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20 Thought-Provoking Photographs From History


Photographs are always fascinating because they are evidence of time and progress. However, when you look at a photo that was taken 10 years ago, it is much different than looking at a photo that was taken 50, 60, or 70 years ago.

Historical photographs present to us how different the world in the picture is from the one in which we live today. They may showcase objects, clothing, or ceremonies that are obsolete or are no longer relevant in contemporary society.

The photographs below will make you think and possibly spark your interest in the events that took place at the time of the photos. They may also make you appreciate how far we have come.

1. February 9, 1942, SS Normandie tips over: The ocean liner was seized by US authorities during World War II and converted into a troopship. This process caused the ship to catch fire and capsize.

2. 16-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger at his first bodybuilding competition: A mere 4 years after this photo was taken, Schwarzenegger went on to win his first Mr. Olympia title.

3. 1924, Russian fishermen present their catch at the Volga River: The Volga river is the longest river in Europe. It is considered to be the national river of Russia. Judging by the size of these fish, it was also a source of large sturgeon and perhaps even caviar.

4. 1922, A group of surfers: Their surfboards are literally planks of wood. They are a long way away from the surfboards we use today.

5. 1949, Inuit girl with husky: This picture is definitely adorable, but it speaks to how important these dogs are to Inuit culture and survival.

6. 1960s bikers: There will never be a time when bikers aren’t cool. It also appears that motorcycle gear is timeless and doesn’t change as the years go by.

7. 1948, A boy sees a television for the first time: These kinds of images really give you a sense of how much time has passed and how far along society and technology have come.

8. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, and his wife: Basketball as we know it today was invented in 1891 by James Naismith. He created it to help him stay in top shape during the winter.

9. 1895, graduation ceremony: These dresses are incredible and a far cry from the dark cap and gown we wear at our graduations today.

10. An Iranian woman visits the beach in 1960: This is a testament to how much a country’s political structure can also influence its culture and way of life.

11. 1980s, poet Joseph Brodsky and two of his students: Brodsky was a professor in a number of universities in the US and UK. He is a Nobel Prize recipient and was given the title of United States Poet Laureate.

12. 1969, Margaret Hamilton, chief NASA software engineer: Hamilton was in charge of the software development team for the Apollo Moon missions. On November 2016, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

13. 1938, King George VI of Britain: Although he’s on a slide, King George VI doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself. Perhaps it’s because of the pressure of appearing regal.

14. 1939, Fawzia Fuad, Princess of Iran and Queen of Egypt: Fawzia Fuad was the last of the royal Egyptian family and her beauty was well known.

15. 1962, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs searched for a player’s missing contact lens: The players all stopped mid-game to help locate the lens. Now that’s what we call sportsmanship!

16. Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, respectively: The brothers behind the brands we know so well. Imagine what a typical family dinner at the Dassler residence was like.

17. 20th century soldiers of the Caucasus: Apart from how many people are riding the car, this picture is interesting because it seems to have been captured right on the brink of when cars replaced the horse and carriage.

18. 1920s, Japanese Geishas: These Maiko (apprentice Geiko) girls are playing with a camera. They look like they’re enjoying the mechanism of the camera.

19. 1980 Olympic opening ceremony in Moscow: Olympic Games and controversy come hand-in-hand and this one is no different. Nonetheless, the skill and beauty in this photo is astounding.

20. 1913, Princesses Olga and Tatyana: These members of the Russian royal family were captured and killed only a few years after this photo was taken. Their demise was a result of the Russian Revolution in 1917.


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