Before the internet and social media were a thing, photos were harder to come by. Now, we are exposed to hundreds of images every day; so much so that one might think that photography has lost its wow factor. But, taken all over the world, these photos really show how humans have developed - how far our culture, technology, and politics have come...
These Rare Photos Show an Unfamiliar Side of HistoryPublished 7 months ago
Back in the days when flying was a luxury only a few could experience, many more people were confused and worried about how these heavy metal objects would remain airborne. But, daredevil athletes like these two clearly believed that they could make the whole experience even more exciting by showcasing a death-defying stunt.
Ivan Unger and Gladys Roy were the two responsible for this jaw-dropping stunt on the wings of a biplane in 1925. The two were successful in playing what has to have been the most dangerous game of tennis ever played and, as biplanes are a thing of the past, a stunt like this is unlikely ever to be pulled off again.
Native to Sub-Saharan Africa, hippos are deadly, violent animals easily capable of outrunning a human and biting one's arm off. But that didn’t stop the entertainment industry from trying to make use of them during the 1920s.
This image depicts a trained circus performer riding a hippo. Although today, most of us find the use of wild animals in this way to be upsetting and we are no doubt more informed over the risks, you have to admit this has to have been a spectacular show.
World War I brought many horrors into the world and one of those that terrified the inhabitants of England the most was poison gas. The whole nation was dreading the next war and taking all the precautions they could to prepare for any type of attack.
This stunning image, taken in Britain in 1939, is clear evidence of the post-war paranoia that still persists to this day to some degree. Still eight months before the start of World War II, people were preparing for the worst.
Lepa Radić was only 17 years old when this photo was taken and her life was ended. Born in 1925, this photo taken on February 8th, 1943 shows her last moments as she was hanged for her involvement in the resistance against the Axis powers in World War II.
As her Nazi captors tied the noose around her neck, they offered her a chance to live should she reveal the names of her accomplices. Lepa refused, saying, "I am not a traitor of my people. Those whom you are asking about will reveal themselves when they have succeeded in wiping out all you evildoers, to the last man." She was dead minutes after this photo was snapped.
To the uninformed audience, this photo could be considered nothing more than a man playing sports in his garden. Nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not worth including in the list. That is, until you realize that the man is actually one of the most famous men of the early twentieth century.
Yes, the photograph shows the last Emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II. In this rare candid shot, you can see him taking some downtime from ruling his empire to blow off some steam with a friend. On closer inspection, you will see that he is still sporting his white officer’s uniform.
With coats made from the feathers of the native Kiwi bird, these native New Zealand women are dressed majestically in the traditional Maori way. Although not kitted out in their full traditional outfits, which include symbolic ink facepaint, these women are wearing ceremonial dresses.
The photo was shot in the late 19th century and displays the island's rich cultural heritage. These people arrived between 1200 and 1300 AD and their lineage lives on to this day, with about 16.5% of the population known to be direct descendants.
Bob Geldof, Prince Charles, David Bowie, Princess Diana, and two members of the music group Queen. What could be the reason for bringing such an eclectic selection of the rich and famous to one spectator stand? And what has inspired Diana's scolding expression?
Well, the answer to the first question is easy. It’s the great 1985 Live Aid concert, the massive non-profit festival that attracts the biggest bands in the world and still occurs to this day. As for the second question, perhaps it is something unfit for a princess to hear uttered from the lips of Bowie or the guys from Queen.
So... maybe not actually together with the band, but taking a dip in the Serpentine during the Rolling Stones' legendary performance in Hyde Park can be is definitely an expirience we wouldn't mind copying.
While the epic musicians were playing in the background on a sweltering summer day in July of 1969, this girl decided to enjoy life at its fullest and jumped straight into the water, keeping it cool while listening to the world's hottest band. We tip our hat to this iconic lady.
Marilyn Monroe, the timeless icon and legend, continues to captivate the world with her enigmatic life. Among the many mysteries surrounding her, the question of whether she was ever pregnant has long been a topic of intrigue. Recently, this previously unseen photograph was unveiled and sheds light on this lingering question.
