Ellen’s Oscar selfie, 9/11’s Falling Man, Iwo Jima flag-raising: Time picks 100 most influential photos ever

A single drop of milk. A newborn baby. The ravages of war and terrorism. The defiance of those who protest and the fear of those entrapped.

All are included in a multimedia project featuring Time magazine’s most influential images of all time, released Thursday through a new book, videos and a website.

Sept 11 Iconic Images

A person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11 , 2001. This iconic image is included in Time magazine’s most influential images of all time, released Thursday. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Civil War Photos

The list also features Matthew Brady’s 1864 portrait of Abraham Lincoln. (Matthew B. Brady/George Eastman House/Associated Press)

Many of the photos or frames from films are familiar, engrained in the collective conscious, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Falling Man, taken on 9/11 by Richard Drew of The Associated Press.

Others, and their stories, are little known, such as the tiny snap by California software engineer Philippe Kahn of his new baby, the first cell-phone picture, after he rigged a flip phone with a digital camera in 1997.

The magazine’s editors consulted historians and photo editors and curators around the world, while Time staff interviewed the photographers, picture subjects, friends and family to write essays on each image.

Britain Elton John Photography

American photographer Dorothea Lange’s famed Migrant Mother, dating from 1936, is seen on display in London earlier this month. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

Matthew Brady’s Abraham Lincoln, Dorothea Lange’s migrant mother, the flag raising at Iwo Jima by the AP’s Joe Rosenthal — also a Pulitzer Prize winner — and that famous kiss in Times Square on V-J Day, captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt, are among the 100 chosen.

Time-Most Influential Photos

Joe Rosenthal’s Feb. 1945 photo of U.S. Marines raising the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima is included in Time magazine’s most influential images of all time. (Joe Rosenthal/Associated Press)

So is Frame 313 of the amateur, 8-millimeter film shot by Abraham Zapruder of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Life magazine withheld that frame at the time, notorious in its absence for showing the bullet on impact with Kennedy’s head.

Some were chosen for their content, others for their innovation.

Obit-Times Square Kiss Woman

Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s image of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York’s Times Square on V-J Day, celebrating the end of the Second World War, remains a popular favourite. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

Harold Edgerton, for instance, while tinkering in his lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, laid the foundation for the modern electronic photo flash with his 1957 Milk Drop Coronet.

He froze the drop as it landed on a table using strobe lights with camera shutter motors to refine moments otherwise imperceptible to the human eye, according to the project’s book companion, 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time.

There is a NASA image of Earth from the far side of the moon, a fetus still in the sac, revealing what pre-birth development looks like. There’s also the famous, fuzzy Loch Ness Monster, from 1934, Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1979 Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter, in full sadomasochist regalia and the famous Oscars selfie initiated by Ellen DeGeneres in 2014. 

APTOPIX 86th Academy Awards - Audience

Ellen DeGeneres’s star-studded selfie, taken when she hosted the Oscars in 2014, was retweeted more than one million times in less than an hour and set a Twitter record. (Ellen DeGeneres/Associated Press)

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