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Iconic photographs

43 Of The Most Powerful Iconic Historical photographs

1. Albert einstein summer 1939 nassau point long island
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - September 1939
Location - Nassau Point Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935, USA
Picture Description - Pictured here in September 1939, Einstein relaxes on the beach near his Long Island summer home with friend and local department store owner David Rothman. After some initial confusion in the store resulting from Einstein’s thickly accented request for a pair of “sundahls”, which Rothman interpreted as “sundial”, the scientist was able to successfully purchase the white sandals on his feet for $1.35. He laughed off the episode, blaming “mine atrocious accent!”. The men remained close friends thereafter, later forming a neighborhood string quartet together.  The original black and white photograph.

2. West Germany Cold War
Reference -  https://www.wired.com
When - 1945-50
Location - West Germany
Picture Description - The tranquil life of Cold War West Germany, where insane teenagers in leotards prance about as anthropomorphic cats while lecherous drunkards lean against the pub wall and grope themselves. "17 year old Bianca Passarge of Hamburg dresses up as a cat, complete with furry tail and dances on wine bottles, June 1958. Her performance was based on a dream and she practiced for eight hours every day in order to perfect her dance." Via Vintage Photo.

3. Young Adolf Hitler celebrating the announcement of World War One
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - August 2, 1914
Location - Germany
Picture Description - The photo was taken by Munich photographer Heinrich Hoffmann at a rally in support of war against Russia in Munich’s Odeonsplatz on August 2, 1914. On the day before the election of the Reich president, the Illustrierter Beobachter published the August 1914 picture with Hitler for the first time, with a magnifying-glass-like enlargement of his face.

4. Filming the MGM Lion.
Reference - http://mashable.com
When - Jan. 28, 1929
Location - Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Picture Description - "Now that the talkies are making all the human stores sound their vowels and constants properly, Leo, the M.G.M. Lion has decided that he had better look to his laurels. Photo shows him before the mike with a cameraman and an operator of movietown."

5. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - August 28, 1963
Location - Washington D.C. Civil Rights
Picture Description - "I Have a Dream" is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement.

6. 1969 - Neil Armstrong right after he walked on the moon
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - July 1969
Location - Near Wapakoneta, Ohio, U.S.
Picture Description - Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also an aerospace engineer, naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor. Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War. After the war, he earned his bachelor's degree at Purdue University and served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, where he logged over 900 flights. He later completed graduate studies at the University of Southern California.

7. Pilot restarting a stalled Propeller
Reference - https://www.reddit.com
When - November 1946
Location - California
Picture Description - In November 1946 and it shows Merle Larson demonstrating a small air show stunt that he did. It appears that he is alone in the plane but there is another pilot (Gladys Davis) flying the plane from the back seat and he does have a rope tied around himself. Merle was a WWII B-24 pilot, flight instructor, inventor and builder of three unusual planes based at Buchanan Field, Concord, California.

8. A soldier shares some bananas with a goat. Battle of Saipan
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 15 June to 9 July 1944
Location - Saipan, Mariana Islands
Picture Description - The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June to 9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and the Army's 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.

9. An Illegal Picture Taken Atop the Pyramids
Reference - https://www.reddit.com

10. Annual Midnight Swearing in of Nazi Troops
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - 1938
Location -  Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany
Picture Description - The SS was different from the Wehrmacht in several respects. Perhaps the most obvious was its fanatical loyalty to Hitler and to Nazi racial and political values. SS officers and soldiers swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler, promising “absolute allegiance”; the SS motto was Unsere Ehre heist Treue. This the blood oath engraved on their dress daggers and on their uniform belt buckles.

11. Omayra Sánchez Garzón
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - August 29, 1972
Location - Armero, Tolima, Colombia
Picture Description - Omayra Sánchez Garzón (August 28, 1972 – November 16, 1985) was a Colombian girl killed in Armero, department of Tolima, by the 1985 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano when she was 13 years old. 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 23,000 people and destroying Armero and 13 other villages.

13. Circus hippo pulling a cart
Reference - https://plus.google.com
When - 1924
Location -
Picture Description - "Hippopotamuses love water, which is why the Greeks named them the 'river horse.' Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun. Hippos are graceful in water, good swimmers, and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes. However, they are often large enough to simply walk or stand on the lake floor, or lie in the shallows.

