An Oscars selfie; a drowned child lying face-down on the coast of Bodrum; a businessman plummeting from the twin towers; the Loch Ness Monster; the defiant salute of African-American athletes at the 1968 Olympic Games…
All these moments are included in 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time, a multimedia project from Time magazine to collect the 100 most culturally significant photographs of all time.
Over the course of three years, historians, editors, photographers and artistic curators from around the world dedicated themselves to developing this interactive gallery, which has also been made into a book, videos and a special webpage.
Identifying and selecting the 100 images was just the start of the process. The team then went on to analyse how the photos were disseminated. This is because the means by which a photograph is shared – in the words of Time magazine’s Director of Photography, Kira Pollack – “often gives the picture its true influence.”
In addition, Time staff interviewed the photographers, as well as subjects, friends and family, and these recollections contribute to the essays accompanying each image.
The project, which is now available on magazine’s website, has uncovered all manner of stories. Here are just a few of them. You can find more here.
This photo by John Filo won the Pulitzer Prize. It depicts an anguished Mary Ann Vecchio, kneeling beside the dead body of fellow student Jeffrey Miller at Kent State University on 4 May 1970, after the National Guard had fired on a crowd of demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine.
The Tank Man (Tiananmen Square, Beijing) 5 June 1989.
This selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres features some of Hollywood’s best-known actors; first row, from left to right: Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper and Peter Nyongo Jr. Second row, from left to right: Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongo and Angelina Jolie. The spontaneous snap was taken during the 2014 Oscars in the Dolby Theatre on Sunday 2 March in Los Angeles. (Photo AP / Ellen DeGeneres).
On 6 May 1937, the German airship Hindenburg exploded 245 metres above the ground at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. (Photo AP) B / W SOLO.
President Obama in the Situation Room of the White House on the night that Osama bin Laden was hunted down and killed.
The Migrant Mother from Nipomo (1936) by Dorothea Lange. This photo earned Lange the Pulitzer Prize.
The Earth and the lunar landscape captured from Apollo 8 on 24 December 1968. Photo AP / NASA).
An alleged sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland. The photograph was supposedly taken on 19 April 1934 by Coronel Robert Kenneth Wilson, but it was later revealed to be a hoax when Chris Spurling confessed on his deathbed that he, Marmaduke Wetherell and Wilson had faked the picture.
As they were being awarded their medals at the 1968 Olympic Games, two African American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, raised their black-gloved fists in a black power salute. This political statement, in support of the civil rights of the Afro-American population, ended up provoking the runners’ expulsion from the games by the then president of the IOC. (GETTY)
A Turkish policeman stands beside the corpse of a migrant boy washed up on the coast of Bodrum in southern Turkey. The photo was taken on 2 September 2015, after a refugee ship sank on its way to the Greek island of Kos. (Nilufer Demir, AFP / Getty Images)
An Iraqi detainee stands hooded and bound with wire in Abu Ghraib prison, near Bagdad, Iraq. (AP Photo / Courtesy of The New Yorker, archive).
Reporter Kevin Carter captured this image in southern Sudan in 1993. It shows a starving toddler lying on the ground, while a plump vulture looks on. Carter won a Pulitzer for the photo in 1994. He took his life later that year.
In 1991, a seven-months-pregnant Demi Moore posed nude for the cover of Vanity Fair. The image started a trend. (Annie Leibovitz / AP).
This photo, disseminated by the International Centre for Photography (ICP) in 1979, shows Sandinista guerrillas attacking one of the last National Guard fortresses in Esteli, Nicaragua. The photo is part of an exhibition of the work of Susan Meiselas in New York’s ICP. (AP Photo / ICP, Susan Meiselas).
It was 23 February 1945 when US marines from the 28th Regiment, 5th division, lifted the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan. (Photo AP / Joe Rosenthal, archive)
A Buddhist monk sets himself on fire in Saigon in 1963 to protest the treatment of Buddhists by the regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem. (Photo AP / Malcolm Browne, archive).
Eadweard Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion, from 1878.
View from behind of the American baseball star Babe Ruth (George Herman Ruth), on the day he retired from the sport, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd at Yankee Stadium in 1948. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (Photo by Nat Fein / Hulton Archive / Getty Images).
South African photographer Sam Nzima poses with his iconic photo of Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old boy, shot dead by police during the 1976 Soweto Rising, Pretoria, South Africa.
This Pulitzer Prize-winning photo by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut became the centre of a heated debate about freedom of expression in Norway after Facebook deleted it from the Norwegian Prime Minister’s Page in September 2016.
This image of the Eagle Nebula was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble has recorded more than one million observations. No man-made satellite has touched as many hearts and minds as Hubble. (NASA, ESA / Hubble, Hubble Heritage Team via AP).
The Falling Man, taken on the day of the World Trade Center attacks on 11 September 2001. (Richard Drew / AP).
A euphoric US marine grabbed a nurse and kissed her passionately in the middle of Times Square to celebrate the long-awaited victory over Japan. (Alfred Eisentaedt, Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images).
Robert Capa portrayed the events of D-Day, on 6 June 1944: the beginning of Operation Overload during the last year of the Second World War.
The Pillow Fight depicts the Beatles enjoying a moment of boyish exuberance shortly after they found out that had their first US number one with ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and were going to play on the Ed Sullivan show. The photographer is Harry Benson.