Historical photos have the ability to transport you to another place in time and provide a glimpse into the past and the people who lived there. While these moments might not have made it into your history books, these fascinating photos show essential moments that shaped the world as we know it today. From the first selfie taken in space to the discovery of the Mona Lisa after World War II, the stories behind these lesser-known photos shouldn't go without recognition.
Ryan Reynolds Fly Fishing In 1983
This may seem like a random ordinary photo, but don't be fooled. This little boy is actually actor Ryan Renolds, and this image gives us an inside look at what one of Hollywood's biggest stars was up to as a kid. Back then, he was just like any typical child, fishing with his family. He even explained that in this photo, he thought fly fishing meant pulling a fish out of the fly of your pants.
Although he has a net worth of hundreds of millions today, he started as a kid with a normal childhood. This serves as a reminder that you never know someone's past and where they may end up.
Ancient Huichol Indian Traditions Insisted Men Feel Childbirth Pain
You don't often sit and think about what childbirth was like hundreds or even thousands of years ago, but there were some unique ways of handling it. The Huichol Indians are indigenous people native to Central Mexico, and images like these indicate some intense ancient traditions. This photo shows the practice of a father sitting above his wife while she is in labor. Whenever she felt contractions, she would tug on a rope tied around his privates.
This was intended to bond the woman and man, so they both endure pain and joy during childbirth. Who would've known?
Facial Prosthesis For A Wounded Soldier in 1916
It's no surprise that World War I was devastating and marked a tumultuous time in world history. But there are ways in which people were affected that are hardly talked about, one being facial prosthesis. Many men faced injuries so horrific that their faces were deformed. It was difficult for these people to renter society, haunting those who would look at them. So it only makes sense that photos of these men weren't readily shared; a side of history better kept hush.
However, facial prosthetics became revolutionary, allowing people to wear masks that looked like their real faces. It brought the soldiers some dignity and is truly something that will change the way you think about WWI.
Love Is in the Air Even in the 1900s
Many people think the LGBTQ community is something that formed in the latest century, a modern-day identity. However, this rarely-seen photo sheds light on the once-taboo topic. Even in the early 1900s, there were lesbian couples. Unfortunately, these relationships had to be kept secret because of the harsh judgment they could receive from the rest of society. Images like this help change people's perspective on what life was like hundreds of years ago
These aren't photos you would find in your history textbook in school. But it's a note-worthy moment demonstrating that people back then weren't actually that from today.
Simone Segouin, an 18 Year Old Resistance Fighter
This captivating image is of Simone Segouin, better known by her code name, Nicole Minet. She was only a teenager when she became involved in the French Resistance to fight the Nazi occupation of France. This noble young lady fearlessly rebelled and led fighters in various tactics to capture German troops. But most people would be surprised to learn that she was never caught! Simone was even promoted to lieutenant.
It's hard to believe this young, beautiful lady is just casually in shorts and sporting a giant gun. You'd like to think she's innocent, but she fought her way to free France.
David Isom Fearlessly Entered a Whites Only Pool
On a hot summer day in June of 1958, David Isom was just a young nineteen-year-old boy itching for a swim. There was a nearby public pool by him, so he decided to head over. Only there's one major problem with this plan; it was a white-only pool. Regardless, he walked right in and began using the pool. Why was this such a big deal? Due to segregation, it was against the law.
The facility's manager immediately closed down, drained the pool, and made everyone leave. It's a sad part of American history that shouldn't be forgotten. Photos like this show just how real and scary those times were.
Lena Baker Was the Only Woman to Recieve Capital Punishment In Georgia
Unfortunately, all too often, history is filled with tragedies, but it's time to reveal some truth about this event in particular. This photo shows Lena Baker, an African American maid who lived in Georgia, United States. If you've heard her name, you may think the state of Georgia executed her because she harmed her employer. But the hard truth is, she was attacked by him and managed to grab his weapon and defend herself.
Her self-defense plea was denied, and she was punished for murder. Sadly, the details would only be revealed much later, resulting in a posthumous pardon.