These photographs were taken by Frieda Hull, Monroe's closest friend, in 1960. They suggest Marilyn's pregnancy with her then-co-star Tony Michaels, whilst married to Arthur Miller, her then-husband. With a history of miscarriages and no children, the images, which sold for only $2,240, offer a poignant glimpse into Monroe's mysterious life.
Queen Victoria was once the longest-reigning monarch in British history. However, despite this, very few photos of all the royals were taken during this time. In this photo, you can see Queen Vic, the Prince of Wales, and King Edward VII, as well as his son, the future King Edward VIII.
Photography had just been invented at this time and it seems that the idea of facing the camera and smiling had not caught on - at least not with these blue bloods. Just like the portraits that came before photos like this one, nobody is smiling much despite the fact that four generations of royalty are captured in this one picture.
This incredibly lucky shot captures a split second in time that defined this young soldier's life. The image captures the moment when this young man cemented his decision to change sides and cross the barrier to support his previous aggressors.
This photo was taken as the Berlin Wall was being built and its subject is 19-year-old Conrad Schumann. He, heeding the wishes of the West Germans, deserted the Communist-run East Germany and fled to the Western part of the city.
It is hard to imagine enjoying the beach that much if you were forced to wear ridiculous bathing suits like these. Much less if creepy bespectacled men were likely to take an interest, apparently to ensure your suit was long enough.
The women in this image represent a very conservative time - a time where women were made to feel ugly in an arguably much less subtle way than we see in today’s media. This photo represents an interesting comment on the progression of body shaming.
As progressive as the late-1960s is thought to have been, there was still a great deal of progress needed in the future. This photo is clear evidence of some of the closed-minded thinking that the flower power generation was yet to overcome. Taken at the Boston Marathon in ‘67, the woman pictured is Kathrine Switzer, a young woman who decided to enter the race. However, as you can see, the race officials were clearly dismayed.
Nowadays, her entry would not surprise anyone. But at this time, women were not allowed to enter the race and Kathrine was making a brave act of feminist defiance. As you can see, the race official was quick to try and rip the young women's race number off her shirt but her boyfriend was even quicker to help subdue him.
In today’s world of YouTube and social media, the average attention span has been depleted. But don’t worry, the 1920s have the answer. Yes, that’s right, this insane-looking mask is actually a machine to help you concentrate. But how is such an obviously distracting piece of apparel supposed to work?
Well, the designers believed that the machine, called The Isolator, would improve concentration pumping the mask full of oxygen. From the look of it, The Isolator could have been designed with present-day social distancing in mind.
Back in the 50s, it was decided that for longer flights there should be some special live performances for their passengers. This image was taken in January 1959 and features Birgitta Lindman inspecting the uniform of one of the new entertainment showgirls.
Birgitta worked for Swedish SAS Airlines and was known for being on the cover of "Life Magazine" after competing against 53 other stewardesses fighting for the feature which highlighted her beauty.
It’s hard to imagine a world without alcohol, but during the prohibition era in the United States, the government was trying to do just that. Banning a drink made from decaying fruit may seem like an impossible task, but as you can imagine the bootleg alcohol sold at the time was not nearly as good as a professionally brewed beer.
As you can imagine these new laws inspired a naturally passionate backlash from beer lovers. The patriotic young men shown in this photo demonstrate our dedication to having a few cold ones after a hard day. Now that is a worthy cause nearly all of us can get behind.
What agreement did these rather dapper gentlemen come to and what could make this photo so significant? Well, during the American Civil War many bridges were burnt as the two armies - the Confederate and Union - clashed in infamous battles.
This photo, taken at the scene of Gettysburg on the 50th anniversary of the bloody historical battle, records an important step forward for the United States. The gentlemen are old veterans from opposing sides finally at peace with one another.
This image shows the very origins of one of the most well-known women ever. Although the lady’s hair is different from how it is remembered by most, that perfect smile will give the game away for many fans of her work.
That’s right the image is none-other than blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Take before her career had taken off - in 1944 - the image is one of the first professional photos of the young woman. Just eighteen years old at the time, Monroe (then called Norma Jeane Dougherty) was working at a munitions factory supporting the war effort when she was discovered by a photographer.
