10 iconic images that have helped shape the last decade

The EOS 5D camera series has often been described as enabling photographers to tell the stories that need to be told. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, we’ve teamed up with Getty Images to reveal 10 iconic images which, shot by some of the world's leading photographers over the past decade, tell some of these stories and highlight the role photography plays in being able to affect change around the world.

Anthony Holland-Parkin, Creative Director at Getty Images shares the incredible background stories behind each image, together with quotes from the actual photographers who captured them.

For your chance to win an EOS 5D Mark III of your very own, as well as a range of limited edition anniversary prizes, check out our Iconic Images competition!

John Moore, EOS 5D Mk I

Arlington, USA

May 27, 2007

John Moore/Getty Images

John Moore’s image of a woman weeping at the foot of her husband’s grave depicts a personal moment of change against a backdrop of simultaneously changing attitudes towards the deployment of troops in conflicts overseas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. This image, perhaps more than any other, truly resonated with the American public about the consequences at home of war, and has been highlighted as such by many of the world’s leading media titles, particularly in the US including TIME magazine and National Geographic. It also contributed towards John being awarded Photojournalist of the Year by NPPA, and Magazine Photographer of the Year by POYi. John says:

“After spending four years returning to Iraq to cover the war, I thought I should pay a visit to Arlington National Cemetery one Memorial Day weekend in 2007. I felt I owed it some time. I walked through the graves of Section 60, the newest part of the sprawling cemetery. I came across Mary McHugh, who was visiting the grave of her slain fiancé James Regan, a U.S. Army Ranger who had been killed by an IED earlier in the year. I spoke with her briefly — her Jimmy and I had worked, with different missions, in some of the same difficult places in Iraq. Later, when I passed by again, she was lying on the grass over her sweetheart's grave, caressing the cold marble and speaking softly into the stone, as if with so much more to say. I made a few frames and moved on my way. I felt then, and do now, that I owed that cemetery some time. Maybe we all do.

I’ve been in many conflict situations, including quite a bit in combat zones in different parts of the world, but sometimes it’s not the action photo from the frontline that is the most moving. Sometimes it’s the quiet moments taken from the periphery, from the home front, that touch people’s hearts.”

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, EOS 5D Mk I


November 29, 2007

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala / Getty Images Reportage

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala took this image on assignment to document the Colombian civil war for TIME magazine. Two female FARC guerrillas from the Bloque Movil Arturo Ruiz - a special unit of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, allegedly responsible for hostage-taking - pose for a portrait inside one of the FARC camps. The media exposure this image received following its initial publication in TIME magazine, and also later on in other publications, helped to bring the reality of this largely forgotten 50-year conflict to the general public, and enabled Alvaro to continue documenting this important story for the people of Colombia. Alvaro says:

“Very few people know what is not seen in this photo. Behind me, that day, after six months working and getting to know the Arturo Ruiz Mobile Column of the FARC-EP forces, I had more than half of that guerrilla column playing around like children and enjoying the improvised portrait session. It seemed that everyone had forgotten about war briefly. Recurring jokes and a good atmosphere reigned at that moment, in that corner of the Colombian jungle. Still, in front of me, my camera was facing quite another reality. The hardness of the beautiful faces of Judith and Isa are a true testimony to the harshness of their lives marked by the Colombian civil war. Neither the jokes, nor the compliments from their colleagues in arms, were able - even for a second - to hide the signs of the toll of conflict in their beautiful faces.”

