Soweto uprising

Behind the camera: Sam Nzima
Where: On the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets in Orlando West, Soweto, City of Johannesburg, South Africa; near Phefeni High School
Photo Summary: A wounded Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while his sister, Antoinette, runs beside them
Picture Taken: June 16, 1976

Black students in parts of South Africa were required by law to be taught in a mix of Afrikaans, English and native languages. On June 16, 1976, thousands of Students fed up with having to learn, what they viewed as the language of their Apartheid oppressor, Afrikaans, spilled out onto the streets in protest. Police tried to block the protest and events spun out of control leading to the police opening fire on the unarmed students. One of the first to be shot was Hector Pieterson. As his sister screamed in horror another student Mbuyisa Makhubo picked him up and carried him to a nearby car. A moment which was captured when photographer Sam Nzima took this iconic shot. Pieterson was pronounced dead on arrival when he got to the hospital.

Soweto Uprising

According to the South African constitution, the two official languages of South Africa were English and Afrikaans, a form of Dutch used by white South Africans. In 1974 it was ordered that Black schools in Soweto would have to teach part of their subjects in Afrikaans because as described by the South African education minister

“A Black man may be trained to work on a farm or in a factory. He may work for an employer who is either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking and the man who has to give him instructions may be either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking. Why should we now start quarrelling about the medium of instruction among the Black people as well? … No, I have not consulted them and I am not going to consult them. I have consulted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa …” — Punt Janson, the Deputy Minister of Bantu Education

This caused incredible friction in the school system as the students would have preferred to learn English and their native tongues rather than the language of their Apartheid oppressors. Protests started to spring up Soweto area, and students formed committees who secretly planned to stage a mass walk out on June 16, 1976. Secretly planned the walkout surprised teachers and police alike. While marching the mass of young students came upon a police barricade. While organizers tried to move the protest in a different direction, stones were thrown. In response the police let their dogs attack the students. The students responded by stoning the dogs and then the police opened fire with live ammunition. The full number killed in the resulting riots is thought to be in the hundreds while over a thousand more were wounded, one of which was Hector Pieterson. Pieterson is often quoted as being the first killed but almost at the same time another child was shot and killed, Hastings Ndlovu.

Pieterson family

The Pieterson family was originally the named the Pitso family but their father changed their name to Pieterson in hopes of passing as colored, which in Apartheid South Africa allowed for more job opportunities. Born Zolile Hector Pitso, Hector Pieterson, wasn’t even supposed to be in the protest that day. At 13 years old and an elementary student the student planners didn’t want the young students to be involved. Yet he snuck out of school and followed his older sister, 16-year-old Antoinette Pieterson, in the march. After the police started shooting it was chaos. Antoinette remembers what happened next:

“I came out of hiding and saw Hector, and I called him to me. He was looking around as I called his name, trying to see who was calling him. I waved at him, he saw me and came over. I asked him what he was doing there … There was a shot, and I ran back to my hiding place. When I looked out I couldn’t see Hector; I waited, I was afraid; where was he?

“Then I saw a group of boys struggling. This gentleman came from nowhere, lifted a body, and I saw the front part of the shoe, which I recognized as Hector’s. This man started to run with the body, I ran alongside.” — Antoinette Sithole

After the picture spread worldwide the Pieterson family were harassed by the apartheid authorities. They wouldn’t even let the Pieterson’s body out of the government possession.

Hector died on the 16th of June 1976 but he was buried on the 3rd of July because the police didn’t allow us to bury him. They would give funny and stupid reasons … Anyway my grandmother knew Afrikaans very well, so it was easy for her to talk to them … “So you’ve killed my grandson, now you’re giving us rules, it’s better to kill us all.” That is how the day came for us to bury Hector. — Antoinette Sithole

Antoinette was married off a year later, by her family, to offer her more protection but the marriage didn’t last. She remarried to Meshak Sithole and after Apartheid fell found a job at the Hector Pieterson museum giving tours around where her brother was famously killed.

Mbuyisa Makhubo

The boy who picked up Hector was 18-year old Mbuyisa Makhubo. Nzima captured on film Makhubo carrying the boy to Nazima’s car where Nazima and another journalist raced Hector to a clinic where he was pronounced dead. After the photo became famous Makhubo was harassed by Apartheid officials and he was forced to go into exile. First to Botswana, then spending time in Nigeria from which he wrote his mother a few letters. In one letter from Nigeria, he said he would go to Tanzania because he was very sick and the situation in Nigeria was deteriorating. The last letter his mother got was in 1978 after which he simply disappeared off the face of the earth.

