1973 | Coup in Chile

. After three unsuccessful campaigns, Salvador Allende was finally elected in Chile in 1970 — the first Marxist president ever elected democratically anywhere in the world. His subsequent socialist reforms – which included nationalizing factories and agricultural estates, includi … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 5 days ago

Berlin Airlift | Henry Ries

. “We must have a bad phone connection,” asked General Curtis LeMay, the cigar-chomping, gruff-talking head of Strategic Air Command. “It sounds like you are asking whether we have planes for carrying coal.” It was June 1948, and on the other end of the call was General Lucius Cl … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 9 days ago

Pope John Paul in Managua

. There was the weightiness of history to the moment above. Canossa perhaps or the memories of the papacies of the Renaissance and the Inquistion perhaps. A pope wagging finger at a kneeling man on the airport tarmac. It was 1983 and Pope John Paul II was in Managua — on his firs … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 19 days ago

1944 | Vienne Execution

. After France was liberated from the Nazis in 1944, a wave of retributions swept through the country. Nazi collaborators and Gestapo informers were denounced; women suspected of having relationships with Germans were publicly humiliated by having their heads shaved; those engage … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 24 days ago

Coronation of George V

Ahead of Charles III’s coronation this weekend, we look back at the first time cameras were allowed inside the Westminster Abbey George V’s coronation in 1911 had several ‘firsts’: the first to use the newly developed processional route through the Mall and Whitehall; the first t … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 1 month ago

Formula One Fire | 1994

. Refueling in the pit lane and Formula One has a complicated relationship since 1982 when Brabham team discovered that a faster race time could be achieved when starting a car with only half a tank of fuel. The sport’s governing authorities banned refueling in 1984 – but relente … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 1 month ago

Three Communists

Often reprinted in Laos and Vietnam was the image above – that of Laotian Communist leader Kaysone Phomvihane with Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese revolutionary. The photo was never reprinted in its entirely in Laos and Vietnam – both still nominally communist – to include the third … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 1 month ago

Woodstock ’69

. The whole world was there. At least it appeared to be — and later would claim to be. From August 15th to 17th 1969, the largest rock festival in American history was undergoing at Bethel, New York. The name ‘Woodstock’ would soon enter into cultural memory, but back then, it wa … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 1 month ago

Indochina by Taizo Ichinose

. The haunting photo above showed the road leading to Angkor Thom – covered in detritus from the forest and devoid of any trace of people, except for a solitary human spine. It was taken by Taizo Ichinose, a Japanese photographer, whose ambition to capture images of the Angkor Wa … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

Decisive Moments by A.I.

For years it has been in development, but in recent months, there has been remarkable breakthroughs in artificial intelligence — especially in the field of generative AI, that enables machines to create text and images. The operative word is create. AI creates. It doesn’t provide … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

Poolside Gossip | 1970

. You have probably seen it. In bars, in restaurants, on walls of hotel lobbies. The photo of two attractive women sitting in lounge chairs next to a pool and a modern house. Gray and purple mountains in the background. Slim Aarons, a society photographer in Los Angeles, took the … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

Blog Announcement

Normally Iconic Photos don’t reveal talk about current affairs photos. But on Patreon, I will start sharing short pieces, about photos that are currently in the news. Minimum once a month. Maybe once or twice a month. I started with this week with a Addenda post about India, and … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

Hawaiian Statehood, 1959

. It was a long and arduous journey. Following the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893 by American businessmen, there were several attempts to incorporate the archipelago into the United States. For a time, it was considered a republic until it became a U.S. territory in 18 … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

Albanian Migration to Italy

. In the final days of 1989, as communism faltered throughout Eastern Europe, Albania was facing upheavals too. The country had been isolated for decades, maintaining an antagonistic stance not only with the West but also against the fellow travelers in Soviet Union, China, and Y … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

National Geographic’s Edited Covers

. The year was 1982. That February, National Geographic’s cover showed the camel train in front of the Great Pyramids at Giza. Keen-eyed readers noticed something off about the photo: the editors have moved the pyramids to fit the original photo, which was taken in landscape onto … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 2 months ago

The 1954 Capitol Attack

As the mob of rioters barged through the Capitol building on January 6th 2021, they must have passed through the halls marked by earlier tumults.  It seemed unimaginable in the post-9/11 world of the ever vigilant security state, but the Capitol was bombed three times (in 1914, 1 … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 3 months ago

Lenin and Stalin

. Even today, photographers who attempt to take pictures inside the mausoleum on the Red Square where Vladimir Lenin lay in repose are stopped by the sentries. In 1955, that didn’t deter British tourist Christopher Scott, who had bought his first camera only fourteen days earlier … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 3 months ago

Beirut | Don McCullin

In January 1976, Christian Falangist fighters “cleared out” Quarantina, a Muslim neighborhood in Christian-dominated East Beirut. The Minet-el-Hosn district, a seaside area of downtown Beirut known for its hotels, became one of the frontlines of the religious war that began.  The … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 months ago

The Coffins, 2004

. In 1991, when his gruesome photo of a dead Iraqi soldier burnt in tank during the Gulf War was published, Ken Jarecke remarked: “If we’re big enough to fight a war, we should be big enough to look at it.” For four presidential administrations — from the Gulf War until 2009 – th … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 5 months ago

Falun Gong

Falun Gong protests in April 1999 symbolized much that came before and much that came since – so did the repression that followed.   . Last week, as Chinese cities erupted into anti-lockdown protests, commentators look back at the student led protests of 1989, which ended with th … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 6 months ago

