In a blog post to mark the sixth anniversary, I quoted photojournalist Shahidul Alam as saying: “The immediacy of an iconic image, its ability to engage with the viewer, its intimacy, the universality of its language, means it is at once a language of the masses, but also the key that can open doors. For both the gatekeepers and the public, the image has a visceral quality that is both raw and delicate. It can move people to laughter and to tears and can touch people at many levels. The iconic image lingers, long after the moment has gone. We are the witnesses of our times and the historians of our ages. We are the collective memories of our communities.”
Looking back six years later, which of the numerous images of the Asian Tsunami of 26 December 2004 have achieved that iconic status? It was one of the most widely photographed disasters of our time — but which handful of images do we remember now, more than 2,000 days later?
One image that lingers, for its frozen horror and tragedy, is this one taken by Reuters photojournalist Arko Datta in Tamil Nadu, southern India. It later won him the World Press Photo and other international awards.
For a mega-disaster that was distributed over a very large area along the Indian Ocean rim, covering a dozen countries in South and Southeast Asia, there must be more iconic images — either globally or nationally. What image/s do YOU remember the December 2004 Tsunami by?
It doesn’t matter if they the image was taken by a professional photographer (i.e. one who is paid to do that job) or a holiday maker or a local resident…as long as it was widely shared and has entered our collective consciousness. Please nominate your images with links, which we will display here.