Sam Nzima

Sam Nzima

Sam Nzima posing with his famous image

Journalist Sam Nzima started his photojournalism career travelling and taking pictures while he bused around South Africa. He sent his photo essay to the black newspaper, The World, who was impressed by his work and offered him a freelance position at their paper. In 1968 he was offered a full-time position and was working for The World in ’76. He arrived in Soweto early that morning in June 1976 to find students peacefully making signs that denounced the apartheid system. When the protests started to turn ugly and police opened fire Nzima took six pictures of Makhubo carrying Hector. Knowing he had important shots he hid the roll of film in his sock. He remembers that,

“So I quickly gave the film to our driver and told him to go straight to our office. By the afternoon the image had been transmitted worldwide.”

Later he was stopped by police and forced to open his camera and expose other photos he had taken of the protests. Later after multiple police threats and fearing for his life he fled to his hometown Lillydale, close to the Mozambican border. There he opened the Nzima Bottle Store even though he was offered multiple journalist jobs he turned them all down out of fear the Apartheid police would kill him. In 1998 after years of legal battles The Star newspaper, who had ended up with the copyright, gave him the rights to his image.

In 2011 he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, an award for those that excel in the arts, by the South African government.

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Subcomandante Marcos

Behind the camera: Frida Hartz
Where: Guadalupe Tepeyac, at the Selva (Rainforest) Lacandona, State of Chiapas, México
Photo Summary: Subcomandante Marcos on horse back with his iconic pipe
Picture Taken: May 1994

When the Zapatista uprising occurred in the ’90s its spokesman, media savvy, Subcomandante Marcos shot to prominence. In Mexico, he is viewed with as a celebrity, famous for his pipe and black face mask. This Marcos image became famous because of the Zapatista uprising but also by Western youth who latched onto the revolutionary spirit much the same way Che’s image became the symbol of the Cuban revolution. Frida Hartz took this image while covering a gathering of Left-wing leaders of the Ejército Zapatísta de Liberación Nacional (EZLN). She took this picture as the EZLN brass and soldiers were marching into camp.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Flag of the EZLN

Flag of the EZLN

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is the spokesperson for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). He is famous for his pipe and for always covering his face with a black mask. Even the Indian peasants who make up the support base of the Zapatista movement say they haven’t seen him unmasked. Marcos is known for his use of media and technology and many have called him the new wave of revolutionaries.

While Marcos denies it, the Mexican government believes Marcos to be Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente who was born June 19, 1957, in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Rafael graduated from Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City and then received a masters’ degree in philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), he then disappeared. His family says they have no idea what happened to him but the Mexican government says that he joined or founded the Zapatista movement. From 1992 through 2006 Marcos has been very busy putting his beliefs down on paper and has wrote more than 200 essays and stories while also publishing 21 books, including Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings.

Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Founded on November 17, 1983, The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is an armed revolutionary group based in one of the poorest states of Mexico, Chiapas. While they have some support in urban areas and around the world most of their base are the indigenous people of Mexico. The name Zapatista comes from the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who’s revolution inspired the EZLN.

The Zapatistas became a worldwide news story when on January 1, 1994, the day that the NAFTA agreement went into effect they seized control of five municipalities in Chiapas, Mexico. The Mexican army had a few clashes with the group but by January 12 of the same year the EZLN entered talks with the government and a unilateral ceasefire was declared that is still in place as of 2006. As a revolutionary group, they are very media savvy and utilize satellite telephones and the internet to garner support around the world. The movement wants the constitution to be changed to recognize the rights of the country’s indigenous Mexicans. In the wider scope of beliefs, commentators consider the Zapatistas as part of the wider alter-globalization, neo-socialist movements.


For reproduction rights of this image please leave a comment below requesting contact info and Famous Pictures will email you the email of Frida Hartz.

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Bill and Monica

Behind the camera: Dirck Halstead
Where: Fundraiser at the Washington D.C. Sheraton Hotel
Photo Summary: Bill Clinton embracing Monica Lewinsky
Picture Taken: Taken on Oct 23, 1996 published by TIME in their August 10 1998 issue

When the Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky story broke the news media used the same video clip, the one with Monica in a beret, endlessly repeating behind the talking heads. Hungry for more images of the two together media researchers scrambled through their archives to find another Monica and Bill needle in a photo haystack. That’s when, Time magazine photographer, Dirck Halstead entered the picture. He knew that he had seen Monica’s face and hired a researcher to pore over thousands of images until she found the image he remembered taking. Halstead had taken this picture at a 1996 fundraiser in Washington. When he showed it to TIME they sat on it for months waiting for Lewinsky story to become front page news. When Monica decided to go to the prosecutors and offer her testimony, the story was page one material and TIME made this image iconic by making it their cover shot.