There’s something evocative about looking at old photographs with muted colors and grainy textures, transporting us back in time and reminding us of a bygone era. Fashion, hairstyles, and technology paint a picture of a different culture.
Stay tuned for a series of vintage photographs from the 1970s that have a unique ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and whimsical wonder. The celebrities and sights in these photographs, frozen in time, are a reminder of the beauty and nostalgia of the past, and they continue to captivate and inspire us to this day.
Muhammad Ali is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers in the sport's history. Born Cassius Clay in 1942, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam in 1964. Over the course of his career, Ali became known for his speed, agility, and powerful punching, as well as his charismatic personality and vocal opposition to the Vietnam War. Yet as this photograph shows, even a three-time heavyweight champ finds parenting exhausting!
In this photograph, a yawn escapes the legendary boxer as he babysits two of his daughter. Nine-month-old Veronica Porche and two-year-old Hana indulge in their father’s embrace at Grosvenor House in London. How sweet!
Dolly Parton is an American singer, songwriter, and actress known for her iconic blonde hair, voluptuous figure, and unique style. Throughout her long and successful career, Dolly Parton has been the subject of numerous photographs, many of which have become iconic images of the country music legend.
One of the most famous sets of photographs featuring Parton is the Dolly Parton file. These photographs are considered some of the most famous images of the blonde bombshell and have been widely reproduced and admired by fans worldwide.
Steve Jobs is widely known for his iconic black turtleneck shirt and the lasting impact that he had on the tech industry, with his innovations and leadership at Apple helping to shape the modern world. Yet before his fame skyrocketed, Steve Jobs was just a young techie hoping to make it big.
In this portrait of the legendary engineer, Steve Jobs is barely recognizable in his youth (and fashion choices). The photograph was snapped in 1977 at the West Coast Computer Fair, where the Apple II computer made its grand debut in Brooks Hall, San Francisco. Needless to say, Apple has come a long way since!
Rising oil prices seem to be a stressful issue that has appeared (and reappeared) throughout history. In 1977, America faced economic difficulty, and rising oil prices didn’t help the situation. Consider that prices escalated to more than $20 a barrel in response to increased demand!
And the demand was real! This photograph from a Mobil gas station in Suffolk County, Long Island in 1979 puts the issue into perspective. Community members lined up to buy gas cans as gasoline prices exceeded $1 a gallon for the first time in history. If only we could go back to those prices today!
Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, was known for his lavish lifestyle and fondness for beautiful women. In 1970, Hefner and his girlfriend, model and actress Barbi Benton, arrived at Heathrow Airport aboard his private jet and were greeted by a group of "Bunny Girls" from the London Playboy Club.
The women, dressed in the iconic Bunny Girl costumes, welcomed the icon and his favorite woman to the airport and helped them with their luggage. One of the Bunny Girls was even wearing a Union Jack costume, adding a touch of British flair to the occasion. The arrival of the couple at Heathrow was a notable event, showcasing the Playboy founder's opulent lifestyle and association with the famous Bunny Girls.
In 1972, history was made when American President Richard Nixon became the first US president to visit China. At the time, political relations were tense and strained, and Richard Nixon’s decision to visit the rival country sent a ripple effect throughout the political world.
To prove that the event happened, this photograph exists, capturing President Nixon and Secretary of State William Rogers with Chinese Deputy Premier Li Xiannian during a visit to the Great Wall of China. Ultimately, the president had ulterior motives and hopped on a plane in hope of getting help to contain Vietnam during the war. Scratching one another’s backs, China appreciated the allied support in their tense relationship with the Soviet Union. So, would you consider it a win-win?
KISS is an American rock band known for their elaborate stage performances, which often include pyrotechnics and the band members wearing distinctive face paint. These band members include singer-guitarist Paul Stanely, bassist Gene Simmons, drummer Peter Crisis and guitarist Ace Frehley — all pictured here in this vintage photograph!
The moment was snapped in November 1974 as the iconic band prepared to perform at Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom in Atlanta, Georgia. Judging by their face paint, we’d say they are ready for action!
Since the 1970s, there have been countless technological developments that have completely transformed the way we live our lives. In the early 1970s, personal computers were first introduced, and since then, technology has advanced at an incredible rate.
