In today’s society, the majority of the World have access to some sort of camera, mainly on their mobile phones. This was not the case in the past, and magnificent images were rarely taken. We have gathered 80 of what we deem to be, some of the rarest and amazing photographs that went down in history.
The Flag rising on Iwo Jima in 1945
Joe Rosenthal took this iconic picture when the American soldiers had taken the land at Mount Suribachi, in Japan. The Americans needed this land to use as an airbase but it did not come easily. In fact nearly 7,000 American soldiers were killed in February of 1945 whilst fighting for this piece of land along with over 20,000 Japanese soldiers. Once the soldiers had taken control at Iwo Jima, the commander in chief ordered for the soldiers to get a bigger flag to stick into the ground in order to intimidate the Japanese and to encourage the American troops.
Audrey Hepburn Grocery Shopping Accompanied by her Pet Deer in 1958
It could be argued that this is one of the most iconic celebrity images of all time. Audrey Hepburn named her pet fawn “Pippa” or “Ip” for short and is pictured here in Gelson’s Supermarket in Beverly Hills. She was paired up with Pippa for an upcoming movie and lived with the fawn for weeks beforehand to allow them the chance to properly bond.
Three Men Running a Marathon During First Modern Olympic Games in 1896
This image depicts the first modern Olympic games since the Olympics had been banned in Athens 1,500 years previous to this by Roman Emperor Theodosius. At the opening ceremony the 280 athletes from 13 different countries were welcomed to a roaring crowd of 60,000 spectators. There was 43 events at this Olympics including wrestling, track and field and tennis amongst an array of other events.
Bill and Hilary Clinton at University in 1973
When Hilary went to visit Bill in his home town of Arkansas, she visited the University at which Bill taught, and the faculty were so impressed with her that they offered her a job on the spot. This was in 1973 and two years later the pair married in 1975. Although they were not much older than the students they were teaching, both professors were said to have excelled in their roles and were excellent at their jobs. Hilary taught criminal law whilst Bill taught constitutional law.
Steve Jobs Pictured with Bill Gates in 1991
This very rare image of two geniuses and competitors sat side by side was taken for the front cover of Fortune magazine in 1991. It was taken in the home of Steve Jobs in California. One of the most noticeable things to that people take away from this image is the fact that Steve is wearing no socks. Although the two geniuses may be very alike in the entrepreneurial ways, their dress sense was very different. Steve Jobs was the genius mind behind Apple and Bill Gates is the creator of Microsoft.
Migrant Mother in 1936
This image was taken by photographer Dorothy Lange during the Great Depression. She stumbled upon a camp in Hoboken where she searched through the crowds of starving workers until she found the lady in this image, Frances Owens. She took 6 images of Frances with her children, and you can really see from this image how a picture speaks a thousand words. You can see from her face the stress and worry that she faced. Dorothy Lange informed the authorities of the starving workers in the camp and they sent 20,000 pounds of food to them.
The Loch Ness Monster in 1934
This picture of the mythical “loch Ness Monster” was taken by a British doctor in 1934 named Robert Wilson. This image was taken after another photographer had taken a picture of what was supposed to be the monster, but turned out to be a hoax. There is still a lot of debate over this image as a lot of people deny the possibility that such a monster exists without any real physical proof.
Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel in 1946
This iconic image was taken by journalist Margaret Bourke-White of Mohandas Ghandi at the time he was being held prisoner by the British at Yeravda prison in India. This was not an easy photo to take because Ghandi only agreed for the journalist to take this image if she could learn the craft of creating her own thread from a spinning wheel, beforehand. Ghandi encouraged all of his countrymen to make their own thread so that they did not have to purchase British goods.
Winston Churchill in 1941
This portrait of Winston Churchill was taken by a Canadian photographer named Your Karsh during his visit to Canada to thank the Canadians for their help. The look on Churchill’s face is due to the fact that he only let the Canadian photographer take one picture of him, but as the photographer set up the camera, the Prime Minister lit up a cigar, which the photographer plucked from the PM’s mouth to take the photo. As the photo clearly shows, the Prime Minister was not too happy about this. However the look on his face adds to the value of this image.
Invasion of Prague in 1968
The photographer of this image Josef Koudelka happened to be at the right place at the right time. The image shows the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia where Dubcek’s government feared there would be a similar uprising to the one in Hungary 12 years earlier. As the tanks rolled into the country, local citizens put up a fight. They used everything that they could to prevent the take over and slow it down. They removed street signs in order to confuse the soldiers along with creating barriers where they could. After Josef took this picture he soon fled the country.
Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston
This is one of the most iconic sporting photographs of all time. It was taken by Neil Leifer in 1965 after Muhammad Ali knocked Sonny Liston out in the first round only 1 minute and 44 seconds into the match. In the photo we can see Ali standing over his opponent and apparently could be heard shouting to him “Get up and fight, sucker!”
Lunch A top A Skyscraper in 1932
The photographer of this image remains unknown to this day but it could be between Thomas Kelly, Charles C. Ebbets and William Leftwich. This iconic image shows 11 men casually taking their lunch break 840 feet above Manhattan, eating and smoking. The image was used as part of a promotional campaign that was being run at the time to promote the huge skyscraper.
The Crying Frenchman in 1940
This image shows a grief stricken Frenchman that was crying in the street once France had been overthrown by the German Army in 1940. With France being considered to house one of the most powerful armies in Europe, their defeat was very unexpected and people struggled to come to terms with what had happened.
The Class Divide in Pre – War Britain in 1937
This iconic British image named “Toffs and Toughs” was taken in 1937 by photographer Jimmy Sime. The image was taken outside of the Eton vs Harrow cricket match. The two boys in the top hats and waistcoats attended Harrow School and are seen to be wearing the school uniform whilst the other 3 boys attended a local Church run school and they were wearing the normal plain clothing of young boys at this time. The three boys attended the dentist that morning and instead of returning to school, decided to skip the rest of the day and hang around the outside of the cricket match as this was a money making opportunity for any young person willing to work.
The Kiss in 1979
This image depicts a fraternal kiss between the Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker. It was taken by photographer Regis Bossu during a party for the 30th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic of East Germany. The photograph was widely used around the World and shows a fraternal kiss that was practised for years, more often on the cheeks of the people kissing but in some cases on the lips.
Marina Ginesta on top of the Hotel Colon in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War in 1936
In this photo you can see Marina Ginesta on top of the Hotel Colon during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and she is armed with a rifle. She was actually a reporter and a translator at the time but was quite militant. She was a member of the Socialist Youth but quickly began to withdraw herself from the route the Stalinists were taking and was intrigued by other groups such as Anti-Stalinist group P.O.U.M. Marina was unaware of this photo until 2006 even though it had been widely circulated since the civil war.
Jessie Owens Salutes During Olympic Presentation in Nazi Germany in 1936
Jessie Owens competed for the USA in the Olympics which were held in Nazi Germany in 1936. He won 4 gold medals in total and actually received a letter fo congratulations from Hitler. Hitler had made a point during the games to only shake hands with German winners and was then advised to shake hands with every winner or none at all, he opted to skip the rest of the medal ceremonies as to not shake hands with anyone. The Olympics were in Hitler’s eyes, his opportunity to show the World how amazing Nazi Germany was under his control.
The Night They Ended Prohibition in 1933
This image depicts the joy that swept across the United States of America after the 18th amendment was repealed in 1933 which ended prohibition. Prohibition was introduced as a means to prevent crime, however it had quite the opposite effect. Once it was introduced, crime and illegal activity increased tenfold. This included home brewing, smuggling and organised crime.
The Babe Bows Out in 1948
This image depicts one of Babe Ruth’s final moments in the Yankee Stadium. The picture was taken by Nat Fein and it was a very iconic moment for baseball fans everywhere. Babe Ruth was named as one of the greatest players of all time and he had been out of the game for many years due to suffering from cancer, it was terminal. In the silver anniversary of the stadium he made one final appearance and retired his number 3 jersey.
The Critic in 1943
This iconic image was taken during the Great Depression that swept across the United States of America in 1943. It was taken by photographer Arthur Fellig who wanted to show the unfairness in class difference, that even though some people did not have enough money to feed or cloth themselves, not everyone was affected. He wanted to show the difference in class by picturing wealthy ladies next to a lady in poverty. It is said that the image was staged by the photographer.
Country Doctor is 1948
This image is unlike the other images in this series. The photographer, W. Eugene Smith, took interesting photos of different subjects that he studied. This picture portrays a country doctor, Dr. Ernest Ceriani, who attended patients in and around the Rocky Mountains. The doctor walked from house to house tending to infants, developing his own X-rays and treating a man for a heart attack. The meaning behind the photographers images was to see life from the subjects perspective and to allow the whole World to see it from this perspective too.
