85 Most Powerful Photos Of The 21st Century That Are Hard To Forget

Human has a long relationship with his emotions. Expressing an emotion is not so difficult, but perfectly capturing that moment in camera is far more difficult than it looks. This might be one of the reasons why ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

85 Most Powerful Photos Of The 21st Century That Are Hard To Forget

In this collection, we’ve listed some of the most powerful photographs of the 21st century that perfectly capture the human emotion related to the love, innocence, despair, loss, action, and undying perseverance within all of us. We’ve compiled this collection by taking into account cultural significance, news value and overall aesthetics.

“when a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune.”

-Spinoza

The Most Powerful Photos Taken In The 21st Century

#01. Barack Obama and Government staff watch as commandos conduct a raid, which ends with the killing of Osama bin Laden [2011]

21st century photos - Barack Obama and Government staff watch as commandos conduct a raid, which ends with the killing of Osama bin Laden
Unknown

#02. Live images of the Chilean miners trapped in a mine for 21 days. [2010]

21st century photos - Live images of the Chilean miners trapped in a mine for 21 days. [2010]
Unknown

#03. A fireman rescues a koala during Australian bushfires. [2009]

21st century photos - A fireman rescues a koala during Australian bushfires. [2009]
Unknown

#04. Steve Jobs introduces the first revolutionary music device iPod [2001]

21st century photos - Steve Jobs introduces the first revolutionary music device iPod [2001]
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

#05. Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months. [2007]

21st century photos - Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months. [2007]
buzzfeed

#06. Capt. Michael Potoczniak marries his partner Todd Saunders, in a ceremony in San Francisco. [2011]

21st century photos - Capt. Michael Potoczniak marries his partner Todd Saunders, in a ceremony in San Francisco.
AP

#07. The Christian world mourns the passing of Pope John Paul II [2005]

21st century photos - The Christian world mourns the passing of Pope John Paul II [2005]
Unknown

#08. US Airways Flight 1549 floats on the Hudson river after crash landing, miraculously, everyone survived [2009]

21st century photos - US Airways Flight 1549 floats on the Hudson river after crash landing
Unknown

#09. A young member of the choir of “Sinfonia por el Peru” vomits before performing with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez at Lima’s National Theatre. [2014]

A young member of the choir vomits before performing
Enrique Castro-Mendivil

#10. People gather water from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of Gujarat. More than 1 billion people still lack access to clean drinking water. [2003]

People gather water from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
amit dave

#11. People hang out in a Publix grocery store after being stranded due to a snow storm in Atlanta, Georgia. [2014]

People hang out in a Publix grocery store after being stranded due to a snow storm in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tami Chappell

#12. A young Afghan woman shows her face in public for the first time after 5 years of Taliban Sharia law. [2001]

A young Afghan woman shows her face in public for the first time after 5 years of Taliban Sharia law. [2001]
Return

#13. Two women wearing nun outfits drink beer while watching the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier curling championships in Kamloops, British Columbia. [2014]

Two women wearing nun outfits drink beer while watching the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier curling championships in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Ben Nelms

#14. Archaeologists discover some of the oldest artworks known to man in Dordogne, France – over 12,000 years old. [2001]

Archaeologists discover some of the oldest artworks known to man in Dordogne, France - over 12,000 years old. [2001]
Unknown

#15. A radio-controlled flying witch makes a test flight past a moon setting into clouds along the pacific ocean in Carlsbad, California. [2014]

A radio-controlled flying witch makes a test flight past a moon setting into clouds along the pacific ocean in Carlsbad, California.
Mike Blake

#16. Firefighters raise the American flag on the ruins on the World Trade Centers [2001]

Firefighters raise the American flag on the ruins on the World Trade Centers [2001]
thomasefranklin.com

#17. A Hindu devotee worships in the polluted waters of the river Yamuna during the Hindu religious festival of Chatt Puja in New Delhi. [2014]

A Hindu devotee worships in the polluted waters of the river Yamuna during the Hindu religious festival of Chatt Puja in New Delhi.
Ahmad Masood

#18. President Bush’s reaction to news of a second plane striking the Twin Towers. He was reading to children at a Florida elementary school. [2001]

21st century photos - President Bush's reaction to news of a second plane striking the Twin Towers. He was reading to children at a Florida elementary school. [2001]
life

