Inspiration

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CP Loves... Eye of the beholder. History's most powerful photography.

Published

by Magnus Shaw

 

*The internet is full of hyperbole. Social media in particular. 'The funniest video ever!', 'The best song of all time!' - in a rush to draw attention to their tiny corner of the web, users understandably become overexcited and oversell the value of the links they post. So when the phrase 'The most powerful photography in history' appeared in my Twitter timeline, I very nearly dismissed it. That would have been a mistake, because the link led to some absolutely astonishing visual reportage.
There's something in human nature which compels us to record our existence. From watery daubs of buffalo hunts on the walls of caves, to the seemingly endless footage of aircraft striking buildings in New York, we carry the irrepressible urge to capture our existence and our human story. As a writer, in my humble way, I attempt to describe the world with words - but because I choose language rather than the camera, I particularly admire the photographer's art and the skill of the photo-journalist. The unnerving ability to be in exactly the right place at precisely the right time and have the initiative, technical flair and often courage, to encase a moment of drama and poignancy, always impresses me.

With its power to open a window on events, people and places from which we were absent, photography is a precious facility we should never undervalue. If my words don't convince you, just examine these heart-stopping pictures and wonder how much poorer we would be without the camera.

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After a World Cup plagued by racism in 1970, Pele & Bobby Moore trade shirts as a mark of mutual respect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Following devastating landslides in Brazil 2011, a dog called Leao stands guard at his owner's makeshift grave.

 

 

 

 







 

 

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Heinrich Himmler is faced by defiant PoW Horace Greasley, who later successfully escaped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jackie Kennedy watches as Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as President just hours after her husband's murder. Her coat and legs are still covered in his blood.

 

 

 

 

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Harold Whittles hears for the first time, thanks to new hearing-aid technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A monk prays over the body of a man who has died unexpectedly in a Chinese coach station.



 

 

 

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Riot police are handed a heart by a small girl as they attempt to keep order on Romanian streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jane Rose Kasmir places flowers in the rifles of Pentagon guards at a Vietnam War protest in 1967.

 

 

 

 

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A rescue worker gives a koala much needed water as forest fires sweep Victoria, Australia in 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After his girlfriend is knocked over in a riot, Canadian Scott Jones kisses her on the ground.

 

 

 

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At a Siberian war memorial, a veteran kneels by the tank in which he spent WW2.

 

 

 

 

 

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John F Kennedy Junior salutes his father's coffin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phyllis Siegel, 76, left, and Connie Kopelov, 84 become the first same-sex couple to marry at the Manhattan City Clerk's Office in 2011.

 

 


 

 

These photographs are merely my choice from a larger archive at buzzfeed.com - and of course just a handful of the many,many stunning examples of photo-journalism published around the world every day. Reviewing them now, I am set wondering whether they have any common theme. And while I appreciate the tremendous variety of human emotion and experience represented in these amazing shots, they all seem to illustrate the subjects' efforts to cope. This world can be incredibly cruel, unforgiving and harsh - but in these photographs we are seeing an almost infinite capacity for resilience. From the dog refusing to leave his master's side, even in death, to the astonishing dignity of Jackie Kennedy immediately after her husband's assassination, his blood still marking her clothes, these images justify the hope we are all stronger than we imagine.

Magnus Shaw is a copywriter, blogger and consultant.

Visit Magnus Shaw's website
www.creativepool.co.uk/magnusshaw

"ADVICE" a collection of Magnus Shaw's columns is now available as a Kindle book.

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