Iconography: The Imagery That Sticks with Us

Last night over some grilled kebabs, the partners at Something Creative eventually began to talk about iconic images. Those photos, videos or moments that have stuck with us once we’ve seen them. It started with the image of the Afghan Girl. Everyone knows the photo: Steve McCurry’s image of the Afghan girl with the luminescent green eyes from the cover of National Geographic.

"Afghan Girl" - National Geographic, 1985

Image: © Steve McCurry

Just as memorable to us was the story of the second image of the girl from 2002. Seventeen years after the publication of the first image, Steve McCurry returned to Afghanistan to find the girl and photograph her again and find out how she had changed. McCurry found her in the mountains of Afghanistan. She hadn’t been photographed again since his last photo of her. He learned that her name was Sharbat Gula. She’s maybe 30 years-old in the second photo and it’s clear that life hasn’t been easy for the girl.

Sharbat Gula

Image: Steve McCurry © National Geographic Society

So this of course led to the inevitable discussion of what images have always stuck with us. From our childhood to now. What images have influenced, frightened and excited us. For some, it was the iconic imagery of war, while others the influence of political mass media and entertainment. Some are just silly and personal but the common thread is that each image has staked out a place in our memories and never moved. Will it always be there with us? Or will some other image push it out and take it’s spot in our minds?

Check out our slideshow above of just a few of the images from our memories.

Share links in the comments of images that mean something to you.