Caught on camera: 21 of history’s rarest moments

The oldest surviving camera photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras, was taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. Since then photographers have captured countless historic moments. Sometimes, they appreciated the significance of the moment, other times they have not. Here’s an amazing selection of photos, full of human emotions, which include both these categories.

Bill and Hillary Clinton when they first meet as university students, 1973.


Residents of West Berlin show their children to their grandparents living in East Berlin, 1961.

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The Olympic flame arrives in Berlin, 1936.


Climbers bringing down corpses of their fellow climbers from Mont Blanc, 1895.


Fidel Castro plays baseball in Havana, 1959.


Searchlights on the Rock of Gibraltar, 1942.


Execution by cannon, in Shiraz, Iran, mid-late 19th century.


Gold diggers marching through Chilkoot pass, the only way towards Dawson City, 1898.


Ferdinand Porsche, far left, showing a model of the first Volkswagen Beetle to Hitler, 1934.  


Major General Horatio Gordon Robley with his collection of tattooed Maori heads, 1895.

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Toffs and Toughs – The famous photo by Jimmy Sime illustrating the class divide in pre-war Britain, 1937.


Woodstock – The Opening Ceremony.  Bethel, New York, 14 August 1969.


The last prisoners leaving Alcatraz, 1963.


Photographed in 1912 with red and black paint on it, this iceberg was believed to have sunk the Titanic. 


Gentlemen taking selfies, circa 1920.


A rare colour photograph of two Parisian women from 1930.


The world’s last commercial sailing ship, The Pamir, rounding Cape Horn for the last time in 1949.


Japanese guards bow before US prisoners of war being released from a Yokohama detention centre following the capitulation of Japan, 1945.


Iranian woman hanging out on the beach before the Islamic Revolution, 1960.


James Dean posing in the coffin in the local undertaker in his home town the year he died in a car crash, January 1955.

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British soldier checking out the Argentinean helmets after the Battle of Goose Green on the Falkland Islands, May 1982.

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27 replies
  1. Vincent Joseph Gadacho
    Vincent Joseph Gadacho says:

    Thank you very much for inspiring me with this brilliant photos. I really love old photos and history. It reminds us of how we are yesterday and what have we became today. By reminiscing the past, we can review ourselves if what we’re doing in the present is good and will it be brought in the future.

  2. Ron Wilson
    Ron Wilson says:

    Awesome photos actually learned a few things about history that I was not aware of like the freedom women had in Iran before 1960.

  3. Nathan Johnson
    Nathan Johnson says:

    It’s interesting to me thinking of commercial sailing ships. It would be fun to see what it was like to live in those times. I’m sure people were a lot more patient back then than we are now!

  4. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    The photo of the Parisian ladies was so elegant.
    The image of Bill and Hilary looks like the first time I’ve ever seen a real smile on Hilary Clinton’s face.

  5. Komodo
    Komodo says:

    Great collections that should kept on Museum. All historical and all will using by new generation. I hope that will be meaningful art for new generation. Passion of the world

  6. Eeeeen
    Eeeeen says:

    The picture of an Iranian woman hanging out on the beach, was indeed before the Islamic revolution which took place in 1979 and which overthrew a US puppet regime which itself had been installed after a coup d’etat (1953), engineered by the US and UK governments, against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh. Just saying.

  7. Natty Gumpwaller
    Natty Gumpwaller says:

    Seems that the liberal point of view is all that matters. Bet you weren’t even aware of your bias.

  8. JRabbit
    JRabbit says:

    The first selfie shows two different pictures. that photo of the men holding the camera on the left shows the one closest to the camera without a hat and the 2nd photo they all have hats on.


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