A mother and her daughter falling from a fire escape, 1975

On July 22, 1975 in Boston, a 19-year-old and her 2-year-old goddaughter were trapped in a burning building. A firefighter shielded them from the flames as a fire ladder inched closer. Then the fire escape collapsed. The woman died from her injuries, but her two-year-old goddaughter survived because she landed on the woman’s body. It’s tragic, going from the hope of immediate rescue to a… Read More »

Elephant-mounted machine-gun, 1914

An American corporal aims a Colt M1895 atop a Sri Lankan elephant. The reason why the corporal is atop the elephant is a mystery but elephants were never a weapons platform adopted by the US Army. It’s probably a publicity picture, not something the army would actually try to employ. The elephant would not respond well to the sound of that machine gun a few… Read More »

Testing football helmets, 1912

In professional football, the only line of defense against head injury is the helmet. But the earliest football helmet looked more like a padded aviator cap than the high-tech crash-tested helmet used by today’s players. It is not certain who invented the football helmet. In 1896 Lafayette College halfback George “Rose” Barclay began to use straps and earpieces to protect his ears. His headgear soon… Read More »

The five races of Mankind, 1911

The picture/poster shows five men representing five different cultural spheres: an American Indian, an Australian Aborigine, an African, an Asian and an European. The European, standing in the center, dominates the scene and thus shows the Eurocentric world view of the time (early 20th century). This poster was printed as an illustration on a Dresden-based German magazine. It’s widely accepted that race originated in Europe… Read More »

Color photos from pre-war Nazi Germany

Nazi Party was not just a political organization, it was a psychological propaganda machine. The Nazis had an incredible sense of aesthetics and fully understood the power of iconography and branding. Enter inside the Nazi world through these amazing color photos and be thrilled. The symbols and colors of Nazism were all carefully orchestrated to have maximum psychological effect. There was nothing accidental about the… Read More »

The Falling Soldier, 1936

The Falling Soldier became famous for the way it seems to capture, with terrifying immediacy, the moment when a bullet fatally strikes a Spanish Loyalist militiaman; later, it became famous for allegations that the photograph was “faked,” or at least (though this was common practice at the time) staged. The photo was taken by Jewish Hungarian photographer Robert Capa. From 1936 to 1939, Capa worked… Read More »

Lesbian couple at Le Monocle, Paris, 1932

During the 1920’s Paris had gained a reputation for the variety of its nighttime pleasures and for its free and easy attitude toward life in general. Within this climate of relative tolerance many gay and lesbian nightclubs opened and flourished. Among these was Le Monocle, which is credited with being one of the first, and certainly the most famous of lesbian nightclubs. It was opened… Read More »

Simone Segouin, the 18 year old French Résistance fighter, 1944

Members of the French Resistance are photographed in the midst of battle against German troops. We see a man in makeshift army fatigues to the left and a young man on the right. Then, most strikingly, we see a woman in shorts, a patterned top, and a military hat in the center. The photograph of this young female fighter would become a symbol of women’s… Read More »

SS prison guards forced to load victims of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp into trucks for burial, 1945

After the liberation of the camp the dead bodies were buried in mass graves. The SS prison guards were forced by British soldiers to load the bodies into the trucks. Note British troops in background with Sten submachine gun and Lee-Enfield rifles. Photo taken on April 17, 1945, Germany. The prison guards were part of SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), an independent unit within the SS with its… Read More »

Category: WW2

Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces with gas masks and rubber gloves during a chemical attack, Battle of Shanghai, 1937

Japanese marines landed north and south of Shanghai. This picture may have been taken on the Jiangsu coast, which is north of the city. Despite the fact that the chemical weapons were prohibited by international laws, the Imperial Japanese Army frequently used chemical weapons during the war against China. In terms of the imagery, this photo is a perfect blend of WWI and WWII. The… Read More »

A refugee carrying his cholera-stricken wife away from the fighting during the Bangladesh War, 1971

The photo is taken during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The atrocities of this war are little known to the Western. It lasted over a duration of nine months and witnessed large-scale atrocities. Also during the time cholera was rampant. This war resulted in Bangladesh becoming an independent state from West Pakistan, now just Pakistan. Looking at the photo someone can see love right there. That… Read More »

Margaret Thatcher in Falkland Islands after Argentina’s surrender, 1983

Thatcher is surrounded by troops on a visit to Goose Green in January 1983, where the Parachute Regiment had secured a crucial victory seven months earlier. The war was a turning point in her premiership. The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges called the Falkland War: “The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb”. Thus, describing how useless the islands were… Read More »

Stalin’s body double, 1940s

Rumors circulated in Russia for decades that Joseph Stalin had a “twin” who replaced him during certain situations. After decades of rumors, finally Stalin’s decoy decided to talk. Felix Dadaev, a former dancer and juggler was ordered to the Kremlin to work as Stalin’s body double. For more than half a century, Dadaev remained silent, fearing a death sentence should he dare to open his… Read More »

Shell shocked soldier, 1916

Shell shocked soldier in a trench during the Battle of Courcelette (France) in September 1916. His eyes express the madness of the war. The soldier looks like he has gone insane from what he has seen. In that moment in time everything he’s been raised to work within, the social constructs which make up every part of his life just exploded and shattered to nothing,… Read More »

Category: WW1

The priest and the dying soldier, 1962

Navy chaplain Luis Padillo gives last rites to a soldier wounded by sniper fire during a revolt in Venezuela. Braving the streets amid sniper fire, to offer last rites to the dying, the priest encountered a wounded soldier, who pulled himself up by clinging to the priest’s cassock, as bullets chewed up the concrete around them. The photographer Hector Rondón Lovera, who had to lie… Read More »

A Jewish woman who is concealing her face sits on a park bench marked “Only for Jews”, Austria, 1938

The Holocaust was a gradual process. The Nazis didn’t start mass extermination when they got into power. But gradually prepared the population by dehumanizing the Jewish people. Segregation, as shown in this photo, was part of this. The point was not to provide a bench for Jews, it was to segregate the benches so that non-Jewish Germans would not have to sit on a “contaminated”… Read More »

NASA scientists with their board of calculations, 1961

Before the days of computers, employees at NASA would have to go about conveying their knowledge in a much more laborious way: chalk, board, and likely tears. The scientists used math and physics to calculate complex spacecraft trajectories, navigation and the orbits or spacecraft, and much more. The calculations were tedious and long. As for this photograph, probably the photojournalist asked them to fill the… Read More »

Category: USA

Conrad Schumann defects to West Berlin, 1961

Conrad Schumann was immortalized in this photograph as he leapt across the barricade that would become the Berlin Wall. The photo was called “The Leap into Freedom”. It became an iconic image of the Cold War. Born in Zschochau, Saxony during the middle of World War II, he enlisted in the East German state police following his 18th birthday. Since he had always shown himself… Read More »