Photography

35 Powerful Photos That Tell A Story

December 5th, 2009

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” That is the motto of a photojournalist. It is their objective to produce direct, truthful and bold images that tell the stories for those who have no voice.

According to Mark M. Hancock, a professional photojournalist, “is a visual reporter of facts. The public places trust in its reporters to tell the truth. The same trust is extended to photojournalists as visual reporters.This responsibility is paramount to a photojournalist. At all times, we have many thousands of people seeing through our eyes and expecting to see the truth. Most people immediately understand an image.”

Photojournalists are doing really a great job over the world for humanity, they are working for peace, for human rights, for raising humanity problems and issues, for pointing out the people living below the bottom line of poverty, for raising awareness about educational and child labor issues and much more… Our today’s post is about Inspirational Documentary and Photojournalism Photos. In this post we showcase 35 powerful, touching and emotional photos that do not just display state of affairs, but also tell a story.

We express sincere appreciation of the hard work of all photojournalists who are working for humanity, sometimes risking their life for the sake of their duties and responsibilities. This article is a tribute to all of them and their accomplishments and works.

Photojournalism & Documentary Photos

Man mutilated Rwanda
World Press Photo of the Year: 1994 James Nachtwey, USA, Magnum Photos for Time. Rwanda, June 1994. Hutu man mutilated by the Hutu ‘Interahamwe’ militia, who suspected him of sympathizing with the Tutsi rebels. About the image Nachtwey says his specialty is dealing with ground level realities with a human dimension. He feels that people need photography to help them understand what’s going on in the world, and believes that pictures can have a great influence on shaping public opinion and mobilizing protest.

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Losing
In this picture, Lurlena cries in the back of the family car after losing the contest for Carnival Princess at her school. She spent the day getting ready, with a new white dress and new shoes. The winner was decided based on whose parents bought the most tickets, and Lurlena’s family could only afford eight dollars worth.

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Hard Work in Hong Kong

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tbaur

Per

Sally Mann
This photo, titled Candy Cigarette, not just displays something, it tells a story. It is both emotional and beautiful. This is what the originality of black-and-white-photography is all about.

69

Pilgrim
Tibetans believe, once in their life, a pilgrimage to Lhasa is of exalted purpose and moral significance. Therefore, we see people like this, especially in spring and autumn, on their journey of faith, sometimes thousands of miles long, kowtowing every few steps.

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Arirang Mass Games
Even during the Arirang Mass Games in North Korea, the ultimate expression of the state ideology, an individual can still sometimes stand out from the crowd and break free of the collective. If only just for a moment. (Photo and caption by Brendyn Zachary)

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Iguazu falls in Brazil
“On my second day visiting the astounding Iguazu falls on the Brazilian side I was forced to change to my telephoto lens as my wide angle had been damaged by the water vapour. In had rained solid for 10 days prior to my arrival and so the falls were at their most spectacular. Standing on the elevated viewing platform I was able to shoot this school group who stood transfixed, emphasizing the incredible size of the falls. (Photo and caption by Ian Kelsall)”

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Malawian boy running after 4×4
“I took the photo while on my one-month stint in Malawi Africa where I mainly worked in orphan day-care centres, also visiting Mulanji Hospital. The photo was taken from the Mulanji Hospital four-wheel-drive ambulance, travelling on the extremely rough roads from village to village, visiting the sick who were unable to reach the hospital.” Photo taken by Cameron Herweynen.

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Sewing Machine
A damaged sewing machine after the cyclone hit, Amtali, Patuakhali, Bangladesh 19 November 2007. EPA/ABIR ABDULLAH

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Shelter
Child takes shelter with his mother before the cyclone hit. Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

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New Year’s Eve, St. Jacques, Perpignan, 2006
This picture of a five year-old gypsy boy was taken on New Year’s Eve 2006 in the gypsy community of St. Jacques, Perpignan, Southern France. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the men would gather in the Café in their best suits to drink and dance while their wives would prepare dinner at home. It is quite common in St. Jacques for little boys to smoke.

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Riot in the city
Riot in Toulouse, France (March 25th, 2007) after the campaign of a politician.

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Jump!

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Pain and Beauty

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Bhopal Disaster
This photograph from December 4, 1984 shows victims who lost their sight in the Bhopal poison gas tragedy as they sit outside the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India.

