“The eyes are the windows of the soul” – this quote has been attributed to countless different historical figures. In the first split-second that we observe someone, our gaze often snaps directly to their eyes – in an attempt to figure out who they are and what their intentions are. The eyes can often communicate truths about an individual and about their soul that cannot be fathomed by something as inadequate as human language.
Eyes of agony: – Omayra Sánchez (August 28, 1972 – November 16, 1985) was a 13-year-old girl killed in Armero, Colombia by the 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz. Volcanic debris mixed with ice to form massive lahars (volcanically induced mudslides, landslides, and debris flows), that rushed into the river valleys below the mountain, killing nearly 25,000 people and destroying Armero and 13 other villages. After a lahar demolished her home, Omayra became pinned beneath the debris of her house; she remained trapped in water for three days. Her plight was documented as she descended from calmness into agony. Her courage and dignity touched journalists and relief workers, who put great efforts into comforting her. After 60 hours of struggling, she died, likely due to exposure. Her death highlighted the failure of officials to respond promptly to the threat of the volcano and the efforts of volunteer rescue workers to reach and treat trapped victims despite a dearth of supplies and equipment.
Eyes of acceptance: – Picture from an Einsatzgruppen soldier’s personal album, labelled on the back as “Last Jew of Vinnitsa”, it shows a member of Einsatzgruppe D is just about to shoot a Jewish man kneeling before a filled mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1941. All 28,000 Jews from Vinnitsa and its surrounding areas were massacred at the time.
Eyes of a civilian: – Sharbat Gula was orphaned during the Soviet Union’s bombing of Afghanistan and sent to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. Her village was attacked by Soviet helicopter gunships sometime in the early 1980s. The Soviet strike killed her parents, forcing her, her siblings and grandmother to hike over the mountains to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in neighboring Pakistan.
Eyes of panic: – The 1989 Hillsborough disaster was an incident that occurred during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766 others. The incident has since been blamed primarily on the police. The incident remains the worst stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the world’s worst football disasters
Eyes of spite: – Elizabeth Ann Eckford made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The image of fifteen-year-old Eckford, walking alone through a screaming mob in front of Central High School, propelled the crisis into the nation’s living rooms and brought international attention to Little Rock (Pulaski County). You can almost taste the baseless anger on the faces of the women chasing her.
Eyes of envy: – Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at a 20th Century Fox party thrown in Sophia Loren’s honor April 12th, 1957.
Eyes of hatred: – Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels smiled at him until he learned that Eisenstaedt was Jewish – a moment Eisenstaedt captured in this photo. Suddenly, “he looked at me with hateful eyes and waited for me to wither,” the photographer recalled.
Eyes of shame: – A French woman has her head shaved by civilians as a penalty for having consorted with German troops. Taken just after WWII ended.
Eyes of resistance: – French Resistance member Georges Blind smiling in front of a German execution squad. October 1944. It was a mock execution intended to make him talk. Georges never did. He was forwarded to a concentration camp, where he was selected for termination on arrival, dying some time in late November 1944.
Eyes of the Rebel: – Ernesto “Che” Guevara, commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist
Eyes of Madness: – A Shell Shocked soldier in a trench during the Battle of Courcelette in mid-September 1916. Shell shock was the reaction of soldiers in World War I to the trauma of battle. It has been described as a reaction to the intensity of the bombardment and fighting that produced a helplessness appearing variously as panic, or flight, an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk. “Simply put, after even the most obedient soldier had enough shells rain down on him, without any means of fighting back, he often lost all self control.”
Eyes of Defeat: – Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity after the Battle of Stalingrad. The Germans were trapped and rapidly ran out of heating fuel and medical supplies, and thousands started to die of frostbite, malnutrition, and disease. It is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million.
Eyes of Fear: – A fifteen year old German soldier, Hans-Georg Henke, cries after being captured by the US 9th Army in Rechtenbach, Germany, on April 3, 1945. He was a member of the Luftwaffe anti-air squad (Flakhelfer) who burst into tears as his world crumbled around him. His father died 1938 and his mother in 1944. He joined the Luftwaffe to support himself.
Eyes of Trauma: – Injured danish soldier in Afghanistan. The writing on his forehead indicates that he had a tourniquet placed on him at 5 o’clock.
Eyes of Suffering: – Nguyen Thi Ly, 9, suffers from Agent Orange disabilities. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed some 12 million gallons of Agent Orange herbicide over Vietnam. This defoliant was used to immediately destroy crops, clear vegetation, and remove the dense forest that provided food and cover for Vietcong forces. At least 4.5 million Vietnamese, and 2.5 million American veterans, may have been exposed to the pesticide. Although the spraying ended 30 years ago, the dioxin from Agent Orange is still wreaking havoc on three generations of victims.
Eyes of Courage: – Bibi Aisha, 18. In a practice known as baad, Aisha’s father promised her to a Taliban fighter when she was 12 years old as compensation for a killing that a member of her family had committed. She was married at 14 and subjected to constant abuse. At 18, she fled the abuse but was caught by police, jailed, and returned to her family. Her father returned her to her in-laws. To take revenge on her escape, her father-in-law, husband, and three other family members took Aisha into the mountains, cut off her nose and her ears, and left her to die. Bibi was later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. Her mutilated face on the cover of Time magazine sparked controversy over the threat that looms over every Afghan woman.
Eyes of Deceptive: – Photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps around him. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their Kamikaze (Divine Wind) mission in Okinawa. Yukio Araki died at the age of 17 years and 2 months in a suicide attack on American ships near Okinawa on May 27, 1945. Almost all Army kamikaze pilots during the Okinawan campaign were between 17 and 22 (Muranaga 1989, 12). Not the kind image people imagine when they hear about the infamous fanatic kamikaze pilots.
Eyes of Insanity: – This man was handsome, charming and cultured, right until he raped and murdered young women. Ted Bundy proved that even the devil can be attractive. Bundy had unique techniques of luring his victims. He would drink alcohol before approaching potential victims, even in a crowd or in broad daylight, and gain their trust by faking an injury with his arm in a fake cast or a sling. He would at times act as a policeman or fire department personnel. After luring victims to his car, he would hit them on their head with a crowbar. He then raped and assaulted them sexually before strangling and mutilating them. This good looking maniac used to visit the corpses several times at the Taylor Mountain body dump site, apply makeup to them, and sleep with them till they putrefied. He was executed in 1989 after confessing to 40 murders.
Eyes of Haunting: – Closeup of the haunting stare of an emaciated American war prisoner as he lies on cot after his liberation from German prison camp by Allied forces. Taken in Limburg, Germany, 1945.
Eyes of Lost Innocence: – The photo shows Ahmed, the eight-year-old son of a Syrian rebel fighter, smoking and standing guard with an AK-47 outside a barricade in Aleppo. He is one of the youngest fighters to be swept into his country’s civil war and something in his blank expression seems to hint at horrors that no child of his age should ever have to witness.
Eyes of Innocence: – The picture is called The Boy with the Sapphire Eyes. As soon as photographer Vanessa Bristow posted it she was flooded with accusations of photoshop. She responded by posting other pictures of the boy as it is in fact not altered. The blue eyes and dark skin probably represents Ocular Albinism or Nettleship-Falls albinism, or Juvenile uveitis. Both conditions cause the pigment of the iris to be less dense.
Eyes of Hell: – This is a photo from the German two-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Horst Faas. The soldier in the photo is unknown but he is with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phuc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam. June 18, 1965.