Yesterday I was discussing a project with Rajshree ji when, in the flow of conversation, a question came up about the most famous photographs in the world. I could immediately count a number of such photographs. These photographs are not tweaked ones and usually become the face of a particular incident in the history of mankind. They might not be the most beautiful ones but surely they are among the most recognized lot.
So, I decided to bring you a series of these photographs. This would interrupt my usual writing on my website but I am sure this series will be of much interest to you.
The photograph that I have chosen to begin the series with is called the Tank Man. It is also equally well known as the Unknown Rebel. The photograph was shot by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press on 5th June 1989 near Tienanmen Square in Beijing. The photo shows a common man, holding a couple of shopping bags, standing in front of an advancing column of Type 59 tanks. The man is anonymous —no one know who he was. His appearance is that of just any usual office goer in the morning of Beijing. He deliberately came in front of the advancing column of tanks in order to demonstrate his protest against the removal of rebelling students from the Tiananmen Square.
A day earlier, i.e. on 5th June 1989, the Chinese military had removed the protesting students using violent force. The students were demanding establishment of democracy in China and wanted to do away with Communist government.
When the tanks tried to change their route and get past the anonymous man; he again stepped in front of the tanks. Driver of the leading tank tried many times to get past the rebel but the silent rebel repeatedly stepped in the way of tanks. Finally the tanks came to a complete halt. Then the anonymous man climbed on top the leading tank and had a brief conversation with the tank commander. No one knows what they talked about. Then the man alighted the tank and stood on the side of columns. But he again stepped in front of the tanks when the driver started the engine. At this point of time, two men, wearing blue dresses, came and took the anonymous man away.
There are many theories as to what happened with this man. Most people, however, agree that Unknown Rebel was executed by the government after his arrest. There are also unconfirmed reports that the name of this man was Wang Weilin.
This photograph became the symbol of the end of the Cold War and also that of the protest against communist government. This Unknown Rebel was counted as one of the 100 most important people of 20th century by the Times magazine in 1998.
How did you like this photographs and the story behind it? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring even more iconic photographs to you.