#19. Palestinians rescue Mahmoud al-Ghol from under the rubble of a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. [2014]

Palestinians rescue Mahmoud al-Ghol from under the rubble of a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Abraheem Abu Mustafa

#20. Lesleigh Coyer, 25, of Saginaw, Michigan, lies down in front of the grave of her brother, Ryan, who served with the U.S. Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan [2013]

Lesleigh Coyer, 25, of Saginaw, Michigan, lies down in front of the grave of her brother, Ryan
Reuters

#21. The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario. [2014]

21st century photos - The U.S. side of the Niagara Falls is pictured in Ontario.
Aaron Harris

#22. Zanjeer the bomb dog is laid to rest with full military honours for saving thousands of lives. [2000]

Zanjeer the bomb dog is laid to rest with full military honours for saving thousands of lives. [2000]
isamrat.com

#23. A man is arrested by security as he tries to slip under the dress of actress America Ferrera in Cannes. [2014]

A man is arrested by security as he tries to slip under the dress of actress America Ferrera in Cannes.
Benoit Tessier

#24. The world welcomes in the new millennium. [2000]

21st century photos - The world welcomes in the new millennium. [2000]
wikimedia.org

#25. Sikhs wield swords during their clash inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar. [2014]

Sikhs wield swords during their clash inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in the northern Indian city of Amritsar.
Munish Sharma

#26. Kevin Berthia is talked out of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge by police officers. He has since become an advocate for suicide prevention and has started a family. [2005]

evin Berthia is talked out of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge by police officers.
John Storey / San Francisco Chronicle

#27. Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado. [2012]

Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado. [2012]
The Decatur Daily

#28. Isabelle Dinoire after receiving the world’s first partial face transplant [2005]

21st century photos - Isabelle Dinoire after receiving the world's first partial face transplant [2005]
ap.org

#29. Pakistani Muslims form a human chain to protect Christians during Mass [2013]

21st century photos - Pakistani Muslims form a human chain to protect Christians during Mass [2013]
The Express Tribune

#30. A heart-wrenching picture of a mother and child at an an emergency feeding centre in in Tahoua, Niger. [2005]

21st century photos - A heart-wrenching picture of a mother and child at an an emergency feeding centre in in Tahoua, Niger. [2005]
Finbarr O’Reilly

#31. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing, on the boat where he was eventually caught, with sniper lasers on his forehead. [2013]

Dzhokar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing
Unknown

#32. Kiev’s Independence Square before and after the revolution [2014]

21st century photos - Kiev's Independence Square before and after the revolution [2014]
reddit.com

#33. The anti-government Syrian town of Kafr Anbel sends a message to Boston after the marathon bombing. [2013]

The anti-government Syrian town of Kafr Anbel sends a message to Boston after the marathon bombing.
Unknown

#34. A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school seized by heavily armed masked men and women in the town of Beslan. [2004]

A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school
Victor Korotayev

#35. Boston replied with their own message. [2013]

21st century photos - Boston replied with their own message. [2013]
Unknown

#36. The Hubble Telescope takes a picture of what the universe looked like 13 billion years ago. [2004]

21st century photos - The Hubble Telescope takes a picture of what the universe looked like 13 billion years ago [2004]
NASA

#37. A child runs to safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi. [2013]

A child runs to safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi.
Reuters

#38. Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moscovitz in 2004, after they had just lauched FaceBook. [2004]

21st century photos - Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moscovitz in 2004, after they had just lauched FaceBook.
dailyfinance.com

#39. San Francisco comes together to help batkid save the city – and to grant the wish of an ill child. [2013]

San Francisco comes together to help batkid save the city - and to grant the wish of an ill child. [2013]
Raphael Kluzniok

#40. A Ukrainian woman places carnations into shields of anti-riot policemen standing outside the presidential office in Kiev. Ukraine, during the 2004 Orange Revolution. [2004]

A Ukrainian woman places carnations into shields of anti-riot policemen
Vasily Fedosenko

#41. Carlos Arredondo helps Jeff Bauman after the Boston Marathon bombings. The two are now best friends. [2013]

Carlos Arredondo helps Jeff Bauman after the Boston Marathon bombings. The two are now best friends. [2013]
AP

#42. The first waves of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, which killed over 200,000 people, hit the shore.

