The most important photos from history

The most important photos from history

(Pocket-lint) – Since the camera was invented it has been used to capture important events from throughout history and all manner of weird and wonderful things. 

We’ve written before about important photographic firsts and even how time has changed locations around the world, but there are also some interesting photos from over the years worth looking at. 

These images stretch all the way back to the 1800s and include photos deemed to be the most important, most iconic or most influential of all time. Here’s a selection to pique your curiosity. 

The oldest surviving photograph

Though it might not look like much, this is said to be the oldest surviving photograph taken by a camera. It dates all the way back to 1827 and shows the view from a window in France. 

It was taken by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce and was crafted using a camera obscura. There’s an enhanced and restored version of the image but we actually prefer the original for the history it oozes. 

The oldest photo depicting a person

This is said to be the earliest surviving photograph depicting a person. It was taken in 1838 and shows a view of a busy French street. 

The people seen here can only be seen because they were still for so long. It was a long-exposure image so all other movement disappeared from view. 

Valley of the Shadow of Death

This image from 1855 might be one of the first war photos ever captured. It was taken during the Crimean War and shows a dirt road littered with cannonballs. 

The oldest photograph taken by Japanese person

This is a photo of Shimazu Nariakira, a Japanese feudal lord of the Edo period who was said to be intelligent and wise and had a passion for technology. 

The image was taken by Ichiki Shirō, a pioneering photographer who captured the photo in 1857. As such it is said to be the earliest photo taken by a Japanese person. 

The First Transcontinental Railroad

This photo from 1869 shows a monumental event with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Two different groups from the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad can be seen shaking hands to commemorate the event. 

One of the first x-rays

From 1895 comes this image which shows one of the first ever x-rays. It was made by German physicist, Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen and shows his wife’s hand including her ring. 

The first underwater photograph

In 1899, Louis Boutan took this photo of Emil Racovitza as he posed underwater. This was said to be the first underwater photo. Quite a feat at the time and something we’d likely take for granted now. 

The first flight

You’re probably already aware of the first successful flight of the Wright Flyer by the Wright Brothers, but have you ever given thought to the fact that this is also the first photo of the first flight?

It was taken by John T. Daniels in 1903 and captured the start of man’s flight into the air. 

A time of child labour

This image from 1910 shows a time when children were commonly used as a small workforce in the mines. These “breaker boys” were coal miners in South Pittston, Pennsylvania. We’re glad we no longer see this. 

A mugshot of Al Capone

This is a mug shot of perhaps the most famous criminal of all time. Oddly this image of Al Capone was taken after he was charged with vagrancy while in Miami. Not something you’d expect him to be arrested for. 

The Hindenburg

In 1937 the German airship LZ 129 Hindenburg was involved in an accident which saw it crash and cash fire causing the deaths of 35 people. This was one of the photos taken at the time. 

Winston Churchill

This photo shows British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the early stages of World War Two. It was interestingly titled “The Roading Lion”, his face might not match the title, but the passion of the nation sure did. 

The Atomic bomb

This is an image of one of the worst times in history. When mankind invented and dropped the most powerful bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. 

This photo shows the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki. 

Raising the flag on Iwo Jima

Another famous photo from World War Two this time shows soldiers raising the flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Babe Ruth bows out

Perhaps the most well-known professional baseball player of all time is seen bowing out and retiring his number in 1948.

A year later this image won a Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

Ruby shoots Oswald

This is another Pulitzer Prize winner and shows the moment that Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who was in custody for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Moon Rise

Forget a sunrise, this shows the Earth rising from the horizon of the Moon. This was taken during the Apollo 8 mission and shows an incredible view of our world from a new perspective. 

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

This photo shows one of mankind’s biggest feats to date – putting man on the Moon. One of the first steps in our adventures into space. 

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The Blue Marble

In 1972 the crew of the Apollo 17 mission took this incredible image of our home planet. It’s perhaps the most photo of Earth taken so far. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.