Forty unforgettable photos capture the full spectrum of human emotion

A truly great photograph is one that captures a human reaction at just the right moment. It not only reveals what the subject of the photo was feeling, but elicits a similarly strong emotion in the viewer. Add the context behind these iconic images and they're profoundly unforgettable.

1. This young man was photographed at the exact moment doctors turned on his first hearing aid.

Twitter/KandemiR

2. The now infamous "Tank Man" photo during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. What happened to this brave protester after the government crackdown is still unknown.

Twitter/CaptBeezer

3. A protester takes a moment to make music during demonstrations in Kiev, Ukraine.

Twitter/LucentDossier

4. A man breaks into tears as he watches Nazi troops occupy Paris on June 14, 1940.

5. A small child tries desperately to pick up his drunken father.

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6. Gravestones of a married couple in Roermond, Netherlands. She was Catholic, he was a Protestant.

Twitter/arjenUSA

7. This six-year-old orphan rejoices over a pair of new shoes after WWII.

Twitter/xcine

8. A Russian war veteran kneels before the tank he once operated.

Imgur/Travelator

9. Sergeant Frank Praytor cares for an orphaned kitten during the Korean War. 

Twitter/pentrarto

10. This dog stayed next to his owner's grave for days after he was killed by a landslide in Rio de Janeiro.

11. This soldier's opinion of war during the Vietnam War.

Twitter/OldSchoolCool

12. Two-year-old Agim Shala is passed to his grandparents through a barbwire fence so he could escape to a refugee camp during the Kosovo War.

Twitter/EgliRizanaj

13. John F. Kennedy Jr. bravely salutes his father as his coffin is rolled by.

Imgur/Travelator

14. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in homage to the Black Power movement during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Imgur/Travelator

15. Three sisters, three photos, decades in between.

Imgur/Travelator

16. Jewish prisoners freed from a death train.

Twitter/PotatoKamikaze2

17. After a devastating flood, an Indian boy hangs from a power line. Moments later, he let go.

Imgur/Rinnzler

18. A man rushes an injured child away from a detonated car bomb in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Imgur/Rinnzler

19. After being freed from a death camp, a young Rwandan shows his scars.

Imgur/Rinnzler

20. Seventeen-year-old Jan Rose Kasmir offers a flower to soldiers during anti-war protests in 1967.

Imgur/Rinnzler

21. During protests in Brazil, a young man faces rubber bullets.

Imgur/Rinnzler

22. A fireman rescues an unconscious child from fiery hell.

Imgur/Rinnzler

23. A pair of Korean brothers bid each other farewell after a fleeting reunion.

Imgur/Rinnzler

24. 100,000 Buddhist monks pray in quiet devotion for a peaceful future.

Imgur/Rinnzler

25. A three-year-old toddler with albinism snuggles next to his cousin.

Imgur/Rinnzler

26. A firefighter cares for an injured koala during Australia's devastating forest fires in 2009. 

Imgur/Rinnzler

27. A buddhist monk shares his meager meal with a tiger.

Imgur/Rinnzler

28. A reporter rescues a small child during the Spanish Civil War.

Imgur/Rinnzler

29. An Irish teenager confronts a British soldier during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland.

Imgur/Rinnzler

30. Dr. Religa takes a break during a 23-hour heart transplant. His assistant is sleeping in the corner. In the following picture (No. 31), his patient didn't merely survive the operation, but he also outlived the surgeon himself.

Imgur/Rinnzler

31.

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32. A starving child gives a rescue worker his hand.

Imgur/Rinnzler

33. Scratch marks on the wall inside a gas chamber in Auschwitz.

Imgur/Rinnzler

34. A woman sits amidst chaos and destruction after the earthquake in Japan which triggered the tsunami at Fukushima.

Imgur/Rinnzler

35. Diego Frazao Torquato plays at his music teacher's funeral. The teacher didn't just teach him how to play the violin, he rescued him from bitter poverty and violence.

Imgur/Rinnzler

36. Terri Gurrol sees her daughter after a seven-month tour in Iraq.

Imgur/Rinnzler

37. A man rescues three kittens during floods in India (2011).

Imgur/Rinnzler

38. This young man just learned that his brother had been killed.

Imgur/Rinnzler

39. After his girlfriend Alex Thomas was beaten by a policeman, Scott James gives her a kiss.

Twitter/LudoAbatecola

40. Policeman Ray Lewis is arrested because he sympathized with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Imgur/Travelator

These pictures have perfectly captured unforgettable moments to the extent that very little explanation is needed to understand them. But when you think about the human events surrounding these singular images, the feelings can be overwhelming. Which one touched you the most?

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