NOTE: If you are viewing this post on a mobile device, please scroll down to see photo captions.
A photo truly is worth a thousand words, if not more. Photojournalism is so powerful that it is capable of transporting people in way that traditional reporting won’t ever be able to do. Sometimes, one simple picture is all it takes.
Throughout history, there have been countless life-changing moments that serve as proof. These images portray the past in an intimate way, as if we were standing right there watching the rise and fall of an empire, the death of an iconic figure, the effects of prejudice, cultural misunderstandings, the horrors of war and consequences of greed.
While some of these photos from the past remind us how far we have come as a civilization, others are painful memories that we’d just rather forget altogether.
- Annie Edison Taylor (1838-1921). On her 63rd birthday, she was the first person to secure herself into a barrel and survive the deadly plummet over Niagara Falls.
- Artificial legs, United Kingdom, circa 1890.
- Charlie Chaplin without makeup in 1916 at the age of 27.
- A former slave displays his whipping scars.
- Illegal alcohol being poured out of windows during Prohibition.
- Louis Armstrong is photographed playing music for his wife in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza in 1961.
- Martin Luther King Jr. and his son remove a burnt cross from their front yard.
- Bulletproof vest testing, 1923.
- The Kennedy brothers as teenagers: John, Bobby and Teddy.
- A lifeguard’s uniform in the 1920′s.
- In the 1950′s, hospitals used animals as part of medical therapy.
- African American Union soldier with his family, circa 1863-65.
- A Native American takes a long, hard look at a completed section of the transcontinental railroad.
- This is the earliest known photo of Abe Lincoln.
- A beautiful mess: Albert Einstein’s desk the day after his death.
- Men testing out football helmets against a wall, 1912.
- Remains of Vladimir Komarov, the astronaut who fell from space, 1967.
- Shell shocked soldier, 1916
- British soldiers force SS prison guards to load concentration camp victims into a truck for burial.
- Here’s what a hockey goalie’s face looked like before masks became standard.
- Harold Agnew holding the plutonium core of the Nagasaki Fat Man bomb, 1945.
- Mother trying to sell her kids hides her face from the camera.