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31 Most Powerful Photos that Have Ever Been Captured

Although it has been stated that a picture speaks a thousand words, not all photographs are created equal. Some images are more powerful and have a deeper message. They are captivating and unforgettable because they reveal so much about the human experience, about both the best and worst parts of contemporary existence. One of the reasons they are so memorable is because of this.

We have a responsibility to our readers to warn them that some of these photographs may be upsetting while others may make them joyful. But that is the case given that these images show both the best and worst aspects of people and global events.

01. Starving boy and missionary

Image credit: Mike Wells

02. Inside a gas chamber at Auschwitz

Image credit: kligon5

03. Heart surgeon following a successful (23-hour) heart transplant. His assistant is sleeping off in the corner.

Image credit: James Stanfield

04. Father and son (1949 vs 2009)

Image credit: Vojage-Vojage

05. Diego Frazo Torquato, a 12-year-old Brazilian boy, plays the violin during the burial of his teacher. Through music, the teacher had helped him escape poverty and violence.

Image credit: salvemasnossascriancas.blogspot.com

06. In 1994, a Russian soldier plays an abandoned piano in Chechnya.

Image credit: drugoi.livejournal.com

07. A young man has just heard that his brother has been murd ered.

Image credit: Nhat V. Meyer

08. At the 2011 Cairo protests, Christians protected Muslims during prayer.

Image credit: Nevine Zaki

09. During the deadly Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009, a fireman provides water to a koala.

Image credit: abc.net.au

10. Terri Gurrola has been reunited with her daughter after a 7-month mission in Iraq.

Image credit: Louie Favorite

11. In New Delhi, India, homeless men queue to accept free food served outside a mosque ahead of Eid al-Fitr.

Image credit: Tsering Topgyal / AP

12. During the Mumbai serial explosions in March 1993, Zanjeer the dog saved thousands of lives by detecting more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades, and 6406 rounds of live fire. In 2000, he was buried with full military honours.

Image credit: STR News / Reuters

13. A Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldier stands at attention on the eve of South Sudan’s independence from Sudan.

Image credit: independence from Sudan

14. An alcoholic father and his son.

Image credit: imgur.com

15. As unset on Mars

Image credit: nasa.gov

16. Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his palm as rain pours over the wreckage of his home outside Yangon, Myanmar’s capital (Rangoon). Cyclone Nargis devastated southern Myanmar in May 2008, displacing millions and killing over 100,000 people.

Image credit: Brian Sokol

17. A dog named “Leao” rests for the second day in a row at the grave of her owner, who perished in the 2011 landslides in Rio de Janeiro.

Image credit: Vanderlei Almeida / Getty Images

18. “Wait For Me Daddy,” by Claude P. Dettloff in New Westminster, Canada, October 1, 1940.

Image credit: Claud Detloff

19. An old WW2 Russian tank veteran discovered his old tank, which had served him throughout the war, standing as a memorial in a tiny Russian town.

Image credit: englishrussia.com

20. Flower power

Image credit: Bernie Boston

21. In March 2011, a lady rests among the ruins left by a huge earthquake and following tsunami in Natori, northern Japan.

Image credit: Asahi Shimbun, Toshiyuki Tsunenari /AP

22. A Catholic woman and her Protestant husband’s graves, Holland, 1888.

Image credit: retronaut.com

23. Greg Cook holds his dog Coco after discovering her inside his wrecked home in Alabama during the March 2012 tornado.

Image credit: Gary Cosby Jr. / AP

24. Condom usage demonstration at a public market in Jayapura, Papua’s capital, in 2009.

Image credit: Adri Tambunan

25. In July 1943, Russian forces were preparing for the Bat tle of Kursk.

Image credit: Shirak Karapetyan-Milshtein

26. During heavy floods in Cuttack City, India, in 2011, a brave villager saved many stray cats by carrying them on his head in a basket.

Image credit: Biswaranjan Rout / AP

27. An Afghan man offers tea to sold iers.

Image credit: Rafiq Maqbool / AP

28. Some parents, most likely in their 70s, are still searching for their mis sing kid.

Image credit: reddit.com

29. Lunch Atop A Skyscraper, 1932.

Image credit: unknown credits

30. Earthrise, William Anders, NASA, 1968.

Image credit: William Anders

31. Mushroom Cloud Over Nagasaki, Lieutenant Charles Levy, 1945.

Image credit: unknown credits

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