Nikola Tesla’s Hand X-Ray Taken by Himself
You might see this photograph and think, what's so important about this? Well, this photo is one-of-a-kind. In 1896, Nikola Tesla started playing around with radiation, experimented with technology, and designed a machine that could take x-rays. He took an x-ray of his own hand, which was groundbreaking for his time! Many have heard of the esteemed scientist, but not many have seen the actual x-ray he took himself, so this photo is quite moving.
It's one thing to hear about an event, but to see it with your own eyes can completely change your perspective on just about anything.
Special Effects on the Set of Batman in The 1960s
Today special effects in movies can be done in numerous ways, from animatronics and CGI to 3D animation. However, back when technology wasn't as advanced, things were very different. People had to get creative when making movies, and this is evident in the set of Batman. In this scene, the actors sit in front of a pre-recorded moving scene to make it appear as if they are moving, a common practice for the time.
These special effects might seem hilarious today, but in the 1960s, this was groundbreaking! And thanks to images like this, we can get a glimpse into what the film world was like in the past.
This Is How the FBI Kept Finger Print Files in the 40s
Take a wild guess at what's in this photo. Well, it would probably be extremely hard since the inner workings of the FBI isn't a commonly known thing. Most people had no idea that this was how the FBI kept fingerprint files! This 10,000-seat arena housed as many as 10 million fingerprint records during World War II. It's crazy to think that today this same building hosts ice rinks and concerts.
This is truly one of those moments in history that's hard to believe. It's astonishing to see for yourself just how big the FBI's operations were.
The Infamous Nuclear Testing at Bikini Atoll
This was definitely a moment in history that governments hoped would be kept under wrap. However, it's images like this that make sure people never forget. The infamous detonation of 23 nuclear weapons on the Marshall Islands, including in the air and underwater, forever left radiation levels so high it would never be safe to live there again. Hearing a story about this might be hard to believe, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
Once you see an astonishing image like this with your own eyes changes the way you think about this entire event.
Steel-Toed Shoes Were a Must to Handle Gold Bricks
What's so interesting about an image like this? Well, this is something they'd never show you in history class. A wild look at what the Federal Reserve Bank in New York in 1959 was like. Just to walk around and handle the gold, you had to wear steel-toed shoes. Why? If one of these heavy gold bricks slipped out of your hands, falling onto your foot, it could break a toe!
If you never saw a photo like this, you'd never know that steel-toed shoes even existed. Now when you think of a bank, it has a new meaning.
Albert Einstein Teaching At The United State’s First First Degree-Granting Historically Black University
Albert Einstein is a man known for many things, but this photo features a lesser-known moment in his life. He rarely accepted invitations to speak and give presentations, but this time was different. In 1946, he taught at Lincoln University, a historically Black university. While racism and segregation were still prevalent, it was a heavily criticized move. Yet, he defied the social stigma and taught anyway. A moment like this is almost hard to believe, but this image helps bring it to life.
A photograph like this can change the way you view history. It makes this moment feel less like a distant memory from the past and more like a remarkable and genuine moment.
The Patient That Survived a 23-Hour-Long Heart Transplant
A moment filled with intense emotions, achievement, and definitely not something to forget. This photo is of the man, the patient who survived a 23-hour-long heart transplant. He even outlived his heart surgeon and held up an even more impressive picture. It's the day of the operation; once it is completed, Dr. Religa sits exhausted and monitors the patient. You can see his assistant sleeping in the corner, blood and fluids on the floor—a powerful picture.
This iconic image lets you peer behind the scenes of this moment and change your perspective on historical events like this.
The Beatles Joking About the Women They Like
What musical group is more iconic than The Beatles? Of course, they're known for their music, maybe even their political beliefs or looks, but moments like this caught-tone camera are rare. In a brief encounter between reporters and the band members, the men are asked about which women they're into. Rather than answer honestly, George gave a funny comment insisting his type is John's wife. These photos aren't usually the ones you're shown when it comes to The Beatles.
However, this encounter and iconic image can't help but shape how you think about the group. They're no longer just influential musicians but people with personalities and experiences.