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From the series “Children of Black Dust”, Dhaka, Bangladesh
A woman holds her child, blackened by carbon dust. His nose bleeds due to infections caused by exposure to dust and pollution during play in the workshop in Korar Ghat by on the outskirts of Dhaka. Many women bring their children along so they can look after them while working.

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New York City
USA. New York City. September 15, 2001. Signing a memorial in Union Square.

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Hhaing The Yu
Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home in the Swhe Pyi Tha township, near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon), on Sunday, May 11th, 2008. Cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar a week ago leaving millions homeless and has claimed up to 100,000 lives.

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Culture

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Sandra Gil
A long line of visitors forms in front of Sandra Gil outside the Krome Detention Center in Miami where her husband, Oscar Gonzalez, is being held. On the morning of November 8, Immigration and Customs Enforecment (ICE) officers arrested the family at their home. They detained Gonzalez and released Gil with her son, American born Joshua Gonzalez, 5, with orders to leave for Colombia within weeks, The family was denied asylum after seven years living and working legally in teh country.

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Memories
Sitting alone on a little place surrounded by cars traffic. Self-isolation. Waiting for nothing. He talked to me for about an hour. Of a lost life. An ordinary life like mine, like many others. And now…

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Tap-Tap
Tap-tap buses waiting to get full and depart for their regular route in the downtown of Port-au-Prince.

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Swiss pilot Yves Rossy
Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, the world’s first man to fly with a jet-powered fixed-wing apparatus strapped to his back, flies during his first official demonstration, on May 14, 2008 above Bex, Switzerland. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

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María A.C. (ernieland)

Miss

Unknown

Lov

Gold Price
In Wall street, a man holds a placard of ” We Buy Gold”, as gold price has increased due to the current financial crisis or economic melt-down.
New York, Oct 13 2008.

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Child Labor In Egypt

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Construction worker, Soweto Township
Final construction at the Maponya mall in Piville township, Soweto. The 650 million Rand mall is one of the largest shopping centers in South Africa, and its opening is a sign of the commercial awakening of Soweto.

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Child Labor. Bangladesh
Child labor is not a new issue in Bangladesh as children here remain one of the most vulnerable groups living under threats of hunger, illiteracy, displacement, exploitation, trafficking, physical and mental abuse. Although the issue of child labor has always been discussed, there is hardly any remarkable progress even in terms of mitigation. 17.5 percent of children aged 5-15 are engaged in economic activities. Many of these children are engaged in various hazardous occupations in factories.

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Aftermath of Earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan. 2005
This image was taken about one month after the earthquake in Pakistan. People were still coming down from the mountains trying to find shelter and were suffering from trauma. Winter was on the way and the need for shelter was urgent. This father with his child had been collecting food. I spent ten days in Balakot documenting the situation after the quake. People were still digging for their family members.

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Seen in Ludwigsburg, Germany

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Huge Wave
Kerby Brown rides a huge wave in an undisclosed location southwest of Western Australia July 6, 2008, in this picture released November 7, 2008 by the Oakley-Surfing Life Big Wave Awards in Sydney. Picture taken July 6. (REUTERS/Andrew Buckley)

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The Head of a Male Student
The head of a male student, still alive, trapped under the debris is pictured at the scene of the church school that collapsed on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, November 7, 2008. At least 30 people were killed when the three-story La Promesse school building collapsed while class was in session and some of the walls and debris crushed neighboring homes in the Nerettes community near Port-au-Prince. (REUTERS/Joseph Guyler Delva)

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Starving Boy and Missionary
Wells felt indignant that the same publication that sat on his picture for five months without publishing it, while people were dying, entered it into a competition. He was embarrassed to win as he never entered the competition himself, and was against winning prizes with pictures of people starving to death. (World Press Photo of the Year: 1980 Mike Wells, United Kingdom. Karamoja district, Uganda, April 1980).

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Afghan Girl
And of course the afghan girl, picture shot by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Sharbat Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image. She was approximately 12 years old at the time. She made it on the cover of National Geographic next year, and her identity was discovered in 1992.

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Sichuan Earthquake
A man is crying while he flips through a family album he found in the rubbles of his old house.

