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Photography is a powerful tool. Images have an ability to connect with us on a deeper level than words, drawing out thoughts and emotions that can make us laugh, cry or even drive us to affect change in the world.

Photographs that changed the world

A picture paints a thousand words Michael Fleshman

© Michael Fleshman

When you think about pictures that have had a significant political or social impact, chances are that you’ll remember Jeff Widener’s shot of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in June 1989 when a brave figure stood in protest against four enormous tanks. 

TIME magazine reported that he “revived the world’s image of courage”.

Considered by many to be one of the most iconic images of the 20th century, the photograph instantly transcended linguistic and cultural barriers and opened the world’s eyes to the injustices that were occurring under China’s political regime. Even those who had never heard of Mao Zedong could immediately understand the significance of the “tank man”.

The picture not only spurred criticism from governments in Europe and America, but also inspired street protests in cities around the world.

Raising awareness can make a difference

Monrovia, Liberia - JUNE 13, 2012: ONE Vote 2012 Trip to Liberia.  Photo by Morgana Wingard

Photography that brings global issues to centre stage has helped persuade governments to support effective programmes and policies that are making a measurable difference in fighting extreme poverty and disease.

Heart-breaking images that demonstrate on-going suffering have been key to raising awareness of the issues facing third-world countries. Charitable organisations, such as grassroots advocacy group ONE, have used photographs and videos to create a visually striking call-to-action.

As a result, almost 4 million Africans now have access to life-saving AIDS medication, up from only 50,000 people in 2002. Malaria deaths have been cut in half in countries across Africa in less than 2 years and 46.5 million more children are now going to school.

The social media revolution

Traditional media has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last five years. The advent of smartphones has put the power to create and share news and images into the hands of the people.

Citizens, armed with cameras and social media apps, are now providing the first images and reactions of news as it happens.

This democratisation of the media has strengthened the voice of citizen activists.

Nokia Lumia: making your (visual) voice heard














The days of blurry, out-of-focus or poorly lit smartphone camera pictures are history thanks to Nokia Lumia 920 and 925 PureView technology and Optical Image Stabilisation, taking professional-quality photographs has never been easier.

Now you can capture powerful images and drive awareness for the causes you feel passionately about by sharing them on Facebook, Twitter and beyond. 

What changes do you want to see in the world? Let us know using the comments section below or share your photos with us on Facebook (www.facebook/Nokia) and Twitter.