Some of the greatest memories in history are known to us, simply because someone, whether intentionally or accidentally, captured the moment - either in words, photos, or art. 

And on this Reddit thread, users shared what they thought was the single greatest photo in history, and the results are astounding, to say the least: 

1. In September 2001, people captured watching as the World Trade Center Towers fell to the ground. 


2. In June 1963, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc burned himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon.

Source: Curlaub

3. Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, shot in 1994. (The pale blue dot is Earth) 

Source: intersecting_lines

4. One of the deepest, most detailed visible views of the universe provided for the first time by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Source: Wanna Waffle

5. In 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests, a man blocked a column of Type 59 tanks heading east on Beijing's Chang'an Boulevard (Avenue of Eternal Peace) near Tiananmen Square. The photo is known as the 'Tank Man'. 

Source: ShellsFeathersFur

Another photograph (shared on the same thread) which provides a better context of the incident. 

Source: sanbon909

6. 'Earth rising'photo, from December 24, 1968, clicked when Apollo 8 spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral en route to becoming the first manned mission to orbit the moon. Captured by astronaut Bill Anders. 

Source: 201612211916122119

7. 'The Falling Man' photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 

Source: 201612211916122119

8. A photo of a mushroom-shaped cloud, following the Nagasaki Bombing. 

Source: 201612211916122119

9. 'The vulture and the little girl' photograph, by Kevin Carter, first appeared in The New York Times on 26 March 1993. The picture won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography award in 1994, but Carter committed suicide four months after winning the prize.

Source: jezzabeth87


Source: nessaphi

11. Taken in 1838, this is apparently the World’s oldest photograph of a human being and was taken by Louis Jacques-Mande Daguerre in 1838. The only people visible are a guy getting his boots polished and the bootblack. 

Source: giantmantisshrimp

12. In 1944, during World War II, the troop landing phase of Operation Neptune, the naval component of the Operation Overlord Normandy landing commonly known as D-Day. The photograph, called 'Into the Jaws of Death', was taken by Chief Photographer's Mate Robert Sargent. 

Source: Fudge89

13. In 1944, during World War II, a photograph of France invasion by American craft of all styles at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion. 

Source: DeadPrateRoberts

14. American bookkeeper Evelyn Francis McHale jumped to her suicide from the 86th-floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building on May 1, 1947. The photograph - titled 'the most beautiful suicide' - was taken four minutes after her death by photography student Robert Wiles. 

Source: XAWEvX

15. Malian photographer Malick Sidibé’s captured a young couple at a club, lost in each other’s eyes, during the Christmas Eve of 1963.

Source: hurshy238

16. In 1995 astronomers assembled a sharper photograph of the iconic Eagle Nebula's "Pillars of Creation", by using the NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Source: jordomm

17. One of the most reproduced images in history, 'The Blue Marble' is a photograph of Earth taken by Apollo 17 crew, on December 7, 1972, at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers. 

Source: elconcho

18. The infamous 'Napalm Girl' photo shows South Vietnamese forces following terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Vietcong hiding places on June 8, 1972.

Source: marauderusername

19. In 1944, after rescuing a badly-burned fellow pilot by jumping into the waters of Rabaul, the young man manned his position as machine gunner without taking time to put on his clothes. He was photographers, by Horace Bristol, right after the act. 

Source: Nessaphi

20. The Fifth Solvay Conference, held in 1927 is considered as the collection of some of the most intelligent minds and 17 of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners. The attendees included Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr,  Marie Curie, and others. 

Source: SmellyLeopard

21. 9,000 bodies etched into the Normandy sand to represent the dead on the first day of the landing, during World War II. 

Source: foreverbitchy

22. New York construction workers lunching on a crossbeam, while sitting atop the steelwork of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, during the construction of the Rockefeller Center, in Manhattan, New York City, United States.

Source: corbis14

23. A photograph of the first ever first powered and sustained airplane flight by the Wright Brothers. Orville Wright controlled the machine while Wilbur Wright ran alongside to balance the machine. The photograph was taken by John T. Daniels. 

Source: NacatlGoneWild

24. Tyke the elephant escaped during a live performance in August 94, after 12 years of torture in a Hawaiian circus. The police shot at her 86 times, eventually killing her.

Source: DjStarfruit


Source: shaokim

26. The photo of a single atom captured by Ph.D. candidate David Nadlinger. The single strontium atom is illuminated by a laser while suspended in the air by two electrodes. 

Source: mybadwolf

27. 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. captured as he saluted his father's casket, the late President John F. Kennedy. The photograph is by Stan Stearns. 

Source: I_am_teapot

28. A line of Jewish women, with some of them holding infants, stand naked, waiting to be executed by the Ukrainian auxiliary police.

Source: Spazmonkey1949

29. An iconic photograph in which one man (circled), in a large group of people, refused to give the Nazi Salute. 

Source: PM_Me_Ur__Dad__Jokes

30. Sports Illustrator Neil Leifer captured the moment when 23-year-old Muhammad Ali knocked off 34-year-old Sonny Liston, and stood, towering over him, taunting him to get up. 

Source: Seedaly

31. NASA Astronaut Bruce McCandless II made the first, untethered, free flight spacewalk in the Manned Maneuvering Unit on Feb. 7, 1984, during the Space Shuttle Challenger’s STS-41B mission. 

Source: that-one-man

32. A bomb disposal expert walks to defuse a potential explosive device in Northern Ireland in 1970, and a nearby sign reads, 'Prepare to meet thy God'. 

Source: YouKnowABitJonSnow

33. Remembered as modern-day Romeo and Juliet, childhood sweethearts Admira Ismic and Bosko Brkic were trying to escape the besieged city of Sarajevo when they were slain by sniper's bullets. Their bodies lay in the final embrace for seven days before they were finally removed from Sarajevo's Vrbanja Bridge.

Source: Raven-The-Sixth

Truly, every photography carries a story in itself.