Buzz Aldrin Took the First Selfie In Space
You can't deny this selfie is out of this world! Buzz Aldrin, a NASA astronaut on the Gemini 12 mission in 1966, took this photo, which could very well be the first space selfie ever. It looks fake or edited, but it's truly remarkable. The intensity of the shadow on his spacesuit, the shot of Earth in the background, it's a photo you don't generally see when shown pictures of astronauts or space.
You've seen images of people reaching the moon, but have you seen a space selfie? The odds are probably not! But with an astonishing image like this, your mind is forever changed.
Sophia Loren Breaking Barriers in the 1960s
Sophia Loren is one of Hollywood's most famous faces, her beauty radiated, and her stardom was undeniable. But moments like these were monumental. Why? Sophia was breaking barriers when she wore these revealing outfits and did her iconic striptease. She undoubtedly left an impression on cinematic history. You wouldn't think a small moment like this would have such an impact, but women in the 60s were newly embracing feminism and protesting for their rights.
A captivating shot like this might change how you look back on this period. As the 1960s were a decade of change for women, this image helps illustrate that.
Iron Workers On The North Tower Of The World Trade Center
When you pass a gigantic building, it's hard to process that humans built them. But this image captures iron workers hard at work constructing what would soon be the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Considering the horrific September 11 attack that crashed through this exact tower almost 30 years later, this image is quite shocking. Most people have never seen this incredible image before, which adds so much depth to your understanding of that dark historical moment.
This provides a very stark difference from images you would usually see of the Twin Towers, offering an interesting and new perspective.
Iranian Women March Against The Hijab Law in 1979
This gut-wrenching moment is from a women's march against the imposed hijab law in Tehran, Iran, back in 1979. It's powerful and striking but even more important considering the climate in Iran today. Women are protesting their rights and calling for repercussions against mortality security forces who police women's every move. Despite this dark time in history, this powerful image captures that women never stopped fighting. These types of protests have been around for decades.
It can be empowering to see an image like this, one not widely circulated. It helps remind people and offers a narrative that this challenging environment for women in Iran isn't new, and women are still protesting.
Annette Kellerman Arrested for Indecency in This One-Piece Bathing Suit
Annette Kellerman was an Australian professional swimmer in the early 1900s. Yet when she wore a one-piece bathing suit, much like the one pictured, it created much controversy. Women were supposed to wear dresses and pants while swimming, completely covering their bodies and leaving no skin exposed. Yet Annette went against the grain and was arrested for public indecency for sporting a one-piece. This moment isn't taught in history class, yet it's fascinating.
An image like this is hard to come by and lets you transport yourself back to the 1900s and envision what it may have looked like. Not to mention how inspiring Annette was.
Bernie Sanders Arrested For Protesting Segregation In 1963
Many politicians like to talk about their past and themselves, boasting about their accomplishments. However, this photograph looks at something most politicians don't have. Bernie Sanders, the American politician, is seen here protesting segregation and being arrested in 1963. This important image offers him credibility, showcasing proof that he really has been fighting for social issues since he was young. Without an image like this, it might all feel like hearsay.
Consistency is key, and if this image proves anything, it's that Bernie's message and advocacy have been consistent.
Mary Ann Bevan Was the Winner of the Ugliest Woman Contest
The story of Mary Ann Bevan isn't a particularly happy one and can easily slip under the radar. She was a woman in the early 1900s who suffered from a rare genetic condition that caused her to have enlarged bones. She couldn't find work because of her appearance, so she entered an "Ugliest Woman" contest which she won. She soon joined a circus and performed until she passed away in the 1930s.
Her story isn't frequently shared, let alone her pictures. But this powerful photo shows that beauty isn't just conventional. She embraced her identity and did what she could to make a living.
Leonid Rogozov Performed Surgery On Himself at Age 27
A story like this would be hard to believe without an image accompanying it. A doctor from the former Soviet Union was only 27 years old when he had to perform surgery on himself. How on earth does that happen? He was on an expedition in 1961 to the antarctic and was the only doctor around when he became very ill from appendicitis. It was a dire situation that had no other solution!
This may seem like something that can't be done, an impossible feat, but Leonid did it. Not a photo you would typically see when you think of iconic moments that marked history, but this is definitely one.
