrong who carried the crew’s camera, meaning that the one who took the second steps was the one who million of humans saw on the pictures. Here, we can observe Buzz, his exhilaration hidden beneath the astronaut suit, and the small figure of Neil reflected in his helmet’s visor.

#5. Bob And Joan.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, the king and queen of folk in the ’60s, went through peaks and valleys in their relationship. This shot captures them while they were allegedly falling in love, at a time when they were starting to take the American folk scene by storm with their duets, mesmerizing performances, and striking lyrics.

Photo: Courtesy of El Mundo.

Their relationship quickly turned sour, sadly. That’s why this shot has an aura of nostalgia around it too. Fortunately, they’re currently friends, they usually dedicate kind words to each other, and it’s always particularly moving to read about what Joan’s first impression caused to Bob.

“I couldn’t stop looking at her, didn’t want to blink… the sight of her made me sigh. A voice that drove away bad spirits… she sang in a voice straight to God…” Bob Dylan told on his autobiography “Chronicles: Volume One“.

#4. Zidane’s Defeat.

The FIFA Soccer World Cup is one of the most-watched events on Earth. The 2006 edition was no exception, and it definitely holds a special place in the fans’ memories, mainly because of the controversial final game. For the final match, France, who had surprised the world by defeating Brazil in an epic face-off, faced Italy’s tough defensive style.

Photo: Courtesy of Reddit.

After a 1-1 tie in the 90 minutes, they went to extra time, which resulted in being half an hour full of emotions. Zinedine Zidane, France’s idol who was also playing his last ever game, was sent off with a red card after headbutting Italy’s Materazzi on his chest. Zidane couldn’t contain his anger after the defender verbally taunted him, and the picture shows the French icon dramatically leaving the pitch, with the World Cup a couple of steps away.

#3. The Last One.

Most people think that old shows from past decades quickly go out of fashion and produce low-ratings for the channel. But some notable exceptions prove them wrong by maintaining both their popularity and their unique place in the American culture. One of those is obviously Friends.

Photo: Courtesy of E!

In fact, when a rumor spread out saying that Netflix could possibly finish their contract with the cherished TV series and take away the ten seasons for good, everyone freaked out on social media. This photograph shows a behind the scenes moment from the show’s notable last episode, with the guys holding hands for a round of applause from the rest of the crew. Check #1 for another emotive picture from a show!

#2. David Letterman’s Last Show.

Already an American TV classic, the late night show franchise of CBS started with legendary host David Letterman in 1993. The Late Show with David Letterman quickly gained critical acclaim and became a public-favorite, with notable guest coming from politics, music and other areas.

Photo: Courtesy of Vox.

But the main reason why this show was ranked number seven on TV Guide’s Greatest TV Shows of All Time was probably David’s unique charisma and personality, which earned him a special place in the audience’s hearts. The picture shows the host on the last episode, which aired in 2015. For a tear-shedding goodbye, he invited the Foo Fighters, which performed a moving rendition of the song Everlong.

#1. That ’70s Show.

That 70’s Show is undeniably one of the most beloved sitcoms ever. Spanning 8 seasons from 1998 to 2006, the series followed the events of 6 six teenagers in the rock and roll era of the ’70s. Kelso, Donna, Eric, Jackie, Steven, and Fez instantly appealed to both young and old audiences with a great sense of humor.

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest.

Moreover, Ashton Kutcher, who played Kelso, and Mila Kunis, who played Jackie, met and fell in love while filming the show, giving birth to an amazing romantic story. The photograph shows the group’s casting shot. Just look at those young and audacious smirks on their faces!

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