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30 Of The Most Powerful Images Ever

A picture is worth a thousand words, but not all pictures are created equal. The pictures we usually feature on Bored Panda can be cute, beautiful, funny, or enchanting, but these pictures are powerful. They are gripping and unforgettable because of the volumes they speak about the human condition – about some of the best and worst moments of contemporary human existence.

We should warn our readers that some of these pictures may upset them, while others may fill them with joy. But that’s precisely because these images reflect some of the best and worst parts of the human experience and world events. Our post of must-see photos from the past described our history while these photos, for the most part, describe our present – our suffering and our triumphs, our perseverance and our failures, our compassion and our hatred, our intelligence and our stupidity.

Some of these photographs may mean more to some of our readers than to others. But hopefully, they will remind us all that the world can always use a little bit more love, tolerance, compassion and understanding.

P.S: we always try our best to credit each and every photographer, but sometimes it’s impossible to track some of them. Please leave a comment if you know the missing authors.

1. Starving boy and missionary

Image credits: Mike Wells

2. Inside an Auschwitz gas chamber

Image credits: kligon5

3. Heart surgeon after 23-hour-long (successful) heart transplant. His assistant is sleeping in the corner.

Image credits: James Stanfield

4. Father and son (1949 vs 2009)

Image credits: Vojage-Vojage

5. Diego Frazão Torquato, 12 year old Brazilian playing the violin at his teacher’s funeral. The teacher had helped him escape poverty and violence through music

Image credits:

6. A Russian soldier playing an abandoned piano in Chechnya in 1994

Image credits:

7. Young man just found out his brother was killed

Image credits: Nhat V. Meyer

8. Christians protect Muslims during prayer in the midst of the 2011 uprisings in Cairo, Egypt

Image credits: Nevine Zaki

9. A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in 2009

Image credits:

10. Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after serving in Iraq for 7 months

Image credits: Louie Favorite

11. Indian homeless men wait to receive free food distributed outside a mosque ahead of Eid al-Fitr in New Delhi, India

Image credits: Tsering Topgyal / AP

12. Zanjeer the dog saved thousands of lives during Mumbai serial blasts in March 1993 by detecting more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades and 6406 rounds of live ammunition. He was buried with full honors in 2000

Image credits: STR News / Reuters

13. Man Falling from the World Trade Center on 9/11. “The Falling Man.”

Image credits:  Richard Drew /AP

14. Alcoholic father with his son

Image credits:

15. Embracing couple in the rubble of a collapsed factory

Image credits: Taslima Akhter

16. Sunset on Mars

Image credits:

17. Five-year-old gypsy boy on New Year’s Eve 2006 in the gypsy community of St. Jacques, Perpignan, Southern France. It is quite common in St. Jacques for little boys to smoke

Image credits: Jesco Denzel

18. Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon). In May 2008, cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar, leaving millions homeless and claiming more than 100,000 lives

Image credits: Brian Sokol

19. A dog named “Leao” sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of her owner, who died in the disastrous landslides near Rio de Janiero in 2011.

Image credits: Vanderlei Almeida / Getty Images

20. “Wait For Me Daddy,” by Claude P. Dettloff in New Westminster, Canada, October 1, 1940

Image credits: Claud Detloff

21. An old WW2 Russian tank veteran finally found the old tank in which he passed through the entire war – standing in a small Russian town as a monument

Image credits:

22. Flower power

Image credits: Bernie Boston

23. A woman sits amidst the wreckage caused by a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunam, in Natori, northern Japan, in March 2011

Image credits: Asahi Shimbun, Toshiyuki Tsunenari /AP

24. The Graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, Holland, 1888

Image credits:

25. Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado in March, 2012

Image credits: Gary Cosby Jr. / AP

26. Demonstration of condom usage at a public market in Jayapura, capital of Papua, 2009

Image credits: Adri Tambunan

27. Russian soldiers preparing for the Battle of Kursk, July 1943

Image credits: Shirak Karapetyan-Milshtein

Update: Our reader Leif-Erik pointed out that this photograph was actually created in 2006-2007 for a photo competition. It is based on archive photos from the war in Russia in 1941-1945.

28. During massive floods in Cuttack City, India, in 2011, a heroic villager saved numerous stray cats by carrying them with a basket balanced on his head

Image credits: Biswaranjan Rout / AP

29. An Afghan man offers tea to soldiers

Image credits: Rafiq Maqbool / AP

30. Some parents, likely now in their 70′s, still looking for their missing child.

Image credits:

P.S: we always try our best to credit each and every photographer, but sometimes it’s impossible to track some of them. Please leave a comment if you know the missing authors.

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What do you think?



    • Leon Thompson

      hahahaha that’s what I thought too… I mean he aint seen a meal in days!!

  • gary

    If you dont like the usa get the hell out

  • grrlpurple

    As a photographer I feel I have to speak up for that perspective – my utmost respect to the photographers who took these powerful images. They could have lowered their lenses out of respect, turned away consumed by their own pain or jumped in to help as best as they could but, instead of this, they had the courage of their convictions to get the shot. Preserving for humankind, for all time, that fleeting moment of life and window into the emotional intensity of the subjects. I, for one, know that my view on life and humanity is enriched by being able to share in those moments and emotions.