The Interior of a Plane in the Late 60's
You don't often get to see an airplane's interior from the 1960s. If you didn't experience flying during that time, it could only feel like something from a dream. However, that's the beauty of photography. This image gives you an inside look into what it was like to fly then. All the spacious room, seat sizes, and how people dressed are all surprising elements that would otherwise be hard to imagine.
These are the type of exciting photos that you don't usually see when looking back on history, yet they're fascinating.
Juliane Koepcke, the Young Girl Who Was Sucked Out of an Airplane
This may be a moment that people might want to forget, but it's an important story to tell. It's 1971, and Juliane Koepcke is only 17 when the plane she's on is struck by lightning. The plane crashed, killing almost every passenger, yet she somehow managed to survive. People couldn't believe what happened next. She persisted in the jungle for over a week before she was found, a story that's almost hard to believe.
A photograph like this is hard to come by and captures Juliane in her most vulnerable state. However, it does bring a story to light that most people had no idea about.
George Lucas, Creator of Star Wars, Surrounded By Star Wars Props
George Lucas is an American filmmaker most famously known for being the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. There's no doubt that he changed cinematic history with these classics that became renowned worldwide. Therefore this image offers a unique and cool perspective on the star. He stands surrounded by props from Star Wars, which is a fun juxtaposition considering he's rarely seen in front of the camera but rather behind it.
If you just saw a photo of George alone, it might not have the same effect as seeing him surrounded by all of the fantastic things he created.
The Mona Lisa Discovered After Being Hidden During the Nazi Regime
The Mona Lisa is an iconic, if not the most iconic, painting in the world. However, there was, unfortunately, a time when art wasn't as valued and cherished as it is today. During WWII, the Nazis would loot and destroy art, so it became a high priority to save whatever art people could. Art was removed from the walls of The Louvre and packed up, hidden away until it was safe again.
This is a story that isn't widespread, yet it's one that everyone should know. Here you can see the Mona Lisa being revealed from its secretive packaging after the war.
1952's First Miss Universe Pageant
Have you ever seen an image from the first Miss Universe Pageant? This picture transports you back to the early 1950s when this pageant took place and women from all over the globe participated. What fascinating proof that beauty contests aren't just a trend of this decade. Without images like this, we would have no idea what beauty and fashion trends were popularized decades ago. This is the sort of exciting information that isn't taught in school!
Now, if you ever think about what times were actually like in the 1950s, you can envision this photo and think of the past in an entirely different way.
Band Members of Kiss Posing With Their Family
Kiss was a band formed in the 1970s and instantly became popular due to their outrageous looks and antics on stage. They were one-of-a-kind, full of face paint and big wigs, and often used chaotic elements like blood and fire in their performances. However, here's a more tame version of the band members. In this rarely circulated photo, you can see the bandmates posing with their family for a sweet group picture.
Although their parents are all dressed normally and look relatively calm or even concerned, the band members are starkly different. Seeing them in this setting completely changes their persona!
Behind the Scenes Photos From Titanic
What event in history and movie is more memorable than Titanic? When you think of this film, you most likely think of iconic scenes and lines the actors said, but these photos show a different side. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that marked cinematic history, and now you get to break the barrier and see what it was like to make it.
These funny photos capture just how young Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were and how they could make light of their situation despite the heavy subject matter they were recreating.
A Newspaper Warning During the Spanish Flu in 1918
Much like the coronavirus pandemic changed the world and will be a time in history that generations look back on, the Spanish Flu was too. It might have felt shocking to see everyone suddenly dawn masks everywhere, but this isn't new. Actually, in 1918 when influenza was rampant and deathly, it was common practice to wear a mask. However, these images have been kept under wraps, and most people aren't familiar with them.
This newspaper listing advises people to wear masks to avoid getting and spreading the virus. Who would have known these same sentiments and photos would circulate modern day with Covid-19?
The Moment President Bush Found Out About The 9/11 Attack
Usually, presidents should be well-mannered and know how to deliver the news without frightening the masses. But this isn't always the case. Most people aren't aware of the situation that President Bush was in when he received news about the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York. He was stunned in the middle of a classroom full of elementary students. This photo was taken moments after he found out, and the scene is chilling and would mark history forever.
