The Most Iconic Photos Of The 1960s

June 22, 2012
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Guerrillero Heroico, 1960


“Guerrillero Heroico” or “Heroic Guerrilla Fighter” is one of the most popular and stylized pictures of all time. Taken by Alberto Korda on March 5, the image is of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara at a memorial service for victims of La Coubre explosion. It is often considered as the most famous image in the world and certainly lionized Guevara’s person. It is the most reproduced image in photography.

Assassination of Japan Socialist Inejiro Asanuma, 1960


This picture was taken literally a second before the Japanese socialist Party leader Asanuma was stabbed to death on live TV by a right wing extremist. Photographer Yasushi Nagao, whose modest response was that he was in the right place at the right time, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the shot.

Burning Monk, 1963


Malcolm W. Browne captured this image of the Vietnamese monk, Thich Quang Duc, who set himself on fire to protest the Diem regime’s ruthless persecution of Buddhists. The image, needless to say, captured the “hearts and minds” of millions world-over.

President Johnson Sworn In Aboard Air Force One, 1963


Mere moments after the devastating assassination of President Kennedy, the presidential photographer, Cecil Stoughton, snapped this image of Lyndon B Johnson being sworn in as the new president on board Air Force One. The event occurred mere hours after Kennedy was shot, the reason behind the haunting image of the visibly distraught Jackie Kennedy.

How Life Begins, 1965


How Life Begins was an image taken by Lennart Nilsson of developing foetus. It was taken with an endoscope and published in Life Magazine in 1965, and was the first of its kind to show us where life comes from.

James Meredith, 1966


This devastating image shows civil rights activist James Meredith moments after he was shot on June 6, 1966 while leading a civil rights march. Said march aimed to encourage African Americans to exercise their voting rights and this image shows him pulling himself across the Highway in visible pain. Right after being treated, he completed the march from Memphis to Jackson.

The Body of Che Guevara, 1967


From one iconic image of Che to another, the Bolivian army took this photograph after capturing and killing the Marxist revolutionary leader as proof of his demise. His death, needless to say, dealt a heavy blow to the socialist movement.

Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla, 1968


Photographer Eddie Adams snapped this horrific image during the Vietnam War. The photo depicts the South Vietnam’s national police chief, Nguyen Ngoc Loan, executing the Viet Cong captain. Unfortunately, the photo instigated a lot of ill will towards Loan, who was shunned until late in life, even though his actions are more heroic than the photo would suggest.

Earthrise, 1968


Snapped on Christmas Eve, the Earthrise photograph is considered one of the most influential environmental photos ever taken and inspired people to think about our place in the universe. There was a raging debate about who took the photo – Frank Borman or Bill Anders of the Apollo 8 mission – with an investigation confirming Anders was responsible for the color version of the iconic image.

Robert Kennedy Assassination, 1968


Years after the assassination of younger brother JFK, this sobering image of Senator Robert Kennedy was taken in a pool of his own blood after being shot at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel on June 5. He was found by a hotel busboy, Juan Romero, shown in this LIFE magazine photo comforting the wounded Senator. Kennedy died shortly after the photo was taken.

Man Walks on the Moon, 1969


Neil “That’s one small step for man” Armstrong snapped this image of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin during their jaunt on the moon. The image became a symbol of American innovation and dedication.