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Credits & Resources

Verve Photo – A New Breed of Documentary Photographers

Magnum Photos

Boston

World Press Photo

The Best of Photojournalism (BOP)

Jan Sochor Photography

Lightstalkers

Abir Abdullah

Chad Stevens

Shehzad Noorani

Rene Burri

Paul Fusco

Susan Meiselas

Abbas

Briansokol

Brentstirton

David Snyder

Danny Ghitis

Q. Sakamaki

Mat Moyer

Edward van Herk

Heather McClintock

Maciej Dakowicz was

GMB Akash

John Loomis

Lucia Nimcova

Pieter Ten Hoopen

Hatschiputh

Noesunjoc

Mads Nissen

Allianz Knowledge

San Francisco Sentinel

Keith Harris

Kevin Carter

Karl Schuler

tbaur

Aquil Akhter is a web graphic designer and has been working in this field for 8 years. He also runs the blog webdesigncore.com, which focuses on free web resources and inspiration for designers and developers.

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designfollow
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

great collection, Thank you very much.

Dan
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

WOW. I’m shocked. Great collection. Thanks for sharing

Bobert
Guest
Bobert
6 years 9 months ago

My first comment here:

Awesome collection…

Johnny
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

This is great, I really liked this post x]

Sunny Singh
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Inspiring stuff, thank-you for the post.

pxlqueen
Guest
pxlqueen
6 years 9 months ago

Those fotos are really moving – thank you for this great post!

Lib
Guest
Lib
3 years 7 months ago

Do you mean photo?

Baztoune
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Good collection, very touching. I’d like to share that one too (very famous, from Kevin Carter) http://www.cashflow101.me/sudan_vulture_boy.htm

Hermitbiker
Guest
Hermitbiker
6 years 9 months ago

These are great examples of top grade photojournalism !! These photographers are really a “cut above” the rest !! Thanks Brukhar and Presidia Creative for sending me these !!

Brandon Hunter
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

These are all beautiful. Some, though, linger on the verge of visual cliche.

prasshant
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

this is an awesome collection. I never seen photos like that collection.

phree
Guest
phree
6 years 9 months ago

Nice collection. Very powerful. The photo from Tibet (Lhasa) pilgrimage shows someone prostrating on the way to Lhasa (three or so steps, prostrate, repeat). The pilgrim isn’ t kowtowing to anything as the objective is to purify one’s mind and karma to come to a greater understanding of the ultimate nature of reality for the purpose of liberation from the cycle of birth-death.

Again, this is awesome. Thanks for posting.

michael
Guest
michael
6 years 9 months ago

Nice collection, just spell check “teh” by searching for it on this page.

sandeep
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

heart touching…

Alex
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

It’s something that go deeply in ur heart…

Thanks for all these “flashes”

Alex

Pixzii
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Meaningful images. I love this post. Thumbs up and twitted :)

Photography Ideas
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

These photo make me think

ramit
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

I am at a loss of words, everytime I see this set of Pictures. These are not mere pictures, but stories. Pages of History captured in time..
Kudos! to the Modern Photographer.

God Bless those who suffered & continue to do so, even after the truth exposed to the world.

..

Brandon A Cox
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

This is the kind of post that makes one slow down from rapidly clicking links and just think about the world in which we live. Awesome collection – stopped me in my tracks!

Karen
Guest
Karen
6 years 9 months ago

Fantastic Journey as seen thru the eyes & Lens off a Professional….very stirring images !!!

kishore
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Great post..the one depicting the contrast in hands was deeply disturbing and brings out the pain and misery of starvation.

Abu Sayem Md. Al Azad
Guest
Abu Sayem Md. Al Azad
6 years 9 months ago

It’s realy amazing and wonderful. Thanks for this.

sanjay gupta
Guest
sanjay gupta
6 years 9 months ago

goood so goood

Richie
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Oh! god! … this is really a touching article… thanks for sharing!

JeffPalmer
Guest
JeffPalmer
6 years 9 months ago

Really awesome !!

SolidSnake26
Guest
SolidSnake26
6 years 9 months ago

Nice Collection

photofunny
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Incredible photos, all have someone that get into my heart

Hunter
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Impresionantes las fotos, muy buenas, te muestran la realidad de personas desfavorecidas, solo tengo uan palabra INCREIBLE

Jim
Guest
Jim
6 years 9 months ago

Very moving!

I wanted to look further at Arirang Mass Games, but the link is incorrect. It points to the Indian Gas Leak photos.

Indrek
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Normally I scroll through these list-posts pretty quick. But this one really made me think about the lives of other people who don’t have the same benefits. Really sad.
But thanks a lot for this great article!