21st century photos - The first waves of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
reddit.com

#43. Pope Francis embraces Vinicio Riva, a man scarred by a genetic disease. This was one of many progressive acts that the new leader of the Church made. [2013]

Pope Francis embraces Vinicio Riva, a man scarred by a genetic disease.
EPA

#44. The Columbia Space Shuttle breaks apart during re entry. [2003]

21st century photos - The Columbia Space Shuttle breaks apart during re entry [2003]
Unknown

#45. A woman is peper-sprayed at Turkey’s Gezi Park protest. [2013]

21st century photos - A woman is peper-sprayed at Turkey's Gezi Park protest. [2013]
Reuters

#46. President Bush addresses sailors in the famous “Mission Accomplished” speech, declaring the end of major combat in Iraq. [2003]

President Bush addresses sailors
Unknown

#47. The world says goodbye to Nelson Mandela [2013]

The world says goodbye to Nelson Mandela [2013]
Peter Dejong

#48. Four of the last seven Northern White Rhinos in the world are airlifted from a zoo in the Czech Republic to a park in Africa in an attempt to save their entire species. [2009]

Four of the last seven Northern White Rhinos in the world
National Geographic

#49. A police officer pepper-sprays Occupy protesters at the University of California [2011]

21st century photos - A police officer pepper-sprays Occupy protesters at the University of California
Unknown

#50. Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home after a cyclone stroke Myanmar’s capital of Yangon. [2008]

Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home
Brian Sokol

#51. U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman HM1 Richard Barnett, assigned to the 1st Marine Division, holds a child after she was separated from her family during a firefight [2003]

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman HM1 Richard Barnett, assigned to the 1st Marine Division, holds a child after she was separated from her family during a firefight [2003]
Damir Sagolj

#52. Barack Obama wins the 2008 election, becoming the first African American President. [2008]

21st century photos - Barack Obama wins the 2008 election, becoming the first African American President.
Unknown

#53. New York firefighters, many of whom lost friends in the 9/11 attacks, learn of Osama bin Laden’s death [2011]

New York firefighters, many of whom lost friends in the 9/11 attacks, learn of Osama bin Laden's death
Unknown

#54. Wall Street on the midst of the Global Financial Crisis [2008]

21st century photos - Wall Street on the midst of the Global Financial Crisis [2008]
Unknown

#55. Norwegian citizens hold a flower march after terrorist attacks by Anders Breivik killed 77. [2011]

Norwegian citizens hold a flower march after terrorist attacks by Anders Breivik killed 77
Unknown

#56. Michael Phelps celebrates after winning his 14th gold medal, setting the all-time record for most Olympic gold medals. [2008]

Michael Phelps celebrates after winning his 14th gold medal, setting the all-time record for most Olympic gold medals. [2008]
Unknown

#57. A month and a half after the invasion began, U.S. Marine Kirk Dalrymple watches as a statue of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad. [2003]

A month and a half after the invasion began, U.S. Marine Kirk Dalrymple watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad. [2003]
Reuters

#58. An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen in Manaus who have been sent to evict natives. [2008]

An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen
Luiz Vasconcelos

#59. Billy Stinson comforts his daughter on the steps where their cottage once stood before it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene [2011]

Billy Stinson comforts his daughter on the steps where their cottage once stood before it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene
Scott Olson / Getty Images

#60. Thousands gather to mourn after the Virginia Tech shooting [2007]

21st century photos - Thousands gather to mourn after the Virginia Tech shooting [2007]
Unknown

#61. A 4-month-old baby girl is rescued from the rubble four days after the Japanese tsunami. [2011]

A 4-month-old baby girl is rescued from the rubble four days after the Japanese tsunami. [2011]
reuters.com

#62. Afghan women turn out to vote in the first democratic transfer of power the country has ever seen. [2014]

Afghan women turn out to vote in the first democratic transfer of power the country has ever seen. [2014]
Anja Niedringhaus

#63. The US rover, Curiosity, takes a selfie on Mars [2012]

The US rover, Curiosity, takes a selfie on Mars [2012]
NASA

#64. The Tribute in Lights shines on the skyline of lower Manhattan in New York. [2006]

21st century photos - The Tribute in Lights shines on the skyline of lower Manhattan in New York.
theatlantic.com

#65. Meghan Vogel, a high school runner, helps her exhausted rival cross the finish line. [2012]

