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12 Disturbing Photographs Which Shocked The Whole World | Caution: Open At Your Own Risk

operation lion heart

Whenever you look at a picture it tells something and that’s why it is said a picture is worth a thousand words. One need not write many things to describe a picture. It tells us the joy, sorrow, anguish and different expressions.

But some pictures tell us more than that, it forces us to think about the surroundings, about the situation. Sometimes, a picture is powerful enough to shock the world. Below are some photographs which tell the tales of distress, hope, bravery and death.

Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fournier)

Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez

In 1985 Columbia, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano eruption caused mudslide which killed more than 25,000 people. Frank Fournier captured the upsetting photo of Omayra Sanchez, a 13-year-old girl trapped for 60 hours under the debris of her home. Fournier won a World Press Photo award in 1985.

The tragedy was the girl died due to hypothermia and gangrene following three days of struggle. This incident was followed by millions of people around the world on television. This created major criticism on the Columbian government for beginning a weak rescue work.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy (Pablo Bartholomew and Raghu Rai)

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

In 1984, December, poisonous methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited storage which took more than 15,000 lives and 558, 125 people were also injured. India’s worst environmental and human disaster was a result of ignorance in standard safety and maintenance procedure.

Photographer Pablo Bartholomew documented the disaster and during that he came across a man who was burying a child. Both Pablo Bartholomew and another well-known photojournalist Raghu Rai photographed this scene. Raghu Rai said, “This expression was so moving and so powerful to tell the whole story of the tragedy”.

Operation Lion Heart (Deanne Fitzmaurice)

operation lion heart

Photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice won the highly respected award Pulitzer in 2005 for the photographic essay “Operation Lion Heart”.

Operation Lion Heart depicted the story of a 9-year-old boy who was critically injured by an explosion during the Iraq War. The boy was admitted to a hospital in Oakland, CA where he underwent dozens of life threatening surgeries. His courage and unwillingness to die gave him the nickname Saleh Khalaf, meaning ‘Lion Heart’.

After the Tsunami (Arko Datta)

After the Tsunami

This is one of the representative and striking photos of the consequence of Indian Ocean tsunami 2004. This was clicked by Reuters photographer Arko Datta in Tamil Nadu. He won the World Press Photo competition of 2004. The jury member Kathy Ryan and the picture editor of the New the picture editor of the New York Times magazine characterised his image as a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture.”

This photo portrays an Indian woman lying on the sand with her arms outstretched, mourning the death of a family member.

The Power of One (Oded Balilty)

The Power of One

Israeli documentary photographer for the Associated Press, Oded Balilty photographed this. In 2006, Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of illegal outposts such as Amina. Oded Balilty was present at the time when evacuation degenerated into violent clashes between authorities and settlers.

The picture depicts a 16-year-old brave Jewish settler, Ynet Nili resisting the authorities. This picture also created controversy. Nili said, “A picture like this one is a mark of disgrace for the state of Israel and is nothing to be proud of. The picture looks like it represents a work of art, but that isn’t what went on there. What happened in Amona was totally different.”

Nili alleged the police beat her up very badly. She said, “You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion, behind the many stands one man, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but behind me stand the Lord and the people of Israel.”

World Trade Centre 9/11 (Steve Ludlum)

World Trade Centre 9/11

This photo reminds the shocking result of terrorism. The photographer Steve Ludlum said, “It’s an iconic image. When people think of the World Trade Centre disaster they will think about this photograph.” He won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography in 2002.

In this picture, the second aircraft crashed into New York’s World Trade Centre; fireballs blew up, smoke swelled from the towers indicated the collapse of the twin towers.

After the Storm (Patrick Farrell)

After the Storm

Patrick Farrel, the Miami Herald photographer captured the upsetting photos of victims of Haiti suffered by the tropical storm Hanna in 2008. He documented the tragedy in black-and-white stills. In this picture a boy trying to save a stroller after the storm.

Farrel won the Pulitzer in 2009.

Thailand Massacre (Neil Ulevich)

Thailand Massacre

American photographer Neil Ulevich was awarded Pulitzer in 1977 for capturing “disorder and brutality in the streets of Bangkok”. The massacre in Thammasat University occurred on October 6, 1976. The attack was on the students who were demonstrating against Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn.

Kittikachorn was a dictator who was planning to return to Thailand. His return from exile provoked violent protests. Several students who were protesting were beaten, shot, hanged, mutilated and burnt to death.

War Underfoot (Carolyn Cole)

War Underfoot

Carolyn Cole, the Los Angeles Times photographer captured this photo during her assignment in Liberia. It depicts the terrific effects of the Liberian Civil War. She won the Pulitzer in 2004 for her coverage of the siege in Monrovia.

This photo was taken in Monrovia. In this photo, bullet casings cover all over the street. The Liberian capital Monrovia was worst hit due to the heavy fighting between government soldiers and rebel forces.

Kosovo Refugees (Carol Guzy)

Kosovo Refugees

Carol Guzy is the first woman to receive Pulitzer for spot news photography. In 2000, she received the award for touching photographs of Kosovo Refugees.

In this photo, a two-year-old boy Agim Shala was passed through the barb wired fence to his family on the other side. Thousands of Kosovo refugees were reunited and camped in Kukes, Albania.

Humanity Washed Ashore (Nilüfer Demir)

Humanity Washed Ashore

The horrific photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi was taken by Nilüfer Demir, a Doğan News Agency photojournalist. She won the Press Photo of the Year award in the 2016 Turkey Photojournalist Association Press’ Photos of the Year contest.

This photo made global headlines after he drowned on 2 September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family were Syrian refugees and they trying to reach Canada amid the European refugee crisis. This image caused international outrage. French President François Hollande said the picture must be a reminder of the world’s responsibility regarding refugees.

Omran Daqneesh (Mahmoud Raslan)

Omran Daqneesh

The 5-year-old Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh’s haunting image was captured by photographer and media activist Mahmoud Raslan. In this photo, the child sits in the seat of an ambulance after an airstrike blew up his family’s home in eastern Aleppo, Syria. Raslan said when he took the photo he was in tears.

Civilians in Aleppo and other areas suffered continued attacks as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad including the Russian government battle with different anti-Assad rebel groups. In a message released by the Syrian Campaign Raslan said, “All photos of children and attacks in Syria go viral to raise global awareness of daily life there”.

Suchismita Biswas
Suchismita Biswas
Pen is mightier than swords - these words make me passionate about writing. Except writing I love to travel , love to explore the unknown places, love photography and love listening to music. Also I am an avid reader of books. I'm a simple girl but I am what I am.

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