5. World Trade Center 9/11 (Steve Ludlum)
The power of Steve Ludlum’s photos are astounding, and the written description only tends to dilute the impact. The consequences of the second aircraft crashing into New York’s WTC were devastating: fireballs erupted and smoke billowed from the skyscrapers anticipating the towers’ collapse and monstrous dust clouds.
4. After the Tsunami (Arko Datta)
One of the most representative and striking photos of the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami was taken by Reuters photographer Arko Datta in Tamil Nadu. He won the World Press Photo competition of 2004. Kathy Ryan, jury member and picture editor of The New York Times Magazine, characterized Datta’s image as a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture.”
“After the Tsunami” illustrates an Indian woman lying on the sand with her arms outstretched, mourning a dead family member. Her relative was killed by one of the deadliest natural disasters that we have ever seen: the Indian Ocean tsunami.
3. Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984 (Pablo Bartholomew)
Pablo Bartholomew is an acclaimed Indian photojournalist who captured the Bhopal Gas Tragedy into his lens. Twenty-six years have passed since India’s worst industrial catastrophe injured 558,125 people and killed as many as 15,000. Because safety standards and maintenance procedures had been ignored at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, a leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals triggered a massive environmental and human disaster. Photographer Pablo Bartholomew rushed to document the catastrophe. He came across a man who was burying a child. This scene was photographed by both Pablo Bartholomew and Raghu Rai, another renowned Indian photojournalist. “This expression was so moving and so powerful to tell the whole story of the tragedy”, said Raghu Rai.
2. Operation Lion Heart (Deanne Fitzmaurice)
Pulitzer Prize award winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice won the highly respected award in 2005 for the photographic essay “Operation Lion Heart.”
“Operation Lion Heart” is the story of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who was severely injured by an explosion during one of the most violent conflicts of modern history – the Iraq War. The boy was brought to a hospital in Oakland, CA where he had to undergo dozens of life-and-death surgeries. His courage and unwillingness to die gave him the nickname: Saleh Khalaf, “Lion Heart”.
Deanne Fitzmaurice’s shocking photographs ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in a five-part series written by Meredith May.
1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fourier)
Frank Fournier captured the tragic image of Omayra Sanchez trapped in mud and collapsed buildings. The eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia 1985 triggered a massive mudslide. It devastated towns and killed 25,000 people.
After 3 days of struggling, Omayra died due to hypothermia and gangrene. Her tragic death accentuated the failure of officials to respond quickly and save the victims of Colombia’s worst ever natural disaster. Frank Fournier took this photo shortly before Omayra died. Her agonizing death was followed live on TV by hundreds of millions of people around the world and started a major controversy. May her soul rest in peace…
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