Autonomy
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

These photos are beautiful and heart-wrenching. Thanks for providing a great glimpse into the many different worlds that share this same rock, and the humanity that links them all together.

patrcia
Guest
patrcia
6 years 9 months ago

wow thank you very much for giving this opportunity to see such a good photographic jobs. i am really impressed ! some of them are sad pics but awakening too!
Patricia Monge

Vilja
Guest
Vilja
6 years 9 months ago

Great pictures, thank you for sharing it with us.

vikas ghodke
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Woow.. No words… Just amazing Thank you very much for sharing this amazing photos

Muneef Hameed
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Arirang Mass Games is linked wrongly.

Lesley Pattinson
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Wow, these images are so thought provoking and just amazing, starving boy and missionary is a wonderous shot, you could stare at it for hours wanting and inspiring you to help in any way you could. Thank goodness for the top class photojournalists that travel the world to portray what we can only imagine.

wparena
Guest
wparena
6 years 9 months ago

Few are very touchy specially those are from Bangladesh and Africa

gytis
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Incredible photos

Luz Rivera
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Sad pictures. I like sunny days. today is too cold. I wish to travel with my partner to warmth place.

Jill
Guest
Jill
6 years 9 months ago

Wow… These photos are absolutely stunning. A true depiction of the world we live in. e cigarettes

Brandi
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

stunning. I expected the Afgan girl photo, but the most heartbreaking surprising one for me was the little starving hand. That picture is worth a thousand prays, a thousand words of kindness, and a thousand cries for help. I sympathize with the photographers qualms against winning.

ntopics
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Love the Afghan Girl photo.
thanks from tony

harrison
Guest
harrison
6 years 9 months ago

The photos are very inspiring.
Maybe it can allow people to see the big picture of life instead of looking at a narrow view.

bono calacal
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

What can I say. Amazing. Really. Thanks for posting.

aSeed
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Really impressive collection ! A sad world brings srtong emotions…

smily
Guest
smily
6 years 9 months ago

Amazing .. very touchy .. awsome .. great job (Y)

Steve
Guest
Steve
6 years 9 months ago

As one of the MTV generation I’m not usually moved by anything, but by the end of this list I could feel my eyes welling up. Photos like this make me realise how lucky I am to live in the UK and how much we moan about the silly little things in life when others around the world have far more problems.
Thanks for sharing.

Julien V
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

just amazing… thanks for this wonderful work.

bell
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

WOW… Great Photos

mabeL
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

You can write a story each one. they were great. I published I miss her photo on my web-blog…

Luis Lopez
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

What such article…….
incredible all this pictures really are deep, than anything you can read o a newspaper.

I also remeber the image of the guy standing in front of the war thanks in Korea on 70’s I am not wrong.
And the image of Armero, Colombia, 16 November 1985. Twelve-year-old Omayra Sanchez trapped
in the debris caused by the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano. After sixty hours
she eventually lost consciousness and died.

ana
Guest
ana
6 years 9 months ago

I also remeber the image of the guy standing in front of the war thanks in Korea on 70’s I am not wrong.

Are you talking about China? It’s Tiannamen Square I believe.

M.R.
Guest
M.R.
6 years 9 months ago

Thanks for sharing. Beautiful, painful, cheerful and more, all at the same time. Puts a lot of things in perspective.

new cars
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

wow amazing pic

Anto
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Wonderful collection… Thanks a lot !

Alex Mitchell
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

A beautiful and fascinating collection, in the subjects themselves and the composition and work of the photographers. Thank you for sharing!

Chris
Guest
Chris
6 years 9 months ago

Great Article! Amazing pictures / stories! Thanks for helping me escape for a while! Cheers!

sal
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Damn, those are some good pictures. Thanks

Adah
Guest
Adah
6 years 9 months ago

Nice Collection. Love the picts :)

Motts
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

How beautiful and very emotional and touching. I think it’s amazing that we can see a part of ourselves in some of these pictures if one just looks close enough.
Amazing!!!

Sally Croft
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Great collection depicting strange stories. I was actually moved by so many of them, they made me shudder and unconsciously making me thankful for all the blessings we take for granted.

Can Berkol
Guest
6 years 9 months ago
Great collection; but hey, what story? I love this subject :) What are these photos telling you? Are there stories about the subjects (people within the frame)? Are there stories about the happening or environment? Are there stories or interpretation of the photographer on a subject or happening? Are there stories or interpretations of the viewer on a subject that photographer shows them or on a subject totally independent and special to the viewer? I love photography.. I think there is no single correct answer; and I think that is the strength of “story telling.” That is the strength of… Read more »
mahdee
Guest
mahdee
6 years 9 months ago

bangladesh is such a screwed up place, i think there are more tragic bangladeshi photos there than any other. nature sure has it in for old bangu

Iffat Tarannum
Guest
Iffat Tarannum
6 years 9 months ago

i wish this collection would contain more pictures that tells positive story of life….

dave
Guest
dave
6 years 9 months ago

The picture of the starving boy’s hand will move me for the rest of my days.