14. Construction of Eiffel Tower
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 1880
Location - Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Picture Description - The design of the Eiffel Tower was the product of Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers working for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, after discussion about a suitable centrepiece for the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle, a world's fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. Eiffel openly acknowledged that inspiration for a tower came from the Latting Observatory built in New York City in 1853

15. Elvis In The Army
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 1958
Location - United States of America
Picture Description - American singer Elvis Presley served in the United States Army between March 1958 and March 1960. At the time of his draft he was the most well-known name in the world of entertainment.

16. Georges Blind, A Member Of The French Resistance, Smiling At A German Firing Squad
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - November 1944
Location -  France
Picture Description - This was a mock execution attempting to get the resistance fighter, Georges Blind, to talk. It didn’t work. Georges did not divulge any information. It’s interesting how they’ve placed him at the corner of the building rather than against the stereotypical flat wall. It must make ricochet injuries to the firing squad members much less likely. Of course this was a mock execution, but most likely they used the same site for real executions.

17. Golden Gate bridge construction - 1937
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - April 19, 1937
Location - San Francisco, California and Marin County, California, U.S.
Picture Description - The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide (1.6 km) strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the American city of San Francisco, California – the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula – to Marin County, carrying both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States.

18. Hindenburg Disaster
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - May 6, 1937
Location - Naval Air Station Lakehurst, Manchester Township, New Jersey, U.S.
Picture Description - The Hindenburg disaster occurred on May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen), there were 35 fatalities (13 passengers and 22 crewmen). One worker on the ground was also killed, raising the final death toll to 36.

19. Hitler's Suicide Bunker
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 2 May 1945
Location -  Nazi Germany
Picture Description - Adolf Hitler was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. He killed himself by gunshot on 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin.[a][b][c] Eva Braun, his wife of one day, committed suicide with him by taking cyanide. In accordance with Hitler's prior instructions, that afternoon their remains were carried up the stairs through the bunker's emergency exit, doused in petrol, and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker

20. Hotel owner pouring acid in the pool while black people swim in it
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - June 11, 1964
Location - Augustine, Florida
Picture Description -This famous photograph by Horace Cort shows a group of white and black integrationists in the former Monson Motor Lodge swimming pool on June 18, 1964. The photo was connected to the St. Augustine Movement, named for the town in Florida where it took place. Lots of peaceful protests and demonstrations were responded to with violence, which lead to more and more complicated protests.

21. Afghan with green eyes
Reference - https://fr.wikipedia.org
When - 1972
Location - Afghanistan
Picture Description - Sharbat Gula, or Sharbat Bibi, also known as the "Afghan Girl" or "Afghan Green Eyed Woman", is an Afghan woman of the Pashtun ethnic group born in 1972.

22. The execution of a Vietcong rebel in Saigon
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 11 December 1930
Location - South Vietnam
Picture Description - 11 December 1930 – 14 July 1998) was South Vietnam's chief of National Police. Loan gained international attention when he executed handcuffed prisoner member who had killed the wife and six children of a South Vietnamese military officer. Lém was executed on 1 February 1968 in front of a cameraman for NBC, and Eddie Adams, an Associated Press photographer.

23. The kiss of Times Square
Reference - https://phototrend.fr
When - 15 August 1945
Location - Times Square, New York City
Picture Description - Originally from Prussia and having immigrated to the United States in 1935, Alfred Eisenstaedt worked for Life magazine since 1936 and covers the news with speed, efficiency and pragmatism. He looks above all for photos that go straight to the point and convey a distinct message and that's exactly what the composition of this picture shows: the duo of the nurse and the sailor is centered in the middle of the image, the position of the body embodies the stealthiness and exuberance of the moment, and the background, where passersby are observed smiling and watching the scene with amusement or astonishment, directs the gaze towards the central subject.