Veronique de Viguerie, EOS 5D Mk I

Hobyo, Somalia

October 27, 2008

Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images Reportage

Le Figaro magazine in France originally commissioned Veronique de Viguerie and her journalist colleague to travel to Somalia and meet with one of the pirate chiefs. The resulting story, and this lead image which captured a chief, nicknamed “the one who never sleeps”, and his crew arriving on a beach before going on to attack another ship, was published as the first landmark feature on the subject, just as it was about to enter headlines globally. The story received huge global pickup and was published as an exclusive in over 30 media titles worldwide including The Guardian, XL Semanal, Stern, TIME, MSNBC.com, Spiegel, Newsweek, The Telegraph, GQ, La Repubblica, Corriere Della Sera, The Times, and many others. The images remain pertinent today, and continue to be published by global media outlets. Veronique says:

“For months, my journalist colleague and I had been hearing media stories and rumours of pirates in the Gulf of Aden, but no one had met them. We felt we had to go. It took us a few weeks to organise it with our fantastic fixer. Our main fear was the risk of being kidnapped. To mitigate the risk, we didn't reveal our identities in advance, so there were a stressful first few minutes when they discovered that we were two blonde women, with a certain value. Luckily, it was too late for them to organise anything, and by the time they may have realised the opportunity, we were long gone. In creating this image, and distributing the broader feature, we were able to bring the journalistic reality and facts into this story, to end the speculation. We finally had real insight into the people involved in the piracy that we had been hearing about.”

Toby Smith, EOS 5D Mk II

Masoala National Park, Madagascar

August 21, 2009

Toby Smith / Getty Images Reportage

Toby’s body of work on illegal logging of endangered species of trees in Madagascar was initiated through a relationship with Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Working undercover with lead investigators, Toby captured this image of a Malagasi worker swinging his axe at a precious rosewood tree, causing its red/pink core to fragment outwards. The final chapter of the project was commissioned by GEO magazine in Germany who produced a feature on the work of EIA and specifically this issue, and later also published the evidence within its international editions. The story went on to grab headlines in a number of other publications, including the New York Times, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek and National Geographic, when it became part of the first prosecution on US soil of international traders using endangered species of timber. Toby says:

“In August 2009, I accompanied an NGO expedition to Madagascar, seeking evidence of illegal logging within the national parks. Splintering from the main group, I spent two weeks trekking deep into the Maosala rainforest, following the trail of precious rosewood timber upstream to its source.

Documenting the actual felling, together with the loggers’ desperate working conditions, brought the issue to the world’s attention through leading print and broadcast media. The loggers themselves were welcoming to me, and I felt great empathy for their plight as men who were just trying to support their families, in a country where the economy and overall stability was in turmoil. The image is therefore not a critique of the man featured, but for me is a key and impactful visual in documenting the overall issue, and confronting those at the other end of this chain of supply, as well as those profiting significantly from this trade.

GPS logs and documents from the trip, along with the supporting visual content, helped the US federal authorities to prosecute international companies for their involvement in this illegal trade, and bring about greater accountability and transparency in the sourcing of timber by the companies, whilst the footage contributed to an award-winning BBC documentary.”

Ed Ou, EOS 5D Mk II

Mogadishu, Somalia

April 24, 2010

Ed Ou / Getty Images Reportage

The New York Times commissioned this story originally but it went on to be picked up by international media including the Sunday Times Magazine, Le Monde, television broadcaster Arte, and many others. As part of a US-funded counterterrorism strategy in the Horn Of Africa, the Somali government allegedly actively, and in some cases forcibly, recruited children in to its military. The photos of these young children armed with powerful weapons in war-torn Mogadishu, sparked much discussion and were shown in the US Senate as part of a debate which went on to see the US government and UN Security Council apply renewed pressure on the Somali transitional government to stop using child soldiers. This image won Ed Ou the 2011 Young Reportage award at Visa Pour l’Image photo festival. Ed says:

“For two decades, being in a state of constant conflict and insecurity has been the course of daily life in Somalia. I was both fascinated and heartbroken at the effect this had on the youngest generation, who had been born to war. For these children, there was nothing extraordinary about their lives. I knew I was witnessing and documenting an injustice to the outside world, but for them, holding a weapon is a part of their everyday routine. I tried as hard as I could to let their day to day lives speak for themselves.”

