Photographs are a permanent, magical-seeming glimpse into a fleeting moment. They offer a peek into another time and place through the perspective of another person’s eyes. Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves glancing into a moment of pure misfortune, one that the subjects of a simple photograph would never see coming before it was too late.
This is a photo that a loving father took of his wife and 4-year-old daughter as they headed towards a vacation. All smiles in the picture, this family has no idea that the MH17 plane they’re on is about to be shot down over Ukraine, killing everyone aboard. Investigators believe that passengers remained alive and conscious during the 3-to-4-minute plummet from 33,0feet.
In 2008, a salesman named Travis Alexander was killed by his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias. This photo of him was taken in the shower, at 5:29 p.m. on the day of his death. His lifeless body was later discovered on the bathroom floor in that same room after he had been stabbed and shot. It is thought that only moments after this photo he was killed.
Devastation struck Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, when a massive tsunami pummeled the coastline. 230,000 people perished in the disaster. 31-year-old Deborah Garlick was on vacation in Thailand at the time and was killed by the tsunami. Deborah’s parents found this photo, undeveloped, on her camera after they retrieved her belongings.
These two happy young women, Collette Moreno (left) and Ashley Theobald (right), were on their way to Collette’s bachelorette party in Missouri when they snapped this car selfie. The women were in a head-on collision just moments later, and Collette didn’t survive. She suffered fatal injuries from the crash and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
This is fifteen-year-old Gary Slok, alongside his mother as they departed for a vacation together. A mere three hours after this beaming selfie, the plane, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, they were traveling on was shot down by a missile. All 296 passengers and crew members perished, including Gary and his mother.