25 Historical Photos Worth A Thousand Words

Few statements have remained truer throughout history than ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. 
 
While some might look at a picture of the Titanic and think of man’s great feat of engineering, others might view it as a sign of our hubris, and what deathly consequences can arise from it. 
 
A picture of JFK and Marilyn Monroe together elicits thoughts of power and controversy, popularity and politics, scandal and tragedy. We stare into the bright eyes of a soldier, and see him, almost bearing a smile; it might as well be a poster for Army recruitment, if not for the hand-written ‘War is Hell’ across his helmet.
 
We see a picture of Winston Churchill in a swimsuit, and without knowing who we’re looking at, simply see a random middle-aged man, rather than someone who literally moved borders, waged wars and helped to topple Hitler.
 
Alternatively, we see a picture of Albert Einstein, arguably one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known, a man who helped to unlock the very secrets of the universe, yet there he is, humbly and unassumingly sitting on a rock, looking like someone’s grandfather. 
 
When we look at pictures from the past, it takes us somewhere, to a world not yet built, one where fixtures of the present we live in are not yet real, the landscapes are different, and possibilities abundant. We find it hard to imagine a New York City without the Statue of Liberty, but there it is, being unpacked before the assembly. And it is near impossible to imagine Paris, without the Eiffel Tower, yet we can see pictures of it under construction, the landscape seemingly naked by today’s comparison.  
 
Some photos seem innocent enough, and I suppose intrinsically they are, until they’re put into context. Who we are looking at, and what they have done– the proverbial ‘good, bad and ugly’. It’s both humanizing and terrifying to think of many of these larger than life individuals as anything close to human, but it is important to remember that is exactly what they are, just like you and I.
 
And it is in this reminder that we should all take a moment, and view where we came from, how far we have come, and how much further we still have to go. 

1) 106-year-old Armenian Woman Guards Her Home, 1990

106-year-old-Armenian-Woman-guards-home-1990

2) Adolf Hitler Meeting with Pope Pius XI

Adolf-Hitler-Meeting-with-Pope-Pius-XI

3) Alan Shepard, America’s First Man in Space Puts on his Navy Mark IV Spacesuit

Alan-Shepard-Americas-first-man-in-space-puts-on-his-Navy-Mark-IV-spacesuit

4) Albert Einstein at the Beach

Albert-Einstein

5) The Racial Segregation in the US South

An-example-of-racial-segregation

6) Child Laborers in 1880

Child-laborers-in-1880

7) Construction of the Eiffel Tower in July, 1888

Construction-of-the-Eiffel-tower-in-July-1888

8) Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is returned to the Louvre after WWII

Da-Vinci’s-Mona-Lisa-is-returned-to-the-Louvre-after-WWII

9) Elvis in the US Army, 1958

Elvis-in-the-US-Army-1958

10) Execution by Cannon, Shiraz, Iran, Late 19th Century

Execution-by-cannon-Shiraz-Iran-late-19th-century

11) Fidel Castro Lays a Wreath at the Lincoln Memorial

Fidel-Castro-lays-a-wreath-at-the-Lincoln-Memorial

12) While Christ the Redeemer was being built in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jesus-Christ-from-Rio-Being-built

13) John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe

John-F.-Kennedy-and-Marilyn-Monroe

14) Mannequins from an Atomic Bomb Test Site in Nevada during the Mid-50s

Mannequins-from-an-Atomic-Bomb-Test-Site-in-Nevada-during-the-Mid-50s

15) Martin Luther King With His Son Removing a Burnt Cross from their Front Yard, 1960

Martin-Luther-King-with-his-son

16) Nagasaki, 20 Minutes after the Atomic Bombing in 1945

Nagasaki

 

17) New York in 1900

New-York-in-the-year-1900

18) Osama bin Laden with His Family Visiting Falun in Sweden in 70′

Osama-bin-Laden-with-his-family-visiting-Falun-in-Sweden-in-70′

19) Shooting of Leo the Lion for the MGM Logo

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20) Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923

Testing-of-new-bulletproof-vests-1923

21) The Microsoft Staff in 1978

The-Microsoft-staff-in-1978

22) Titanic, 1912

Titanic-1912

23) Unknown Soldier in Vietnam, 1965

Unknown-soldier-in-Vietnam-1965

24) Unpacking the head of the Statue of Liberty, 1885

Unpacking-the-head-of-the-Statue-of-Liberty-1885

25) Winston Churchill in a Swimsuit, 1922

Winston-Churchill-in-a-swimsuit-1922

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Chris is a former advertising executive turned freelance writer and is currently finishing off the final edits of his first novel.