Leap into Freedom in 1961
This image was captured by a photographer named Peter Leibing. It shows the iconic moment when a German soldier leaped over the barbed wire from the “east Germany” quarter to West Berlin. The government had split Berlin into 4 zones and separated them with barbed wire. The photographer who took the picture had been advised a few days prior that there was going to be a breach. The 19 year old soldier who jumped the barricade was named Hans Conrad Schumann. This made Schumann the symbol for freedom. Unfortunately this was a cross that the soldier could not bare and it led to his untimely death in 1998 when he committed suicide.
Birmingham Alabama in 1963
This image was captured by the son of a Baptist preacher names Charles Moore. It shows a very real look into the clashes of black protestors and the segregation that they faced, so casually on a daily basis. It was a wake up call to politicians once this image was released into the public eye, that they needed to take more action. Only a year later in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed.
The Statue of Liberty Being Built in 1885
This image shows the final stages of the Statue of Liberty being in built in Paris, France in 1885. The statue was given to the United States of America as a gift from the French people. The bronze statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel.
Bob Marley on the Beach With Cindy Breakspeare in 1976
This iconic image was taken in 1976 and shows the King of Reggae, Bob Marley with Cindy Breakspeare, the mother of his child Damien Marley. Cindy Breakspeare was originally from Canada but moved to Jamaica at the age of 2. She became famous after she took the crown for Miss World in 1976. Bob Market died only 2 years after his son Damien was born, who is also a very famous musician today.
The Opening Ceremony of Woodstock in 1969
Woodstock, one of the most famous festivals Worldwide, was originally created by 4 promoters so that they could raise enough money to start a recording studio. Although the 4 promoters had very little experience between them, they caught the attention of some major artists of the time including Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix, making Woodstock an event not to be missed. They had obstacles in their way when the nearby town of Wallkill denied permission for the festival to take place. Luckily for the promoters a farmer from Bethel, allowed them to hold the festival on his 600 acre farm. When the festival opened 400,000 people flooded the farm forcing the promoters to make the event free as those without tickets could access the event without any issues just by walking through the fields. This image shows the opening ceremony in 1969.
Elvis Presley in the Army in 1958
Elvis Presley was a man of many phenomenal talents. Not only was he a fantastic musician, entertainer and actor, he was also a soldier with the American Army. He enrolled in 1958 and was active in duty until he was discharged in 1964. Throughout his time with the army he was deployed overseas to Germany.
The First Daredevil to Ride over Niagara Falls in a Barrel in 1901
This image shows the first daredevil that dared to ride over Niagara Falls in nothing more than a barrel. And contrary to popular belief, the first person to do this was a woman. Her name was Annie Edson and it was on her 63rd birthday that she completed the stunt. Although she had practised the stunt before on several occasions, people still believed that she would not make it and was making a huge mistake. Fortunately Annie did make it out alive with only a few scratches on her head.
Measuring Swimsuit’s in the 1920’s
Unlike today’s society, in the 1920’s ladies swimwear had to be of a certain length in order to avoid receiving a fine from the beach police who were on the look out for rule breakers. The fine was $10, which was an extortionate amount at the time. They either had to pay this or potentially face time in jail if their swimsuit was too short and did not cover enough of their legs.
Burning Cross on Martin Luther King Jr’s Front Lawn in 1960
This iconic image shows Martin Luther King Junior removing a burning cross that was placed on his front lawn by neighbours, with his young son stood beside him to witness the threat. His house prior to this had been bombed and he had received a number of death threats, so although this act may have terrified anyone else, Dr. King was used to this sort of behaviour. Knowing that the World was watching him as he removed the cross, he did not show any fear.
James Dean Posing in Coffin in 1955
This famous image of James Dean posing in the coffin in January 1955 was taken by photographer Dennis Stock. Dean decided to get into the coffin of his own accord to pose for the photo. Some people say that he sealed his death by tempting fate with this photo, as he died later the same year in a car crash. The picture was taken in Indiana, his birthplace.
The Last Known Photo of The Titanic Intact in 1912
This photo is said to have been taken by an Irish Priest named Francis Browne. It was the last photo taken of The Titanic on it’s maiden voyage, which would turn out to be its only voyage. This image was taken just after the ship departed Queenstown, three days before it collided with an iceberg that was hidden amongst the mist of a frosty night. When the ship sank, it took with it 1514 people.
Edgware Road Station, the first Ever Underground Train Journey in 1862
This image shows guests waiting on the platform at Edgware Road Station in London, England, ready to board the first ever underground train. This wasn’t just the first ever underground train in the England, but in the whole World. The station opened a year later in 1963 but the first journey happened in 1962.