Today, we have smartphones that can access the internet, connect to social media, and perform countless other tasks that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. The internet has revolutionized how we communicate, access information, and do business. Yet photographs like this one, of a woman in a knit dress sitting at an early Servus model desktop computer in the 1970s, reminds us of our humble beginnings.
Richard Nixon resigned as president in 1974 in the face of almost-certain impeachment over the Watergate scandal. The political scandal in the United States involved the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., in 1972 and the subsequent cover-up of the administration's involvement in the break-in by Nixon and his top aides.
The scandal led to the resignation of Nixon in 1974 and the indictment and conviction of several of his top advisers. The Watergate scandal is widely considered a low point in American political history and has served as a cautionary tale about the abuse of power by those in government. In retaliation to this abuse of power, demonstrators held signs demanding justice on 9 August 1974, the day of Richard Nixon’s resignation, as pictured in this photograph.
At what point do you stop keeping score of your achievements? Since its founding in 1955, McDonald's has served over 300 billion hamburgers, but the cult franchise officially stopped counting in 1994 when the number became too immense to manage.
Yet this photograph of a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in 1970 shows simpler times when the count was still in the low billions. While a lot has changed since this photograph was taken — such as the cars, the signage, and the general landscape — the love for McDonald’s has prevailed.
Commercial flights in the 1970s were a vastly different experience than today. Flying was still a relatively luxurious and special occasion for many people, and serving champagne wasn’t an uncommon sight! Consider this photograph of a Pan Am air hostess serving champagne in the first-class cabin of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet as an example!
Airplanes were typically larger and more spacious, with fewer seats and more amenities. Leading up to the formal in-flight experience, passengers would dress up for the occasion and eat meals off of china dishes. Today, you’ll be lucky if you have enough legroom to avoid cramping up!
In the 1970s, the Bronx was a predominantly working-class and low-income neighborhood in New York City known for its high crime rates and urban decay. Things worsened when the South Bronx was hit by a wave of housing fires that resulted in the loss of 80% of the housing in the area and the displacement of 250,000 people.
Despite the widespread damage, the state pool insurance payout for the affected area was only 10 million dollars, equivalent to about 50 million dollars in today's currency. This photograph shares a glimpse of the devastation.
The Rolling Stones are known for their iconic music and energetic live performances. Over the years, the legendary British rock band has enjoyed massive success and rewarded themselves with a lavish lifestyle, including using a private jet for their tours and travels.
In this photograph, Mick Jagger and his bandmates travel in style and comfort between concerts during their 1975 Tour of the Americas. Briefly breaking the stereotype of debauchery that comes with rock ‘n roll stars, Mick Jagger is captured reading the newspaper and staying up to date with current affairs!
In the 1970s, North Vietnam launched a military invasion of South Vietnam with the goal of reuniting the country under communist rule. The invasion was the culmination of years of tension and conflict between the two regions, which had been divided following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 — in which the Americans were heavily involved.
This photograph from 1975 reveals a glance at the desperation experienced by South Vietnamese refugees as they approach a US warship in the South China Sea near Saigon. Around the same time, American involvement in the Vietnam War came to an end, but the impact of their participation echoed for decades.
Never mind the Three Musketeers; the Three Degrees are the real deal! The singing group rose to prominence in the 1970s with their smooth vocal harmonies and glamorous stage presence. The group, composed of Sheila Furguson, Valerie Holiday, and Fayette Pickney, was known for their stylish and fashionable outfits and soulful and upbeat music, combining pop, R&B, and disco.
In addition to their musical success, The Three Degrees also had a significant influence on society, helping to break down barriers and pave the way for other women of color in the entertainment industry. Here, the powerful trio poses for a photograph in a London street in 1974.
The Apollo 15 mission involved the fourth human landing on the moon and the first to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Astronaut David Scott was right in the middle of the action, commanding the missio
During the ambitious mission, David Scott and his crewmates spent over three days on the lunar surface, conducting experiments and gathering data to help pave the way for future missions to the moon. After retiring from NASA in 1975, Scott continued to work in the aerospace industry and remains a respected and admired figure in the world of space exploration.
