Taken exactly 75 years ago at the end of World War II, Yevgeny Khaldei’s emblematic photograph is still one of the most famous portrayals of the Nazi regime’s defeat. Without a doubt it depicts a precarious endeavour; yet Khaldei’s description reveals that capturing this moment was far from incidental: “It was early morning when I entered the Reichstag. A young soldier approached me. I was carrying a red flag. We found a long pole, and I spent quite some time looking for possible compositions. I wanted to get a section of Berlin into the frame. In the end I shot the entire film – 36 pictures.” Khaldei also went on to enhance the picture in the darkroom – adding plumes of smoke and removing a wristwatch from the arm of a soldier who was originally depicted wearing two.


The image is part of the ’36 of 100’ exhibition at the Leitz Park in Wetzlar, Germany – a collection of 36 iconic images that are today renowned around the world.

Camera: Leica III