Marco Di Lauro, EOS 5D Mk II

Gadabedji, Niger

June 27, 2010

Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images Reportage

Marco Di Lauro partnered with UNICEF UK to document the serious food crisis gripping the West African nation of Niger. The confronting images of the makeshift abattoir in the village of Gadabedji captured the utterly desperate nature of the situation, which saw meat traders buying recently deceased animals from poverty stricken farmers who were desperate to raise money to feed their families, and cooking them on the spot to then send to market in Nigeria. The images were featured in print and digital donor appeals, reaching a large international audience. The follow up attention the image received through a screening at Visa Pour l’Image, followed by its distribution to global media as a winning image from the 2011 World Press Photo, secured further extensive print and digital coverage around the world. Marco says:

“I went to Gadabedji, Niger, in June 2010 and on June 27th, I took this ‘hanging meat’ photo, which went on to later win First Prize in the Contemporary Issues category at World Press Photo Award 2011.

My agency and I were contacted by UNICEF, who I had worked with before, about raising awareness of the food crisis in Niger due to the crippling drought affecting the whole Sahel region in Africa. They were some 1.6 million children who were severely or moderately malnourished, and another 1 million were at risk of malnutrition. I immediately accepted the two-week assignment, with a goal of supporting UNICEF’s campaign to raise money from donors to help the Nigerien people.

The media were initially hesitant to publish the feature because of fatigue – there were so many similar stories of the cycle of drought and famine in the region. Then, in September 2010, Jean-Francois Leroy (director of Visa Pour L’Image photo festival) decided to screen the story and as a result, this particular photo went on to win the award at World Press Photo the following February. Somehow this image in particular seemed to capture the attention of people by offering something new, that they hadn’t seen before, leading them to read the caption and understand some of the detail and severity of the unfolding crisis.

The impact of the work was huge as UNICEF was then able to raise several million dollars in a few months to help the Nigerien people. I felt that I had fulfilled the main role of being a photojournalist; which is to bring important issues to the attention of the public.

I still recall being there on the ground in the exact moment when I took the picture and the scene was surreal, almost like in a Dali painting. The smell, the colours, the sky, all this meat hanging around, and I never thought about the fact that the first consequence of a famine crisis is the death of the animals followed then by human beings. I felt really moved and I felt compassion for all those villagers who were selling their animals for such little money, just to survive.”

Jonathan Torgovnik, EOS 5D Mk II

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

January 10, 2011

Jonathan Torgovnik / Getty Images Reportage

In 2010 Haiti suffered a catastrophic earthquake measuring 7.0Mw, which decimated the entire country, left hundreds of thousands of people dead or severely injured, and many homeless. This image by Jonathan Torgovnik was captured in the neighbourhood of Fort National, one of the most severely damaged places in Haiti during the earthquake, as part of an assignment for GEO magazine in Germany. The magazine, who also publish overseas editions in over 20 countries, wanted to show its global readership the extraordinarily poor conditions that people were still living in. Jonathan says:

“This image was taken in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, while I was on assignment for GEO magazine documenting the recovery efforts and rebuilding in Haiti, a year on from the devastating earthquake. I spent the day walking up the steep hills surrounding Port-au-Prince in densely populated neighbourhoods that were hit hard during the earthquake, meeting people and collecting stories of survivors. It was apparent that the rebuilding efforts were very slow and the people were struggling and trying to cope with what they had left.

I arrived at the top of a hill, and saw a group of young boys playing soccer on the roof of a destroyed house beneath me. I sat down on the side of the path and took this picture. It was one of those moments when everything comes together at once. The boys were focused on their game, the light was perfect, and the view of the densely built city was visible with its rolling hills until the ocean. For me this image tells the story of people’s resilience and represents strength in face of a city that went through devastation.”

Brent Stirton, EOS 5D Mk II

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

July 13, 2011

Brent Stirton / Getty Images Reportage

Permanently guarded by four armed sentries, here we see one of the last northern white rhinos in the world. Commissioned by National Geographic magazine, Brent captured this image as part of a wider investigation in to the use of animals in black market medicines. After publishing the work to their global readership, the story was republished in many other international titles including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, GEO magazine, Paris Match, Newsweek, VIEW magazine, the BBC, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and XL Semanal. The image secured further press and social media coverage thanks to an award win at World Press Photo in 2012. The emotive and engaging nature of this story, which highlighted the fragility of the rhino’s existence, meant it reached an audience of millions globally. Brent says:

“I made this image in 2011, just as the rhinoceros horn issue was first coming to the fore. I had been shooting a lot of corpses and some terrible images of suffering animals who had survived brutal dehorning by poachers and been left to die.