Jiang Zemin (1926 – 2022)

Jiang Zemin, a president and a meme, died this week, aged 96. . On “60 Minutes” in 2000, he was asked whether he was running China as a ‘developmental dictatorship’. Jiang Zemin was defiant. “Of course not,” he answered, capping an interview where he quoted from the Gettysburg ad … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 6 months ago

East Germany | 1953

. Earlier this year, as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Yuval Noah Harari wrote a punchy editorial in the Guardian. One line stood out: “In the long run, stories count for more than tanks,” and reminded me of this photo. . Unrest had been brewing in East Germany for a while. U … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 6 months ago

Ron Galella (1931 – 2022)

Ron Galella, patron saint of peeping toms, is dead, age 91. . “A great photograph shows the famous doing something unfamous. Ron Galella is my favorite photographer,” Andy Warhol once said. Ron Galella’s career was defined by taking pictures of the famous doing the routine – and … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 6 months ago

Last Picture of War | Robert Capa

. His biographer called them “the most gruesome photographs of [Robert] Capa’s entire career.” On the floor of a Leipziger apartment, 21-year old Raymod J. Bowman lay dead, a German sniper’s bullet clean through his forehead. His legs were splayed out onto the balcony from which … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

The Zamzam Affair

. “One of the picture scoops of World War II,” Time magazine called it. The photos showed the sinking of Zamzam, an Egyptian vessel which departed New York in March 1941 bound for Alexandria, Egypt with approximately 200 passengers, mostly Protestant missionaries, plus two dozen … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

Henri Cartier-Bresson | Shanghai, Jan 1949

On the day the Japanese Army surrendered in September 1945, the wars in Asia were far from over. As Ronald Spector notes in a recent book, “A Continent Erupts,” the peoples under the territories until recent occupied by Japan had vastly different visions about their postcolonial … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

Hu Jintao is Removed

Kremlinology, they used to call it. Analysis of an opaque obscurantist state, using indirect clues: the removal of portraits, the rearranging of chairs, the standing positions and precedence on the parade podium on the Red Square. Even the choice of capitalization (“First Secreta … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

Coronation of Haile Selassie, King of Kings

Many photos featured throughout this blog were iconic, some have made or unmade careers, others have changed the course of public opinion and wars. But few have actually started a religion, except these. In November 1930, National Geographic sent a reporter and a photographer to … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

Bombing of Singapore

On 8 December 1941, seventeen Japanese bombers dropped bombs over the island of Singapore, the opening salvo in their campaign against Dutch, British, and Portuguese possessions in South East Asia. Months earlier, Japan had already taken advantage of the defeat of France and the … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

I’m black and I’m proud to be black

. It was a fraught game on Saturday 17 April 1993 when St Kilda faced Collingwood at Victoria Park in Melbourne, the home ground for Collingwood, the Australian Football League team affectionately known as the Magpies. The Saints had beaten the Magpies in the finals the previous … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 7 months ago

Site – Update and Shameless Plug

Hi Readers, I haven’t updated the blog for a while. Well, life happens. A lot seemed to have happened in the world since my last post too. I will have longer updates and new posts on here soon enough. But in the meantime, here is a link to a side-project I just started. An instag … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 1 year ago

Akihito Wedding

April 10th 1959. There were more than 500,000 people lining up on the street of Tokyo, along the 8.8 km processional route, and although TV had only arrived in Japan six years earlier, 15 million v… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 3 years ago

Snow Crystals | Wilson Bentley

When Wilson Bentley died in 1931, his hometown newspaper eulogized him thus: “Longfellow said that genius is infinite painstaking. John Ruskin declared that genius is only a superior power of… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Raymond Depardon’s France

To understand France’s political malaise, look to Raymond Depardon’s works.  As the popular revolt paralyzed France last week in the ways unseen since the events of May 1968, one curiou… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Grace, Minnesota

American states are a weird assembly of riotous traditions, laws, and items. Pumpkin pie is the official state pie in Illinois, Oregon has an official state nut, and New Mexico an official state qu… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Business of photography is largely the business of death, destruction, and misery. Humans are naturally drawn to images that underscore the fragility and the impermanence of their existence, and th… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Cathedral In The Desert

In 1956, when the American government approved the Colorado River Storage Project Act, it was considered a significant achievement towards taming the Colorado River and powering to the southwest. T… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Love on the Left Bank

There is a book called The Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano, French novelist and the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, which chronicles lives and anxieties of Parisians in the … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Ascent of Denali/Mt. McKinley

Seeing is believing, they used to say. With the advent of digital technology, that has been a harder statement make, in any field from politics to pornography. Yet, even without technology, people … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Romania | Mike Abrahams

This week we saw a glimpse of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, who traveled to Singapore with his own personal toilet (to prevent others from assessing his diet). There had always been crazy dictat… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 4 years ago

Roswell Memo

Perhaps no other photo has been scrutinized as much as the one above. Books have been written about it, and the University of Texas even has a $10,000 reward for the first person who could provide … | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 5 years ago

Mount St. Helens — May 1980

(contd. from the previous post). As Mount St. Helens primed for its explosion, the government dithered. Logging companies (including Wyerhaeuser, one of the largest private owners of timberlands in… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 5 years ago

Mount St. Helens – April 1980

At 8:27 a.m. on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens in the Pacific Northwest of the United States was 9,677 feet high. Over the next five minutes, the volcano lost 1,300 feet, blowing its top in an expl… | Continue reading

@iconicphotos.wordpress.com | 5 years ago