10 Disturbing Photographs Telling Tales of Disaster

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This rings true for the rare photographs in this list that tells you tales of suffering, courage and hope experienced firsthand by the photographers and captured through their lenses.

Note that some of the pictures are disturbing therefore powerful and quiet alive. Scroll down at your own risk.

Here is a list of 10 disturbing photographs that shocked the world.

10. Kosovo Refugees

Photographer: Carol Guzy

Agim Shala, 2 years old, is passed thru the barbed wire fence.

In 2000 Carol Guzy received a Pulitzer Prize for the touching photographs she had taken of the Kosovo refugees. In this particular photo, a 2-years-old refugee child (Agim Shala) was being passed through the barb wired fence to his family on the other side. Guzy currently works for the Washington Post and has won the Pulitzer four times.

9. War Underfoot

Photographer: Carolyn Cole

War Underfoot by Carolyn Cole

Very aptly named, the photograph certainly says a thousand unsaid words. It mirrors the devastating effects of the Civil War in Liberia. The picture was taken on the streets of Monrovia, capital of Liberia. Cole won the Pulitzer in 2004, for her coverage of the siege of Monrovia. For the records, Carolyn Cole is a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times.

8. World Trade Center 9/11

Photographer: Steve Ludlum

World Trade Center 9-11 (Steve Ludlum)

This photograph is an eyewitness to history. It captures the power of universal destruction. Ludlum said, “It’s an iconic image. When people think of the World Trade Center disaster they will think about this photograph.” In 2002, Ludlum won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography.

7. Thailand Massacre

Photographer: Neal Ulevich

Thailand Massacre (Neil Ulevich)

Neal Ulevich is an American photographer who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for capturing “disorder and brutality in the streets of Bangkok.” In 1976 the worsening political situation in Thailand culminated into violent confrontation at The Thammasat University. Several students who were demonstrating against dictatorial Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn’s plan of returning into the country, were shot, beaten, hanged, mutilated and even burnt to death.

6. After the Storm

Photographer: Patrick Farrell

After the Storm (Patrick Farrell)

In 2008 Farrell captured the horrors experienced by the victims of the tropical storm Hanna that had hit Haiti. He documented the after math in black-and-white stills, more of which you can find here. He was awarded Pulitzer in 2009. In the above picture, we have a young boy rescuing a stroller from the wreck of his home.

5. The Power of One

Photographer: Oded Balilty

The Power of One (Oded Balilty)

Oded Balilty is an Israeli documentary photographer. In 2006, when the Israeli government decided to uproot illegal settlers, a ferocious clash was inevitable. What we have here is a brave 16-year-old Jewish settler, Ynet Nili resisting the authorities. Later, Nili had said, “You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion, behind the many stands one man, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but behind me stand the Lord and the people of Israel.”

4. After the Tsunami

Photographer: Arko Datta

Disturbing Photographs Telling Tales Of Disaster

This is considered as one of the most striking representation of the devastation that followed the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Arko Datta is an award-winning photojournalists from India who is also recognised for his photographs of the Gujarat riots, depicting the plight of victims of the riots. ‘After the Tsunami’ is a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture” that depicts a woman mourning the death of a relative.

3. Operation Lion Heart

Photographer: Deanne Fitzmaurice

Disturbing Photographs Telling Tales Of Disaster

Fitzmaurice is an American photographer and photojournalist won had won the highly respected Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for her sensitive photo essay ‘Operation Lion Heart’. ‘Lion Heart’ is the nickname given to Saleh Khalaf, a nine year old boy maimed by an explosion in Iraq. The boy was brought to a hospital in Oakland, CA where he underwent several life-threatening surgeries. His unwillingness to die and his courage gave him the nickname – Saleh Khalaf meaning ‘Lion Heart’.

2. Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984

Photographer: Pablo Bartholomew

Disturbing Photographs Telling Tales Of Disaster

In December 1984, gas leaking from the Union Carbide India Limited storage tank killed as many as 15,000 and injured 558,125 people in Bhopal. This massive environmental and human disaster was a result of ignorance in standard safety and maintenance procedures. Bartholomew while documenting the catastrophe came across a man who was burying a child.

1. Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez

Photographer: Frank Fourier

Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez (Frank Fourier)

1985 Columbia, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano eruption lead to a mudslide that killed more than 25,000 people. Frank Fournier captured the tragic image of Omayra Sanchez, a 13-years-old girl trapped for 60 hours under the debris of her home which won the 1985 World Press Photo award.

As to the little girl’s fate, she tragically died due to hypothermia and gangrene following three days of struggle which was followed by millions of people around the world on television. This erupted major criticism on the Columbian government for commencing a weak rescue mission.

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