How many famous modern and historical photos are you able to recognize simply by hearing the nickname? Go ahead, read each nickname then try to picture the image in your head.
1. Migrant Mother
2. The Kissing Sailor
3. La Jeune Fille a la Fleur (The Girl with a Flower)
4. The Finger
5. Napalm Girl
6. The Blue Marble
7. The Catch
8. Tank Man
10. Dust Lady
11. The Falling Man
12. Hot Mugshot Guy
13. Oscar Selfie
14. Boy in the Ambulance
Now see if you were correct…
1. Migrant Mother (1936)
Dorothea Lange’s signature image from her time with the FSA of Florence Owens Thompson is titled “Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.” by the Library of Congress. The photo is the last of 6 images that Lange took that day (including a breastfeeding photo from the 30s). Thompson regretted having her photo taken.
2. The Kissing Sailor (1945)
22-year old Navy quartermaster George Mendonsa was on a date with Rita Petry in New York City while on leave when news that the war had ended spread like wildfire. After imbibing on “quite a few drinks,” the couple walked through Times Square where Mendonsa saw a nurse (actually a dental assistant), spun her around, dipped and kissed her. Mendonsa was too drunk to remember, but the image was captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt for posterity, and Mendonsa and Petry ended up getting married anyway.
3. La Jeune Fille a la Fleur (1967)
French photographer Marc Riboud captured the image of 17-year-old Jane Rose Kasmir holding a flower in front of a line of bayonet-wielding soldiers during an anti-Vietnam war demonstration at the Pentagon in 1967.
4. The Finger (1969)
Although there are disputing accounts of how the image during a rehearsal for a concert at San Quentin State Prison came to be, photographer Jim Marshall told the San Francisco Art Exchange that he conspired with Johnny Cash saying, “let’s do one for the warden.” Bird ensued.
5. Napalm Girl (1972)
Nick Ut was a 22-year-old AP photographer when US Forces mistakenly dropped napalm on the village of Trang Bang. As villagers ran from the blast, Ut captured 9-year old Kim Phuc naked and with scalding burns. Photographer Perry Kretz was instrumental in helping Phuc travel to Germany for the start of many operations to help her regain mobility. Interestingly, the great photographer David Burnett was also with Ut when he took the photo.
6. The Blue Marble (1972)
Officially known as AS17-148-22727, The Blue Marble is one of NASAs most famous images taken by the crew of Apollo 17 with a Hasselblad and 80mm lens. It is the last time humans have been far enough from the Earth to capture the entire planet in a single frame.
7. The Catch (1982)
Legendary sports photographer Walter Iooss had covered the Dallas Cowboys for an entire season with unprecedented access, and was looking forward to “America’s Team” winning the Super Bowl. So he was somewhat dismayed to see a scene unfold in front of his end zone position during the 1981 NFC Championship. With Dallas leading 27-21 and only 58 seconds left, Joe Montana scrambled to avoid a phalanx of defenders and threw the ball into the end zone without knowing where it landed. With the ball in the air, Iooss reached for the camera around his neck (with a prefocused 50mm lens) and captured the ball landing in the outstretched arms of Dwight Clark. The 49ers went on to win the game with a two point conversion. They eventually won Super Bowl XVI, which began the Walsh/Montana/49ers dynasty.
8. Tank Man (1989)
Four photographers captured similar images of the person only known as Tank Man. Due to state censorship, the iconic protest image is largely unknown within China, as is the fate of the man who placed his body in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square.
9. Bliss (1996)
National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear was driving through Sonoma County to visit his girlfriend in 1996 when he came upon the hill. The hill was normally planted with grapevines but due to a phylloxera infestation, it was covered with grass. Recent rains had turned the hill unusually green, and O’Rear had been keeping his eye out for photogenic scenes. Armed with a Mamiya RZ67, O’Rear snapped the photo, which was subsequently listed as a stock image through Corbis. Microsoft ended up with a rights buyout of the image for a reported “low six figures,” and the image subsequently became Windows XP’s default wallpaper. Some have suggested that it is the most viewed photo in history.
10. Dust Lady (2001)
Marcy Borders had recently started working for Bank of America in the World Trade Center when planes hit the towers on September 11, 2001. When the South Tower collapsed, she was engulfed in a cloud of dust. Photographer Stan Honda had darted into a building lobby where “a police officer was pulling people into the entrance to get them out of danger” when Borders came in covered in gray dust. The haunting image became one of the most iconic of the tragic day.
In a sad coda to the story, Borders became severely depressed and started using drugs in the aftermath of the attack. Last week, she succumbed to stomach cancer at the age of 42.
11. The Falling Man (2001)
Richard Drew captured the iconic and controversial image of the yet unidentified man falling to his death after presumably jumping from the top of the World Trade Center in the midst of the September 11 attacks. More than 200 people are thought to have leaped to their death that day to avoid the immense heat from the conflagration at the top of the buildings.
12. Hot Mugshot Guy (2014)
Jeremy Meeks was sentenced for two years in federal prison for weapons violations, and his booking photo rocked the Internet with his staggeringly good looks. The mugshot didn’t escape the notice of modeling agency White Cross Management, which still features the image on their website.
13. Oscar Selfie (2014)
Was it an ad or an act of spontaneity? According to Oscar producer Neil Meron, the photo was to be the culmination of a skit involving Meryl Streep. But the plan was scuttled when Bradley Cooper stepped in with his long arm to take the viral selfie — the most retweeted photo at the time. Samsung paid $18m in sponsorship for the Oscars, but the selfie moment was allegedly unknown to them.
14. Boy in the Ambulance (2016)
No image better encapsulates the tragedy of the Syrian Civil War and the public’s apathy for the ongoing refugee crisis than Mahmoud Raslan’s image of 5-year Omran Daqneesh. An otherwise normal looking boy seems utterly numb to the war-torn city around him.
About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. The opinions in this article are solely those of the author. This article was also published here.