12 Famous Photographs and the Stories Behind the Picture

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Every photo has its own story to tell. May it be a sad experience, a joyous moment, or a shocking tale, these stories are what put colors to every image. Here are 12 of the world’s most famous shots and the stories behind the photo.

Afghan Girl

The tantalizing eyes of this young Afghan girl from a refugee camp in Pakistan was taken by acclaimed photographer Steve McCurry. She has been dubbed as the third world’s Mona Lisa because of how she was able to captivate people without saying a word.


This photo of camels casually passing through burning oil fields was taken during the 1991 Gulf War. The camels were covered in oil, ran into the fire, and were eventually engulfed by it. The grim photo is one the few taken during that dark time.


Shadow play in Preah Khan, Angkor, Cambodia. Also taken by McCurry, this is a photograph of Preah Khan, a temple in Cambodia that was built in the twelfth century.




The boy hails from one of the distinct ethnic groups in Ethiopa, the Suri tribe in the Omo Valley. This tribe is one of the few that still holds its traditions and has been relatively untouched by the outside world.


A photo of one of the nine tribes that surround the Omo Valley, this one shows children from the Kara tribe looking through screened windows.


The picture of an elderly man from the Rabari Tribe in Rajasthan conveys a simple message: the life of someone can easily be translated through the way he looks.




This quaint photo taken in Phu Tho province, Vietnam, shows a simple scene in the lives of those who settle in the mountain province.


Yugoslavia was devastated after a series of political problems in the 80s. In 1989, McCurry took this photo of a mother and daughter standing in the window of a house with the Yugoslav flag in the Republic of Montenegro.


A boy from the Hamer Tribe. The young boys from this tribe have to jump on a bull as part of a rite they have to undergo to fully become a “man.”




The portrait of an Ethiopian boy with a mask on his face speaks for itself. Hundreds of young African children do not have the voice to exclaim the problems this third-world nation is going through.


This photo taken in Ethiopia details the simple joy members of the ethnic groups still have.


Photographer Steve McCurry talks to Surma tribesmen. This image proves that through images, the people in the most remote areas of the world, especially those that have witnessed bloodbath, will break language barriers just to shed light about the horrors of war.



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