Photography is a powerful medium. It can expose truths and show emotions that words never could. It can turn a mirror to our deepest fears and give us hope for humanity. It can change the world.
Since 1942 the Pulitzer Prize has been awarded to the most excellent photographs and photo portfolios taken every year. Usually awarded to news photographers, the award-winning images include some of the most iconic photographs ever taken.
In honor of National Photo Day, Aug. 19, we put together some of our all-time favorites. As a whole, they represent some of the most important news stories and historical moments of the past 72 years.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Please be warned that many of the images in this slideshow depict graphic violence, injury, and nudity, and many are quite upsetting.
(All captions by their respective photographer or agency, edited by Christian Storm.)
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Dead Japanese soldiers lay scattered around a blasted pillbox at Tarawa Island in the South Pacific on Nov. 11, 1943, during World War II. A bloody battle ensued after the U.S. Marines invaded the Japanese occupied atoll. This photo by Frank Filan won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944.
This iconic photo that won Joe Rosenthal the Prize in 1945 depicts U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raising the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan.
In this photo by Max Desfor that won the Prize in 1951, residents from Pyongyang, North Korea, and refugees from other areas crawl perilously over shattered girders of the city's bridge as they flee south across the Taedong River to escape the advance of Chinese Communist troops.
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