A look of pure shock that's hard to unsee. Without a photograph like this capturing that moment, people would be left to imagine how the former US president reacted.
The Kiss That Lasted Thousands of Years
This is a once-in-a-lifetime photo that really changes how you view history. It's a photo snapped during an excavation of an archaeological site in Iran. Although these skeletons were discovered in 1972, they are believed to date back to around 800 BCE. This photo almost seems fake, but it's real and astonishing. Two skeletons, perfectly preserved, lying together, sharing a gentle kiss. These are the type of photos that put you ina state of awe.
This moment lets you humanize people who existed thousands of years ago and can impact how you think of people from that time, showing them affectionate and embracing death.
Just a Wee Cigarette Break for These Nuns
We know this photo might be hard to believe, so be prepared. It is indeed a group of nuns huddling for a smoke break. This isn't something you see every day; in fact, you hardly ever see this at all! What a unique and somewhat hilarious moment to capture on film. You might think that because they're nuns, they wouldn't engage in a habit like that but here they are, proving everyone wrong.
When people are taught about religions, they are hardly shown images like this. However, this is a surprising picture that would only lead people to want to learn more about what's happening here!
A 1930s Machine Intended to Make Dimples
It's 1936, and you're desperate for dimples like all the cool kids have, so what do you do? Well, just visit your local dimple-making machine, of course. This stunning photo encapsulates how beauty standards have changed over time yet have always played a significant role in women's lives. This is truly a fascinating image you don't see or learn about when it comes to feminism or beauty standards from which we could learn a lot.
A machine like this might seem absurd, but there are plenty of ways people alter their faces today that are just as interesting and shocking. It looks like we learned from our past!
Three Jewish Survivors of Auschwitz Are Reunited 73 Years Later
The three men pictured here are all survivors of the Holocaust. They were all at Auschwitz concentration camp and liberated the same day. Although this is devastating and horrific, they were reunited 73 years later. A rare photo like this gives a glimmer of hope, showing these men still got to live a full life and start families, despite their painful past. Seeing these gentlemen alive and safe makes our souls happy!
A photo like this is hard to come by and can definitely impact the way you look back on WWII and the Holocaust.
Margaret Hamilton Created Code To Program The Apollo 11 Spacecraft
Meet Margaret Hamilton, the woman who sent a spacecraft to space in 1969! She created the code needed to program the computer systems in the Apollo 11 spacecraft. When you hear of these spacecrafts and missions, you rarely hear of the people behind the scenes making it possible, especially women. Therefore, a photo like this can change your perception of what it took to get a man on the moon.
In fact, she is standing next to the code she wrote! That's a ton of paper and incredibly impressive.
Bobbi Gibb Was the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon
1966 was a different time for women, and their rights were severely impacted. When it came to running and marathons, women were barred from entering any race. But that didn't stop this one brave woman Bobbi Gibb. She didn't listen to society and decided to show up to the Boston Marathon and run regardless, without a number. The other runners, men, were chasing and hitting her, trying to get her to stop. But you can see her smile in this photo; she persevered.
An iconic woman, photo, and moment in history. She became the first woman to run a marathon in US history.
A Pilot Was Sucked Out of a Plane Due to an Improperly Installed Window
Be wary when you see this photo; it marks a time in history that was absolutely terrifying. On a British Airways flight in 1990, an improperly installed window came off, sucking a pilot right out the window. A flight attendant managed to walk into the cockpit at that exact moment and grab onto the pilot's legs. A moment where it seemed like there was no happy ending. The plane was able to land but what happened to the pilot was shocking.
He managed to survive against all odds and suffered from minor injuries. This photo is truly miraculous in teaching people about what this event really looked like.
Susan Kare Created the Iconic Apple Logo
Here is another woman that is hardly talked about but should be taught in all modern history classes. This is Susan Kare who happens to be a famous artist from the 1980s who designed many fonts, logos, icons, and images for Apple, Next, Microsoft, And IBM. That iconic apple logo wouldn't exist if it weren't for her, yet people don't know her name. Luckily, she wasn't too concerned with receiving praise and fame.
However, considering she was in such a male-dominated industry, her achievements are even more impressive. Now you can put a face to the logo!