In 1975, Brazilian football superstar Pele paid a visit to the White House, where he had the opportunity to meet with President Gerald Ford and demonstrate his skills on the field. The meeting between Pele and Ford occurred on the grounds of the White House, where the two men were seen jostling for the ball and playing a friendly game of soccer.
The encounter was captured by photographers and became an iconic image of the meeting between the Brazilian athlete and the American president. Pele, who is widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was in the United States at the time to promote the sport and help raise awareness of the upcoming World Cup, which was set to take place in Brazil the following year.
Studio 54 was a famous New York City nightclub known for its celebrity clientele, lavish parties, and hedonistic atmosphere. As drinks flowed and celebrities brushed shoulders with one another, Studio 54 became the site of many scandals!
In this photograph, captured in 1979, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso indulge in revelry at the Interview party at Studio 54. The occasion was a fashionable and exclusive event attended by many of the club's celebrity guests. What we would have paid to be a fly on the wall!
Billy Joel found fame as an American singer-songwriter who achieved widespread success and critical acclaim over the course of his long and illustrious career. Born in 1949 on Long Island, New York, Billy Joel began playing the piano at a young age and started his professional music career in the 1960s as a member of various bands. By the 1970s, Joel had established himself as a solo artist and had begun to release a string of successful albums, including The Stranger and 52nd Street.
In the process, the singer earned multiple Grammy Awards and solidified his position as one of the leading lights of the American music scene. As proof of his esteemed success, this photograph was taken of the legendary artist at his home in New York City in January 1978, surrounded by some of his gold records, which serve as a testament to his many achievements.
The history of Hollywood is filled with power couples, scandalous affairs, and rumored romances. Added to the (long) list is Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson's romantic relationship, which spanned several years in the 1970s and 1980s. The couple met on the set of The Last Detail in 1973, and it wasn't long before sparks began to fly.
Over the years, Anjelica and Jack appeared together in several films, as well as several photographs. This is one of the iconic images of the couple, snapped as they were sighting in New York in 1975. Despite their professional success, the couple's relationship was tumultuous, and they eventually split in 1989.
ABC, I’ll Be There, and I Want You Back are all major hits associated with the Jackson Five, also lovingly known as The Jacksons. The popular family band rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s and included five brothers from Gary, Indiana. An instant success, the group was known for their energetic live performances and their catchy, soulful music.
This photograph was taken during a publicity shoot after the band signed with Epic Records in 1979. The youngsters pose outside Jackie Jackson’s home in Westlake Village, California. Despite facing numerous challenges and changes over the years, the Jackson Five's legacy continues to live on through their music and their influence on the world of popular music.
As far as famous pop groups from the 1970s go, the Bee Gees lead the charge! The British-Australian pop music group captured attention with their vocal harmonies and catchy disco-influenced tunes. Formed in 1958, the group included brothers Robin, Barry, and Maurice Gibb — pictured here in 1975 while visiting America. The trio tested the water by performing at local clubs and bars and eventually evolved their sound to their iconic upbeat and danceable style.
The group helped to define the disco era with some of their biggest hits, including Stayin' Alive, Jive Talkin', and Night Fever. We think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t instantly start tapping their foot when a song from the Bee Gees comes on!
Morgan Freeman is not a stranger to the silver screen, and the star actor has found great fame for his powerful and versatile performances in a wide range of film, television, and stage roles. Yet this photograph, snapped in 1978, shows the aged star before he got his big break.
Taken in 1978 as Morgan Freeman and his then-wife Jeanette attended the Broadway opening party for Might Gents, this photograph is endearing and heartwarming. The couple looks happy and relaxed as they socialize with fellow attendees. A lot has changed since this photograph was taken, but the memory is sweetly preserved.
Tom Jones and Elvis Presley were both renowned musicians who achieved massive success and popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. While Tom Jones found fame as a Welsh singer known for his powerful voice and energetic stage presence, Elvis Presley was renowned for his distinctive voice, good looks, and rebellious attitude.
Despite their different backgrounds and styles, both artists were highly influential and respected figures in the music world, and sometimes they crossed paths. Consider this moment in July 1971, where Tom Jones and Elvis Presley stand with Priscilla for a photograph in Las Vegas. How charming!