19 August is celebrated as World Photography Day to celebrate the art, craft, science, and history of photography. Millions of photos have captured billions of stories that narrate the various plots of human existence. While many have been celebrating iconic photos that have been acknowledged and praised globally, today, we look at some of the less-known photos that tell extraordinary stories that highlight the brighter and warmer side of humanity.
1. The decision of a Chinese 11-year-old boy to donate his organs so that others can live and “do great things” was solemn and heart-touching. The boy was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. Doctors paid respects to his mortal remains right after the operation when the boy succumbed to his injuries. The mother of the boy is pictured crying at the back.
2. The girl in this photo was about to have heart surgery, and was visibly scared and weeping. Her doctor sat with her and watched cartoons to calm her.
3. In 2011, a car crashed with a motorcycle, trapping the motorcyclist underneath the car. The car caught on fire immediately. A bunch of people rushed in to lift the flaming car off the motorcyclist. The teamwork and selflessness of these people risking their own lives for this stranger are moving.
4. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, a lot of people were trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings. Here, a Japanese rescue worker poses with an unharmed baby that he rescued from the rubble. The smile on his face is very endearing.
5. Twenty years ago, John Unger adopted a rescue Shepherd mix, Schoep, with his then-fiancee. Schoep had been abused as a puppy and it took him several months before he could trust Unger. Schoep was also suffering from arthritis, and John knew that arthritis patients respond well to water treatments. So, John started taking his beloved dog to Lake Superior, to relax the dog and put him to sleep while he cradled him. The photo on photographer Hannah’s Stonehouse Photography Facebook page had nearly 300,000 likes and 32,000 comments in the first few days, showing how the world acknowledged John’s unconditional love for his dog.
6. During the Zheng-Kai marathon in 2010, Kenyan marathon star Jackqueline Nyetipei Kiplomo helped an armless Chinese athlete drink water. She slowed down for her counterpart who was struggling to open a bottle of water at one of the drink stops. Kiplomo was already leading the race at the 10-meter mark, but decided to stop for the Chinese athlete who was severely dehydrated.
7. A security guard at Magic Kingdom does more than ensure the protection of the guests and the place. He meets the children dressed as princesses and asks for their autographs, thus adding to their joy. As per a Tumblr post, the security guard has a notebook with autographs of several such “princesses” whose day he has brightened with this small and lovely gesture.
8. Inter-religious harmony has never failed to touch our hearts. And the two photos below are a testimony to how religious harmony can prevent hatred from seeping into our minds, hearts, and homes.
In 2011, a church bombing on new year’s day disrupted the peace and harmony in Alexandria, Egypt, sparking religious tensions. While the people of Alexandria together protested against the regime, the Muslims were targeted for the church bombing. In this photo, as the Muslims offer namaz at a protest site, a human chain formed by Christians surrounds the Muslims to protect them from violent citizens and officials.
Two years later, following the Peshawar church bombing which killed more than a hundred people, religious tensions grappled the region. In this photo, we see Muslims forming a human chain outside a church to protect the Christians during a Sunday mass.
While these are only a handful photos of the billions that exist in the online and offline space, we believe that photographers across the world — both experts and amateurs — continue capturing the essence of humanity.