TG
Guest
TG
6 years 9 months ago

amazing collection of photos..
most of them will be in my head forever

Web, Email, Logo Design | BrandleDesign
Guest

It is a powerful reminder of the different lives people live around the world.

csahuquillo
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Great! No words needed

Mark McCulloch
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Great Blog You Have Here

Absolutely amazing pictures

They really do tell an amazing story

NiteStar
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

What an amazing collection of photographs; tears are in my eyes–I can feel the emotion ripping through the screen of my computer!

Chotrul
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

It was hard to get beyond the first photo – Man mutilated Rwanda – which was so powerful. Actually, there are so many powerful photos here .. it reminded me of going to a gallery, and the temptation is to rush around and have 30 seconds with each painting. Actually, that first photo seemed to merit far more attention than that … think I’ll come back another time, repeatedly, to absorb the other photos. Thanks so much for sharing them.

indigo
Guest
indigo
6 years 9 months ago

Amazing! Lack for words..

Jelena
Guest
Jelena
6 years 9 months ago

I am crying…

Anthony Calzadilla
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Gosh, a few of those will be hard to forget.

catalin1205
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

What is to say? No comment.

Jon Crim
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Amazing photos – they scream emotion.

NicoleB Egypt
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Awesome and very inspiring!

sameer
Guest
sameer
6 years 9 months ago

just an amazing collection…im speechless.. i think some of these pictures have left an indelible mark on me in one fleeting moment…

Yongli
Guest
Yongli
6 years 9 months ago

Thank you. It was amazing.

chris
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

great collection! I was touched by those photos, let us give the world a peace :)

Jacques van Heerden
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Really awesome inspirational collection.

This just made me realize once again how privileged we are to have what we have and to be alive.

All that I can say is, “Dream as if you will live another Million Years, Live as if you will die tomorrow.”

Regards,
Jacques van Heerden

Bim
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

some truely awesome photos. photos become a lot more interesting when there’s a story behind it.

Eric Roth
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

Illuminating.

Thank you.

world
Guest
6 years 9 months ago

oooooooooh it is …… i can’t say but it is realy and we must do something

Ted Lee
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

These pictures made me think of my past.
For I once was a soldier in Afica.
Lest we forget.

Harry
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

Great collection! Thanks for sharing.

Mário
Guest
Mário
6 years 8 months ago

Magnífica coleção de fotos. Adorei!

Gopher
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Profound and pictures that touch your soul. Thank you for sharing!

Deidre Brainerd
Guest
Deidre Brainerd
6 years 7 months ago

amazing, physically reactive

Mahmudur Rahman
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Awesome and amazing collection of photograph. Explanation of these image really heart braking. These photographs telling us so many thing and we should realize. Truly unbelievable. Thanks for share one of the best post.

Jeanie Lasky
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

Thank you for the informative post. I had been looking for something relevant and found your web site in the process.. I will definitely be back for more.

look
Guest
look
6 years 5 months ago

it;s out of my world…. am scared and its hurted.. poor people.

prince muyi
Guest
prince muyi
6 years 5 months ago

some times we have to thank GOD

zhaleh
Guest
zhaleh
6 years 5 months ago

shocking pictures!!!

Noushad
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Great collection. Thanks for sharing

kristnn
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

This was very deep had me in tears….

ryvaane bates
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

i love the photographs and the meaning it is representing.
i agree with the fact that images can be a sourceful way of attracting public attention and im pleased with the impact it has caused.
although i find it disturbing i am pleased that we all have a chance to now make a difference.
thank you

Jenna
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I have goosebumps and my passion for photography has just increased x 1 million. A picture really does speak a thousand words, how wonderful is that.

Stuart
Guest
6 years 2 months ago

Stunning!

GAMARAY
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

Yea … they trully do … Very good I’m impressed … even inspired to take pictures myself …

balacksmith
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

I Agree this is a great collection, Thanks so mutch for sharing

sureth
Guest
sureth
5 years 11 months ago

I cried tairs of happyness for the beauty and sadness and pain goind through your fotos

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