Bill Monica Hug with Beret

The infamous beret shot that was overused by the 24 hour news cycle

The Scandal

In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton’s first term. While at the White House her and Bill Clinton, while not engaging in sexual intercourse, participated in various sex acts, including getting his salad tossed! Bill Clinton perhaps realizing the danger of such a relationship puts the relationship on ice and had Monica transferred to the Pentagon to a $32,700 job as the confidential assistant, with a top-secret clearance.

Around this time Monica was asked if she had an affair with the President by lawyers of the Paula Jones case, a sexual harassment case against the President. When Monica’s friend Linda Tripp found out Lewinsky lied to the Paula Jones people she gave secret recording that Tripp had made of Monica admitting the affair to Kenneth Star. Starr used Monica Lewinsky lying under oath as a way to impeach President Bill Clinton. During the infamous trial, he was eventually forced to admit the sexual affair but was acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice during the 21-day Senate trial.

Monica on the rope lines

As Bill and Monica’s relationship began to wane Bill would see less and less of Monica. Almost to the point of stalking Monica tried to keep the flame alive by showing up at various events to get face time with the President. Later talking about her behavior she would recall that “I’m an insecure person … and I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily … So I made an effort. I would go early and stand in the front (at rope lines) so I could see him.” This is how sharp-eyed researchers found the “Beret” clip of Bill hugging Monica on November 6, 1996, the day after Clinton was re-elected. That clip was used endlessly by the news media to the point that the President of CNN would later apologize. Rick Kaplan, who served as President of CNN (1997-2000) was a good friend of President Clinton and has been quoted as saying it was a “big mistake” for CNN to show its exclusive footage of, “The Hug”, “Clinton probably gave 79 other hugs on that line,” said Mr. Kaplan, noting that Al Gore “also gave God knows how many hugs–not that anyone would care.”

Taking the picture

Again at a Saxophone Club fundraiser at the Washington Sheraton Monica waited at the rope line in hopes of getting some physical contact with Bill. Dirck Halstead recounts what happened next:

The circumstances behind that photograph was that in the last days of the campaign in 1996, the President was making an appearance before what they called the Saxophone Club which were young democrats. And I–at the end of the speech he went down into the crowd to work the line. When that happens, and it happens every presidential event, the photographers who had been on the floor in front of the president are brought up on the stage that he’s just left. And so our position then is on the stage, looking down on the president as he walks through the crowd. And I–somewhere in the process that night … something triggered something and I– took a picture and didn’t think anything more about it.

The reporters raced to the White House archives to discover what Clinton said on that day; he said these dubious words, “I was tired when I walked in, but I’m not tired anymore. You’ve given me a lot of energy.”


After the scandal, it was hard for Monica to get any kind of work. She was able to publish a successful book and was paid around $1,000,000 from the rights for her famous Barbara Walters interview. At 70 million viewers it was the second highest watched news program in history (The first is Oprah’s prime-time interview with Michael Jackson) but most of that went to legal fees and high cost of living now that she was a celebrity. There was a failed Jenny Craig spokesman gig and for a while, she ran an Internet handbag store and had some success as a reality TV show star. Eventually, she couldn’t take the constant media pressure and moved to the UK, graduating with a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics in 2006. Anonymous Monica friends have been quoted as saying that, “no one will hire her and she can’t get a job because of Clinton.”

In late 2012 the press broke a story about an upcoming tell-all book where supposedly Monica was getting paid $12 million but as of June 2013, there hasn’t been any more news. When Barbara Walters talked about retiring in 2014 she said that she wanted to do one more interview with Monica “I wouldn’t mind if my last one was Monica Lewinsky… she hasn’t been seen and I think she is a good person. I wouldn’t mind doing an interview with her again.”

Dirck Halstead

It’s ironic to me that after covering presidents and wars and films that probably, in the short term at least, my legacy is going to be having taken the picture of Monica Lewinski hugging President Bill Clinton.

Dirck Halstead first got his start covering the Guatemalan revolution of 1954. While working for TIME (1972-2001) his pictures graced its cover 54 times. Halstead is a big pusher of picture ownership and cites this photo as the reason that all photographers should keep ownership of their photos. As he says:

TIME have first-time rights on the photos. Once they have gone through the take, and pulled a few selects for the TIME-LIFE picture collection, the take goes to my agent, GAMMA-LIAISON. They then comb the take a second time, and pull their selects. Eventually, the take comes back to me, and resides in my light-room until I sort through it again, then send everything to the University of Texas, which is where my archives reside. Because I am busy, I only get around to sending the pictures to Texas about every 18 months … That is why ownership of your photographs is SO important. The simple fact is that no organization has the “memory of the image” that the photographer who took it has. The people who want “work for hire” from photographers, also disassociate their greatest asset from the thing that they have to sell.

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