Porsche Showing the Model of the Beetle to Hitler in the 1930’s
This image shows a very happy Hitler with Ferdinand Porsche, as they spoke about the design of the Beetle car. Adolf Hitler had specific designs for this car and Porsche was going to create them. He wanted to create a car that was for the people. He wanted it to be robust and durable whilst still being able to maintain a high speed.
NASA Scientists with their calculations board in 1961
This impressive image was taken by photographer J. R. Eyerman and was featured in LIFE magazine. It depicted a chalk board full of calculations that the NASA Scientists were working on. People believe that the equations on the chalk board were only written on for the picture as the equations are general ones rather than equations the Scientists would have been working on at the time. The Scientists in this photo were known as Computers. This name was given to people whose job was to solve mathematical equations, hence how the name Computer was then given to the electronic device which could do their job years later.
Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen During the Great Depression in 1931
Al Capone was an American gangster who became very rich during the prohibition era. He opened this soup kitchen in a bid to feed some of the starving unemployed American’s that suffered greatly during the Depression. Capone was almost seen to be a hero, nicknamed Robin Hood after he stole form the rich to give to the poor during prohibition, but in this instance not only did he feed the starving people, he even offered some of them jobs.
4 Children for Sale Sign
This very iconic photo was taken in Chicago in 1948 and it appeared in a newspaper in August 5th of that year. The photo depicts a very sad story where 4 children are sat on the steps of their family home with a “4 sale sign” beside them. This was not a joke. The mother in the photo hides her face in shame at what has happened. The Chalifoux family faced eviction from their family home after the father was left without a job. With no money to live or pay rent, the family decided to sell their children as they seen this to be the only way to move forward. The mother, Mrs Chalifoux was also pregnant at the time of this photo and within 2 years, all of the children had been sold to different families including the baby that was in her womb at the time of the photo.
“Hand of God” goal, 1986
In one of the most famous soccer games, perhaps of all time, Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored against England using his hand. The goal was named the “Hand of God” and the referee allowed it which helped Argentina to beat England in a 2-1 victory. This was a game not only about soccer, there was political overtones throughout the match. 4 years earlier the two countries had come face to face in a gruelling war to control the Falklands Islands, which ended in victory for the English people.
V.J Day celebrated with Solider Kiss
V.J Day stood for victory over Japan day, which occurred on the 14th of August in 1945. When the mayor announced that the Japanese had surrendered, American citizens took to times square to celebrate. This image depicts a U.S. Navy soldier kissing a lady in a white dress who is said to be a total stranger, in an immense display of happiness after the announcement was made.
Stalin’s disembodied head in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956
On the 23rd of October in 1956, the 25 metre tall statue of Stalin was destroyed in the Hungarian Uprising. The statue was originally built as a tribute to Stalin on his birthday and depicted him as a great leader and speaker. Next to the statue there were sculptures showing the Hungarian people bowing down to him which demonstrated his power as a leader. On the day the statue was demolished, over 200,000 Hungarians gathered at the statue in Budapest and announced 16 demands over the radio as they stood in solace with the Polish people who had just gained political reform. Included in the 16 demands was the demolishing of the statue. The revolutionaries destroyed the statue leaving only the boots in which they placed a Hungarian flag and chanted for Russia to go home.
Einstein sticking his tongue out in 1951
Photographer Arthur Sasse asked Einstein to smile for a photo on his 72nd birthday and instead of posing a smile, the famous scientist stuck out his tongue instead. At the time the image was debated by the editor and the chief editor as to wether or not it should be published, and it was agreed that it would be published. To date this is probably the most iconic photo that was taken of Einstein and the original image was sold in a auction for a record amount of $74,324.
Kennedy family attended JFK’s funeral and his son John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes the casket
This image shows the Kennedy family at the funeral of the late president, John F. Kennedy following his assignation. In the image we can see his widow, Jackie Kennedy, his brothers Senator Edward Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and most famously of all his two children Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. The saddest and most heart breaking part of this image is the late President’s son saluting the casket as it went by, a moment that was said to have broken hearts all over the World.
Jewish prisoners freed from death train in 1945
This iconic image was taken by Major Clarence L. Benjamin on Friday the 13th of April in 1945. It depicts the moment that the first few Jewish prisoners realised they were being liberated and freed from the death train. The train contained over 2500 Jewish people including men, women and children. It was en route from the Bergen-Belsen death camp and the people onboard would have not survived, only for the American patrol that found them. Some of the people died of starvation before food could reach the train but the survivors screamed in a joyous tone at the sight of the soldiers. They were almost skeleton like and had been crammed into the train cars with up to 40 people per car, so most of them had to stand the entire journey.