Johann Zahn is often credited for designing the first camera in the 1600s. There is evidence that inventors and scientists like Ibn- al- Haytham of Iraq imagined a similar device centuries earlier. It wasn't until the nineteenth century, however, that someone was able to actually click a camera and produce the images onto paper. This achievement has been credited to the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.
But more than just a testament to our advancements in technology, photography serves a specific purpose. This purpose may vary between the photographer, subject, and viewer. The bare boned purpose of taking a photograph is to document something or record a memory. We can keep them in our private circles or even to ourselves to reflect on moments missed or share them with the public alongside a story where it can be used to help entertain, educate, or invite its viewers to a new perspective.
Separated from but related to this purpose is the motivation. A photographer might feel motivated to further their career and establish themselves in a certain field. But not all do it for the recognition.
Many journalistic photographers have risked or lost their lives to capture scenes that deliver truths that news alone cannot. Their work introduces us to heroes and injustice alike. We can try to place values on photographs with awards but similar to any artistic endeavor, when it makes you feel something it is considered priceless.
Scroll below to see some of the most empowering photographs ever taken.
#1. A Brazilian protestor standing before gunfire during protests against police brutality and corruption.
Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty Images
#2. Souad Hamidi excitedly removing the niqab she has been forced to wear since 2014, after the Syrian Democratic Forces took control of her village.
Rodi Said / Reuters
#3. Clara Gantt finally reunited with her husband's body after more than 60 years since he's gone missing during the Korean War.
Andrew Renneisen / AP
#4. A journalist sprinting across a bridge in attempts of rescuing the baby in his arms during the Civil War in 1936.
#5. Protestors calmly playing piano over the loud sounds of chaos in the midst of a riot.
SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP / Getty Images