This was the first time I saw human compassion demonstrated towards the rhino and it blew me away to see these African men and the relationship they had together. I shot this in Kenya, at a place called Ol Pejeta, where they have three of the last six northern white rhinos in existence. This old boy is the last male of his species. Just imagine that, to be the last of something on this planet… that is truly to know loneliness.

We are entering a huge wave of extinction now, magnificent animals like this rhino will go the way of the dodo, all because mankind is too ignorant and too arrogant to understand that all things need to be in balance. There are still great people who dedicate their lives to wildlife and in this image you see what is possible between people and animals when mutual respect is the rule. This image went viral and it showed me that millions of people still care about the natural world. Time is of the essence now.”

Laurent Van der Stockt, EOS 5D Mk II

Jobar, Damascus, Syria

April 13, 2013 

Laurent Van der Stockt / Getty Images Reportage

Laurent Van der Stockt travelled to Syria on assignment for French newspaper Le Monde, not knowing that he would capture some of the most important images to come out of the conflict so far. This image shows rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army on the frontline of Jobar during a sarin attack by President Assad’s government forces. Once published, it received a huge amount of attention worldwide, especially through social networks. Other leading media outlets including The Sunday Times Magazine, l’Espresso and The Huffington Post also published the images, and they were later used, together with other supporting evidence, by world leaders to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad about his regime’s use of chemical weapons in this conflict. Laurent says:

“In April 2013, when this photo was taken, there wasn’t any independently verifiable information about the advances of the Syrian rebel forces in the suburbs of Damascus.

The aim of this body of work was to get to the Ghuta neighbourhood of the capital. After a long journey in from Lebanon, I was able to find the most advanced rebel positions. One day, whilst on the Djobar frontline, which was the closest to the city centre, shells containing sarin were dropped on us while I was interviewing a fighter. I instinctively turned my camera to this scene with these two men in gas masks, which I photographed whilst simultaneously recording video.

The publication by Le Monde newspaper in France of the investigation we undertook, the soil samples we were able to bring home, and the photos and footage I shot were enough to convince the French government to announce publicly that sarin was indeed being used by the Assad regime. The British government took the same decision a week later, and the US President stated it too in his official speech on the subject in the days following that.”

Dan Kitwood, EOS 5D Mk III

Kos, Greece

June 4, 2015

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

This image is from a broader body of work shot by Dan Kitwood and captures four Pakistani migrant men arriving on the beach of the Greek Island of Kos from Turkey. At the time, around 30,000 migrants had already entered Greece so far in 2015, with the country calling for more help from its European Union counterparts. Originally shot for the Getty Images News wire service, the work has been published internationally in many influential media outlets, including the likes of The Times, Al Jazeera, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, etc. Dan says:

“I was assigned to Kos to cover the migrant story on May 29, 2015. The Greek island had become the focus of international attention as an increasingly steady stream of migrants continued to wash up on its shores.

Whole families from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and many migrant workers from Bangladesh were beginning to overwhelm the limited resources on the island.

It was difficult to comprehend what would make a family leave their homeland, to embark on a journey knowing of the dangers that lie ahead. To lead their husband, their wife, their children into uncertainty, knowing that in the unlikely event you make it to your destination, you will probably never return.

On the sixth morning as I stood on the shore looking for small dinghy’s arriving with their precious cargo, I saw this boat full of Pakistani men. They had set off on their journey some hours earlier under the cover of darkness from the Turkish coastline in rough sea. Their sense of joy at landing safely on European shores was palpable. What lay ahead for those men, and whether it would fulfil the promise they hoped for I most likely will never know.”

For your chance to win an EOS 5D Mark III of your very own, as well as a range of limited edition anniversary prizes, check out our Iconic Images competition!