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‘TIME’ Names The 100 Most Influential Photos Ever Taken

  • -Neil Leifer" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/1-4-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/neil-leifer-muhammad-ali-sonny-liston" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Buzz Aldrin" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2-5-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/neil-armstrong-nasa-man-on-moon" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Matt Helrich, World War II Veteran" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/3-4-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/betty-grable-frank-powolny" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Alfred Eisenstaedt" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/6-4-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/kiss-v-j-day-times-square-alfred-eisenstaedt" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -John Carlos" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/7-5-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/john-dominis-black-power-salute" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Christine Roussel, Rockefeller Center Historian" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/8-5-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/lunch-atop-a-skyscraper" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Nike Commercial, 1989" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9-4-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/co-rentmeester-michael-jordan" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Malcolm Browne" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/10-4-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/malcolm-browne-burning-monk" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -U.S. President Barack Obama" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/12-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/pete-souza-situation-room" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Harry Benson" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/13-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/harry-benson-beatles-pillow-fight" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Jeff Widener" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/14-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/jeff-widener-tank-man" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Philippe Kahn" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/15-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/philippe-kahn-first-cell-phone-picture" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Hans Conrad Schumann" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/16-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/peter-leibing-leap-into-freedon" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Dr. Jeff Hester, Hubble astronomer" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/17-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/nasa-pillars-of-creation" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -J. Michael Fay, Explorer" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/18-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/michael-nichols-surfing-hippos" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Hal Buell, AP Photo Editor" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/19-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/joe-rosenthal-iwo-jima-flag-raising" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Margaret Bourke-White" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/margaret-bourke-white-gandhi-spinning-wheel" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
  • -Ellen DeGeneres" data-image-full="https://www.dmarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/11-3-960x580.jpg" data-img-link="http://100photos.time.com/photos/bradley-cooper-oscars-selfie" data-img-cta="READ" data-false="true">
Full screen
1 of 20|Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston | Neil Leifer, 1965|"As Ali got older, people wanted to remember him at his absolute best. People wanted to remember him that way."
-Neil Leifer - READ
2 of 20|A Man on the Moon | Neil Armstrong, NASA, 1969|"It is a truly astounding shot and was the result of an entirely serendipitous moment."
-Buzz Aldrin - READ
3 of 20|Betty Grable | Frank Powolny, 1943|"On every pilot’s plane, on every barrack’s wall, there was a picture of Betty Grable in a bathing suit looking over her shoulder."
-Matt Helrich, World War II Veteran - READ
4 of 20|99 Cent | Andreas Gursky, 1999|"It may seem ironic that a photograph of cheap goods would set a record for the most expensive contemporary photograph ever sold, but Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent is far more than a visual inventory." -TIME - READ
5 of 20|Untitled (Cowboy) | Richard Prince, 1989|"In 2005 Untitled (­Cowboy) sold for $1.2 million at auction, then the highest publicly recorded price for the sale of a contemporary ­photograph." -TIME - READ
6 of 20|V-J Day in Times Square | Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1945|"Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse."
-Alfred Eisenstaedt - READ
7 of 20|Black Power Salute | John Dominis, 1968|"We were trying to wake the country up and wake the world up too."
-John Carlos - READ
8 of 20|Lunch Atop a Skyscraper | Unknown, 1932|"If you see this picture once, you never forget it."
-Christine Roussel, Rockefeller Center Historian - READ
9 of 20|Michael Jordan | Co Rentmeester, 1984|"It’s gotta be the shoes."
-Nike Commercial, 1989 - READ
10 of 20|The Burning Monk | Malcolm Browne, 1963|"I just kept shooting and shooting and shooting and that protected me from the horror of the thing."
-Malcolm Browne - READ
11 of 20|The Situation Room | Pete Souza, 2011|"This was the longest 40 minutes of my life."
-U.S. President Barack Obama - READ
12 of 20|The Pillow Fight | Harry Benson, 1964|"The Beatles will never have a pillow fight again, and I couldn’t repeat that picture again."
-Harry Benson - READ
13 of 20|Tank Man | Jeff Widener, 1989|"When I got up to the room, what made me totally unsettled was that there was a bullet hole right behind me on the wall, so I knew I was easy pickins for anybody that wanted to get me."
-Jeff Widener - READ
14 of 20|First Cell-Phone Picture | Philippe Kahn, 1997|"The camera phone was born in Santa Cruz on June 11, 1997, at the Sutter Maternity Clinic."
-Philippe Kahn - READ
15 of 20|Leap into Freedom | Peter Leibing, 1961|"I stood there for two hours, looking toward West Berlin and looking back at East Berlin. Then I jumped."
-Hans Conrad Schumann - READ
16 of 20|Pillars of Creation | NASA, 1995|"As long as there have been people, we have been drawn by this question of what is our connection with the sky."
-Dr. Jeff Hester, Hubble astronomer - READ
17 of 20|Surfing Hippos | Michael Nichols, 2000|"If you want to bring governments and the common man to move on something, they have to be captivated by it."
-J. Michael Fay, Explorer - READ
18 of 20|Flag Raising on Iwo Jima | Joe Rosenthal, 1945|"The picture delivered the message that Americans wanted to hear."
-Hal Buell, AP Photo Editor - READ
19 of 20|Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel | Margaret Bourke-White, 1946|"Nonviolence was Gandhi’s creed, and the spinning wheel was the perfect weapon."
-Margaret Bourke-White - READ
20 of 20|Oscars Selfie | Bradley Cooper, 2014|"It was this incredible moment of spontaneity that I will never forget. And thanks to the selfie, neither will anyone else."
-Ellen DeGeneres - READ

Triumph. Tragedy. Joy. Protest. Discovery. Despair. A star-studded selfie. It’s all on display in TIME’s ambitious new undertaking, a multi-media project that commemorates the 100 most influential photos of all time.

For three years, TIME worked with international curators, historians, photo editors, and photographers to nominate the contenders. The magazine then conducted thousands of interviews with the photographers, their subjects, friends, and family members in hopes of answering the question: How do you quantify a photograph’s influence?

“This project does not look at the influence of photographers within the history of the medium, but rather at how history has been influenced by specific photographs,” explained TIME. “Sometimes those two points overlap, but mostly, this project is about the unique power that still images have to influence change – some of these pictures can be disturbing in nature but somehow those are also the pictures that are seared onto the back of our brain, affirming their power.”

At the end of this exhaustive, exhausting process, the magazine had unearthed 100 images and the incredible stories that go with them. Some made the cut because they were the first of their kind, some because they shaped the way we think, and some because they directly changed the way we live. What all 100 share is that they each marked a turning point in our human experience.

The project can now be viewed in several forms across multiple platforms. An interactive virtual museum is live at 100photos.time.com. The entries include essays, 20 original short documentary films, and the never before told stories behind many of the photos. A companion book, 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time, is also available for purchase.

Check out a sample of the iconic images above, and peruse the project in its entirety here.

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