24. The priest Luis Maria Padilla helping a wounded soldier in Venezuela
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - June 4 1962
Location - Venezuela, South America
Picture Description - The photographer Hector Rondón Lovera, who had to lie flat to avoid getting shot, later said that he was unsure how he managed to take this picture

25. The unknown Tian'anmen rebel
Reference - http://www.pandoravox.com
When - June 5, 1989
Location - Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
Picture Description - A man, who will remain in history as the "unknown rebel", is trying to block the advance of a column of at least 17 tanks of the People's Liberation Army of China, during the protests of the Tian'anmen Square. He stands alone in the middle of the road when the tanks approach. The tanks stop in front of him and he seems to be waving them off. In response, the tank head tries to bypass the man but it is placed again in the path of the column. The scene is photographed and filmed by some Western journalists including Stuart Franklin of the Magnum Agency who was in the opposite hotel. She made one of the many newspapers and magazines at the time.

26. Little Girl With Her Doll Sitting In The Ruins Of Her Bombed Home
Reference - http://www.dailymail.co.uk
When - 1940
Location - London
Picture Description - Next month, it’s 70 years since the first German bombs of the Second World War fell on London. From 24 August 1940 Britain’s cities endured a long and terrible campaign of bombing that destroyed large parts of the country, killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless. In this exclusive extract from previously unpublished diaries, letters and memoirs, ordinary people describe what life was like during the Blitz.

27. Mother Hides Her Face In Shame After Putting Her Children Up For Sale
Reference - https://miepvonsydow.wordpress.com
When - August 4, 1948
Location - Chicago
Picture Description - This picture was taken August 4, 1948, and published in a Chicago newspaper. After the picture appeared in papers throughout the US, offers of jobs, homes and financial assistance poured in. The mother, Lucille Chalifoux, was shielding her eyes from the camera, not sobbing as I first thought, according to the newspaper reports from the time, but then how do we really know. She was 24, married to an unemployed man 16 years older, and pregnant with her fifth child in six years at the time of the photo.

28. Nagasaki After Atomic Bombing
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - August 9, 1945
Location - Nagasaki, Empire of Japan
Picture Description - During the final stage of World War II, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. The United States had dropped the bombs with the consent of the United Kingdom as outlined in the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed at least 129,000 people (most of whom were civilians) and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.

29. Niagara Falls The Freeze
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 1911-1912
Location - Border of Ontario, Canada, and New York, United States
Picture Description - Niagara Falls (/na?'ægr?/) is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and New York state. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. One of the earliest images showing a frozen Niagara Falls, in sepia tones, though skeptics have questioned its authenticity because its photographer is unknown.

30. Painter Of The Brooklyn Bridge
Reference - http://www.boweryboyshistory.com
When - September 22, 1914
Location - New York
Picture Description - The photograph above (officially called “Brooklyn Bridge showing painters on suspenders”) is perhaps the best-known image taken by Eugene de Salignac, a city employee who took municipal photography of most major New York structures during the early 20th century.

31. An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen
Reference - http://blogs.reuters.com
When - 2008
Location - Brazil
Picture Description - the advance of Amazonas state policemen who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs.

32. Setting a new world speed record
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - September 13, 1948
Location - Chicago, Illinois, United States
Picture Description - Roland "Rollie" Free (November 18, 1900 – October 11, 1984) was a motorcycle racer best known for breaking the American motorcycle land speed record in 1948 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. The picture of Free, prone and wearing a bathing suit, has been described as the most famous picture in motorcycling.

33. Seventeen-year-old Bianca Passarge dances on wine bottles in a cat costume
Reference - https://www.reddit.com
When - 1958
Location - Hamburg, Germany
Picture Description - Hamburg dresses up as a cat, complete with furry tail and dances on wine bottles.

34. Teddy Roosevelt Riding a Moose
Reference - https://blogs.harvard.edu
When - September 8, 1912
Location - NY,USA
Picture Description - In 1912, TR was campaigning as a promising third party presidential candidate for the newly created Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party. Political cartoons frequently used a moose to illustrate the party’s struggles and flaws, but perhaps none so creatively as a collage by the photography firm Underwood and Underwood, titled “The Race for the White House”

35. Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - September 1923.
Location - Washington, D.C
Picture Description - A ballistic vest or bullet-resistant vest, often called a bulletproof vest, is an item of personal armor that helps absorb the impact and reduce or stop penetration to the body from firearm-fired projectiles- and shrapnel from explosions, and is worn on the torso. Soft vests are made of many layers of woven or laminated fibers and can protect the wearer from small-caliber handgun and shotgun projectiles, and small fragments from explosives such as hand grenades.