Meghan Vogel, a high school runner, helps her exhausted rival cross the finish line. [2012]
AP

#66. The Cassini spacecraft takes a picture of Saturn from deep space. The tiny speck of light circled in red is Earth. [2006]

The Cassini spacecraft takes a picture of Saturn from deep space.
nasa.gov

#67. The Middle East sees snow for the first time in over 100 years [2012]

The Middle East sees snow for the first time in over 100 years [2012]
Unknown

#68. Tanisha Blevin, 5, holds the hand of fellow Hurricane Katrina victim Nita LaGarde, 105, as they are evacuated from the convention center in New Orleans. [2005]

Tanisha Blevin, 5, holds the hand of fellow Hurricane Katrina victim Nita LaGarde, 105
Eric Gay

#69. Three young women from the New York Fashion Week pose next to a homeless man. [2012]

21st century photos - Three young women from the New York Fashion Week pose next to a homeless man. [2012]
Spiegel

#70. Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. who lost a hand, leg, and eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq. [2005]

Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas
Dallas Morning News

#71. A mother comforts her daughter after the Sandy Hook shootings [2012]

A mother comforts her daughter after the Sandy Hook shootings [2012]
reuters.com

#72. Tracy Caldwell looks down on Earth from the International Space Station [2010]

Tracy Caldwell looks down on Earth from the International Space Station [2010]
NASA

#73. An Egyptian woman kisses a policeman, who had refused to fire on protestors, during the revolution against the Mubarak Government [2011]

An Egyptian woman kisses a policeman, who had refused to fire on protestors
Unknown

#74. Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico coast line. [2010]

Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast
Unknown

#75. New York City is plunged into darkness after a power failure [2003]

21st century photos - New York City is plunged into darkness after a power failure [2003]
Unknown

#76. Markiyan Matsekh plays piano for police during the Ukranian revoloution. [2014]

21st century photos - Markiyan Matsekh plays piano for police during the Ukranian revoloution. [2014]
Markiyan Matsekh

#77. A dog soaks in an adoring crowd in Mexico by following the Pope [2011]

21st century photos - A dog soaks in an adoring crowd in Mexico by following the Pope [2011]
Yuri Cortez

#78. Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, are finally able to get married in New York. In the past decade, 17 US States, alongside 15 countries have legalized gay marriage. [2011]

Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, are finally able to get married in New York.
AFP/Getty Images

#79. Elite runner Jaqueline Kiplimo helps a disabled Chinese athlete drink during the 2010 Zheng-Kai marathon. She stayed with him for several miles, costing her the 1st place finish and the $10000 prize. [2010]

Elite runner Jaqueline Kiplimo helps a disabled Chinese athlete drink during the 2010 Zheng-Kai marathon.
Unknown

#80. A couple kisses on the pavement during the Vancouver Riot [2011]

21st century photos - A couple kisses on the pavement during the Vancouver Riot [2011]
Rich Lam/Getty images

#81. Kiki, age 7, is pulled from the ruins left by the Haiti earthquake and into the arms of his mother. [2010]

21st century photos - Kiki, age 7, is pulled from the ruins left by the Haiti earthquake
Polaris / eyevine

#82. Christians protect Muslims in prayer at Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution [2011]

21st century photos - Christians protect Muslims in prayer at Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution [2011]
Nevin Zaki

#83. Ballerinas practice with medical masks during the SARS outbreak. [2003]

21st century photos - Ballerinas practice with medical masks during the SARS outbreak. [2003]
Unknown

#84. Robert Peraza, who lost his son, mourns 10 years after the 9/11 terror attacks [2011]

21st century photos - Robert Peraza, who lost his son, mourns 10 years after the 9/11 terror attacks [2011]
New York Post

#85. Vladimir Putin shirtless while vacationing and hunting in Siberia. The now Russian President is a judo black belt. [2009]

Vladimir Putin shirtless while vacationing and hunting in Siberia.
Unknown

While compiling this, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other powerful 21st century photographs. Feel free to share it with us.

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6 Comments

  1. very great stuff.

  2. Thanks for that gallery!

  3. Oh, my god. These photos made my day. I’ll bookmark this post. I’ll share this post with mu friends. Interesting.

  4. That was amazing…luv looking @ that…EPIC!!!…totaly sharing this!

  5. nice photos with precise stories

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