Top 10 people who became famous by photographs

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Updated on 11 May, 2012 at 6:56 am


I don’t know whether these photographs are a matter of intellectual property theft or intrusion of digital age in personal life. But I’m sure that faces depicted here on TopYaps are enough to make you realize that a pound of luck is worth a ton of pluck. They will always inspire the world with their thunderously awesome persona.

10. Russell Christoff:

A professional model from Northern California, Russell Christoff, approached Nestle in 1986 to participate in a photo shoot. He got $250 for this job and was promised to by Nestle for another $2,000, in condition his photo was used. Because of tough luck, this aspirational model was denied to get job and he moved on to search another one. It was 2002, when Russell discovered his own photo on a coffee jar of Nescafe, while shopping at a drug store.  From 1998 to 2003, his face was promoting the Taster’s Choice coffee jar, without his consent. Later, Russell sued the company for misappropriation of his identity and was paid $15.6 million by Nestle, as per the orders given by Los Angeles County Superior Court jury.

9. Antoinette Sithole:

It was June 16, 1976, when a crowd of black students, demonstrating against the apartheid government was targeted by the South African police with volume of brutality. In this heart-wrenching cum iconic image, a schoolgirl, Antoinete Sithole is running alongside a stranger who is holding her dying brother – Hector Pieterson. Her brother was shot by the local cops who died due to fatal injuries while he was being carried to a nearby clinic. This photo was enough to describe the lamentable condition of black race. The horrifying face of Sithole in this image was published across the world and is credited for changing the course of South African history. On June 16, 2002, Hector Pieterson Museum was established in Orlando West. Sithole is the guide of this museum and narrate travellers about the bloody confrontation with the South African police on June 16 which is now celebrated as the Youth Day.

8. Noam Galai:

An Israeli photographer, Noam Galai is better known for being the actual face behind the Stolen Scream. In 2006, Galai snapped a series of self portrait images and published them on Flickr for fun. Unbeknownst to Galai, his image of screaming face was used in multiples of instances including blogs, websites, t-shirts, magazines, books and more significantly as a poster, depicting civil agitation in numerous countries. The story of this images fueled a heated debate and very soon Noam Galai gained recognition as a celebrity.


7. Woodstock Couple:

This iconic photograph of two lovers embracing each other in a blanket is so far considered as one of the most powerful images of this century. The story of this snap dates back to 1969, when Nick and Bobbi Ercoline decided to check out the Woodstock weekend, a few towns away from their home. Without their knowledge, a photographer snapped their picture amid the crowd and debris. It was 1970, when this couple recognized their snap on the cover of Woodstock album as well as on the poster of Woodstock movie. This movie grabbed the Academy award for best documentary and earned over $200 million for its phenomenal beauty. Two years later, the couple got married and till the date they’ve shared a great deal of love and passion in their relationship. Currently, Nick is working for the local government whereas Bobbi is a nurse at an elementary school.

6. Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm:

This touching image of joy was taken on March 17, 1973, when Lt. Col. Stirm of US Air force returned to his motherland after spending more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Just after his flight landed on the Travis Air Force Base in California, his daughter Lorrie approached him with outstretched arms, with other family members behind her. In photographic arena, this image is better known as the “Burst of Joy,” which was snapped by Slava Veder, a photographer of the Associated Press. However, everyone celebrated this reunition but for Lt. Col. Stirm, this was an unfortunate one. During Stirm’s imprisonment, his wife, Loretta, started loving someone else and later she divorced him to marry her new boyfriend.

5. Geraldine Boyle:

A 17 year old fresh-faced girl was snapped without her noticing in 1942, while working as a metal presser in the American Broach & Machine Co. At that time, men were drafted to World War II whereas women were allocated the factory works, considered for male only. Later, in an expedition of American government to sketch some inspiring pieces of art, J. Howard Miller, sketched her photo with super-heroine sized muscles. Her poster was named – Rosie the Riveter which is so far considered as one of the most powerful images in American history, appreciating feminism. She realized her fame in 1984, after coming across an article in a magazine where her original photo was attached with this poster. This common lady of uncommon fan club is credited for being a monolithic source of inspiration to countless women.

4. Paul Cole:

Indeed, this astonishing photograph of The Beatles is adored by almost every music lover but why it’s related to Paul Cole? Who is he? Okay, intensify your visibility and you’ll discover a man standing between John Lennon and Ringo Starr, adjacent to a black police van. Months after this incident, Cole’s wife discovered this photo on the cover of Abbey Road album while practising the love song “Something” of George Harrison. Rest is a historical fable.

3. Kim Phuc:

Winner of Pulitzer Prize, this haunting photo of Vietnam war was taken on June 8, 1972, when residents of a village of southeastern Vietnam were fleeing from the capture of North Vietnamese forces. The 9 year old naked girl in this image is Kim Phuc who tore down her burning clothes in an attempt to save herself from horrendous fire. In the run to save life, screaming Kim was accompanied by her siblings. Initially, this famous photograph of Nick Ut was disapproved for publishing as it expressed head-on nudity but later it was sanctioned by the main stream media as its value overruled any reservations about nudeness. In 1997, she launched Kim Phuc Foundation to provide psychological and medical help to child victims of war. In the same year, she was elected a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

2. Florence Owens Thompson:

This unforgettable photograph of the Great Depression was snapped by Dorothea Lange, an American photojournalist, in March, 1936. This image, better known as the “Migrant Mother,” this photograph constitutes Florence Owens Thompson with buried faces of her children on shoulder. Florence was snapped inside a pea-picker’s camp while waiting for her husband and two sons to come. According to a note of Lange – “I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food.” This shocking photograph ran the newspapers almost instantly and in matter of days, federal government gave her camp about 20,000 pounds of food. It is a matter of fact that by the time food arrived, she was gone away with her family. For 42 years, Florence lived a life which was far away from the glamor of media but in 1978, she was discovered by a reporter in an extreme mobile village. Eventually, this famous unknown lady blossomed to the image of a celebrity.


1. Sharbat Gula:

The direct heart-rending gaze which fascinated the entire media world, belongs to Sharbat Gula, an Afghan girl. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1985, Gula moved to a refugee camp in Pakistan where she was snapped by Steve McCurry, an American photojournalist. She was 12. This image came in the limelight of mainstream media when this image was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine, in its June, 1985, edition. Credited as the “Afghan Mona Lisa,” Gula was discovered in 2002, by a team of national Geographic, in a remote area of Afghanistan. Today, she is a symbolism of feminism in Afghanistan.

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