36. The First Ever Underground Train Journey, Edgware Road Station,
Reference - https://findery.com
When - 24th May 1862
Location - London
Picture Description - 9 January 2013 marks 150 years since the opening of the now famous London Underground. But the first actual journey was the year before, on 24 May 1862, as captured here. The picture was brought in to the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show by Brenda Tubby when I was there running a photo dating and identification stand two years ago. It is shared with her kind permission. Her Great Great Grandfather worked on the London Underground, indeed I seem to recall she said that many of her family did, as engine drivers and cable layers. She believes he may be pictured here. Now there's a great piece of family history to have.

37. The Last American Public Execution
Reference - http://www.executedtoday.com
When - 1936
Location - United States
Picture Description - Thousands thronged Owensboro, Kentucky, for a glimpse of what would prove to be the last public hanging in the United States. The U.S. followed the trend of its onetime mother country, England, in moving the formerly iconic public hanging increasingly behind closed doors, but its federalist structure made that change uneven. In Kentucky itself at this time, the law displayed sedimentary layers of death penalty history.

38. The Last Known Photo Of The Titanic Above Water
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - April 12, 1912.
Location - New York
Picture Description - This photograph is the last known picture of RMS Titanic on the surface of the ocean. It was taken during her maiden voyage at Crosshaven, Ireland, just after the vessel departed Queenstown where it had stopped before heading westwards towards New York. Three days after this photo was taken 1,514 people would be dead and the Titanic would be on the bottom of the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

39. Three Men Run In The Marathon At The First Modern Olympic Games
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 1896
Location -
Picture Description - Burton Holmes' photograph entitled "1896: Three athletes in training for the marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens". The men's marathon event was a special race invented as part of the Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics programme. Michel Bréal originated the idea of a race from the city of Marathon to Athens, taking inspiration from the legend of Pheidippides. The first such marathon race was a Greek national competition that served as a qualifier for the Olympic marathon; the qualifier was won by Charilaos Vasilakos. The length of the marathon in 1896 was approximately 38–40 km.

40. Underwater Detonation of a Nuclear Bomb
Reference - https://petapixel.com
When - 1946
Location - United States
Picture Description - In in 1946, the United States conducted a series of nuclear weapon tests at Bikini Atoll in what’s known as Operation Crossroads. A total of two bombs were detonated to test the effects nuclear blasts had on naval warships. The second, named Baker, was the world’s first nuke to be detonated underwater. Due to the unique properties of underwater explosions, the Baker test produced a number of unique photographs that the world had never seen before.

41. Unknown soldier in Vietnam
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - June 18, 1965,
Location - South Vietnam
Picture Description - AP photojournalist Horst Faas took this iconic photo on June 18, 1965, during the Vietnam War with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam. The headband message “War is Hell” typified an acerbic attitude of many young American soldiers who were likely drafted and sent to the remote southeastern Asia jungles to engage in deadly and terrifying combat. A lot of the soldiers wrote graffiti on their helmets with inscriptions of their attitudes about where they were and why they were there.

42. Unpacking the Statue of Liberty
Reference - https://rarehistoricalphotos.com
When - June 17, 1885.
Location - New York, NY 10004, USA
Picture Description - The Statue of Liberty was completed in Paris in June 1884, presented to America by the people of France on July 4, 1884. The copper statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

43. Using a bear to treat back pain
Reference - https://en.wikipedia.org
When - 1946
Location - Romania
Picture Description - Groups of bear-handlers are known to have existed during the population's transit through the Byzantine Empire, as early as the 12th century, when they are mentioned in connection with the Athinganoi (Roma people) by Theodore Balsamon.  In later decades, they were probably among the people collectively referred to as "Egyptians".

44. Woman With A Gas-resistant Pram
Reference - http://www.dailymail.co.uk
When - 1938
Location - England
Picture Description - One 1938 gun which has been converted in a camera. Designed in New York in 1938, the Revolver Gun takes a picture when you pull the trigger. Another bizarre concept designed in the Netherlands in 1915 shows an inflatable boat with boots attached to the bottom, so passengers can use their legs as paddles.

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