  • Big Bam McGee

    I like turtles

  • Tomokazu Hattanda


  • ana

    I counted and there are women featured on only 5 of the 30 pictures. If we count the number of women men featured, excepting crowds, there are about 7 women and 80 men. There are two pictures with crowds, one that appears to feature men only, one with a minority of women and plenty of military men being the focus with a little boy. What follows? That women are not seen as powerful pics subjects? It looks like so.

    • Shiloh

      ana? it’s so much more than women or men. It’s about the human condition. I feel so sorry you are actually counting stuff and comparing ratios instead of feeling the photographs. I wish you peace. Be glad some in the photos are not you but they are ALL a little part of us.

  • Dan DeSousa

    Absolutely breathtaking. Numbers 3 and 6 have to be my favorite, 3 for the dedication and bravery of the surgeon and 6 for the Russian soldier remembering something that once was fondly, even amidst the destruction.

  • bellabean

    muchisimas gracias!!! for this collection. very beautiful and touching images. amor xx

  • 25malescotland

    see this is the problem with humanity, theses pictures project both positive and negative factors but at the same time they are just trying to open out eyes to what goes on in the world and we should feed off these kinds of pictures in order to make ourselves better people. but all people can do on this is argue and point the finger and say ‘I am right ‘ ‘you are wrong’ come on grow up we are all human and should support each other.

    • Max Pixel


  • Ted Wake, Peterborough.

    Simply Fantastic !!!!!!!!

  • Argol

    This easily could have been 30 picture from the aftermath of Sandy or the Federal Flood of New Orleans. You chose to go global, and I think you were right.

  • Jenny

    Thank you for pictures like this. Some made me cry, not only from sadness at mankind’s inhumanity to mankind but also from the humanity displayed in the absolute worse circumstances. While they bring out the best and worst in viewers, anything that makes us think and share our thoughts is good, because in the process change is made possible.

  • Highfield Insurance Services


  • y8

    the world’s most beautiful images
    beautiful photos of a fine art angels art

  • Stefan Burlacu

    This page is full of american idiots post’s. I barely think you retarded citizens of that monster you call U.S.A even know what your country is doing outside of your land …. And the most dangerous thing is that you don’t realize u.s.a need s war to keep an healthy economy…You just think you are the freacking protectors of the world, well, get this, most of us don t need you … Maybe my words are wrong, not the best choice to express what i have in my mind, but i don ‘t want to repeat what LUCIANO ANGELOTTI explained in the most beautifull and peacefull way … Certainly you ll consider my post a rageous one , without any real content , but stupid usa citizens get this : IF MOST OF EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA AND SOUTH AMERICA HATES YOUR BULLY COUNTRY, CERTAINLY THERE IS A REASON …… By the way, if there was a big red button in front of me that would let me wipe your nation from the face of the globe i will never press it,,,, bet you would !

  • disqus_rSxoyWvWdT

    Today I give thanks for my blessed life. These shots are amazing and bring so much emotion. I can only imagine what pain others go through, knowing most is caused by man by way of hate or fear only makes it more of a senseless loss….

  • NiLL

    oh GOD, they were aweSOmeEeEEEeeeEE,thnx fellas

  • artikelinformasi

    It’s a real life
    These photos show how life outside our comfortable zone…many emotion show

  • Brano Bielik

    Terri Goodman Gurrola – Clinic Officer in Charge / loving mother that leaves her family to play a soldier. really touching… (or how about this, if you want to see some powerful images, open google go to pictures and enter “us war crimes iraq” or afghanistan or syria or lybia … well that’s just for recent past… you can go deeper in history for some really powerful images…)

  • preach!

    onwards and upwards

  • Edi

    this surgeon is polish doctor Zigniew Religa,.. next room died his other patient…

  • Sahra

    The photos are very beautiful and powerful! Thank you so much for compiling and sharing these images. I was moved to tears.

  • asasas


  • Shari

    Pictures 1, 5, & 12…that emaciated little hand breaks my heart, I just do not understand how there are starving children in the world when there are so many that have so much. As for #5, my heart breaks for the sense of loss that is so obvious in this picture. I am working toward becoming a teacher because I see so many children in need of someone to be kind to them, to believe in them, and to push them toward success and celebrate their unique abilities. It is clear that the child in this picture has lost the person who did this for him, and that is devastating. #12 is uplifting even as it is sorrowful, just knowing that there are people in this world that have the kind of care and consideration to provide such a lovely service for this dog, when so many out there would not care about what the dog had done makes me think there is still hope for human-kind.

  • Sebi

    The 3 picture is prof. Religa, first to transplant heart in Poland, latter Minister of Health. Died couple years ago of cancer. Heavy smoker, but wonderful man that saved many lifes.

  • Chrislongski

    The photo of the alleged Auschwitz gas chamber. The Germans blew them up as the Russians approached by order of Commandant Hoess. Photo source ?

    #11. My God ! The poor souls…
    # 19. Looks almost like my 14-year-old Lab. Sadly, it will be me attending her grave soon…it’ll just rip me to shreds…

  • Cassandra Dorlean

    Very emotional