Life is filled with a multitude of moments — some fleeting, others everlasting. Yet, it’s through the lens of photography that we’ve learned to preserve them. Celebrated on August 19th, World Photography Day is a tribute to this unique form of art. From the daguerreotype to the digital era, each shutter click tells us remarkable stories.

To celebrate this day, we’ve curated a list of 20 iconic photographs that take us across different eras, events, and emotions. It’s an invitation to appreciate the photos that, again and again, make us fall in love with photography.


The essence of world photography day

This special day traces its origins back to 1837, when the first practical photographic process — the daguerreotype — was introduced to the world. This moment was transformative, marking the dawn of a new visual age.

The significance of World Photography Day extends beyond celebrating the craft itself — it also underlines the power of a single image. From iconic global events to intimate personal memories, photography transcends languages and cultures, uniting us under the shared human experience. On this day, both professionals and novices alike come together to showcase their passion. As we flip through albums or scroll digital galleries, we’re reminded that in every corner of the world, there’s a story waiting to be captured.

World Photography Day is an invitation to observe and capture our world within a frame.


20 iconic images that resonated through time

From the depths of human struggles to the peaks of celebrations, these photographs show us the moments forever embedded into our collective memories. Their beauty — sometimes confronting, other times uplifting — reminds us of the role a camera plays in our lives. It’s not merely an observer: it narrates the stories that might otherwise be lost in time.

These images collectively echo the transformative power of photography. It’s not just the subjects that captivate, but the perspectives they introduce us to. As we start from the earliest photograph to moments that defined the 20th century, we are also reminded of photographers who framed history with their eyes.

“View from the Window at Le Gras” by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

The earliest surviving photograph.

View from the Window at Le Gras by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

“Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange

A poignant portrayal of the Great Depression.

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

“Tank Man in Tiananmen Square”

An anonymous act of resistance and courage in the face of oppressive regimes.

Tank Man in Tiananmen Square

“Moon and Half Dome” by Ansel Adams

A testament to nature’s grandeur.

Moon and Half Dome by Ansel Adams

“Afghan Girl” by Steve McCurry for National Geographic

A captivating gaze that became an icon.

Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry

“Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston” by Neil Leifer

The triumph of a boxing legend.

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston by Neil Leifer

The Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Cover by Iain Macmillan

A casual stroll that entered music and photographic history.

The Beatles’ Abbey Road Album Cover by Iain Macmillan

“Earthrise” taken during the Apollo 8 mission

The first image of Beautifully isolated Earth captured by humans from space.

Earthrise taken during the Apollo 8 mission

“V-J Day in Times Square” by Alfred Eisenstaedt

A spontaneous expression of joy post-WWII.

V J Day in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt

“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper”

Construction workers casually lunching on a skyscraper beam.

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper

“The Burning Monk” by Malcolm Browne

A chilling protest against persecution.

The Burning Monk by Malcolm Browne

Twiggy by Barry Lategan

Evolution of beauty standards through iconic fashion moments.

Twiggy by Barry Lategan

“The Kiss” by Robert Doisneau

A candid moment of romance in Paris.

The Kiss by Robert Doisneau

“Burst of Joy” by Slava Veder

A returning prisoner of war is joyfully greeted by his family.

Burst of Joy by Slava Veder

Marilyn Monroe’s White Dress Scene

How photography aids in creating legendary moments in cinema.

Marilyn Monroe’s White Dress Scene

“Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare” by Henri Cartier-Bresson

The “decisive moment” in street photography.

Behind the Gare Saint Lazare by Henri Cartier Bresson

“Dali Atomicus” by Philippe Halsman

Surrealism brought to life.

Spanish painter Salvador DALI. “Dali Atomicus.” 1948.

“Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel” by Margaret Bourke-White

A peaceful revolutionary in a candid moment.

Gandhi and His Spinning Wheel: the Story Behind an Iconic Photo

9/11 “The Falling Man” by Richard Drew

The need for resilience even in one of humanity’s most tragic moments.

9 11 The Falling Man by Richard Drew

“The Light Will Win” by Orest Kozatskiy

A stark reminder that as light dispels darkness, good will always triumph over evil.

The Light Will Win by Orest Kozatskiy

Explore our extensive library to find more remarkable shots.

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To wrap up

Photography is more than just an image — it’s a reflection of all the things that define us. These iconic shots, spanning through different eras and cultures, highlight a universal truth — in every captured image lies a story waiting to be explored. As we celebrate World Photography Day, let’s carry forward our profound respect for the art and the artists behind the lens.


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