101 Rarely-Seen Historical Photos That Might Change Your Perspective On Things (New Pics)

These days, when cameras are everywhere, from our phones to security cams in public spaces, it’s easy to forget that the major part of history has passed without them. Only in 1888, when Kodak released the first commercial camera, did they slowly begin permeating our lives.

But long before thousands of snaps on our camera rolls, photographs were reserved for capturing precious and one-of-a-kind moments. These incredible visual monuments of history have resurfaced and brought a whole new meaning to events and lives of people in the past.

And today we’re about to get on board down memory lane full of raw emotions and unstaged realities captured in these rare historical photos. After you’re done, make sure to check out our part 1 right here.

#1 Meet The "Night Witches", Fearless Russian Female Pilots Who Bombed Nazis By Night, 1941

Image credits: Beast667Neighbour

#2 British Soldiers (Interrupted During Drag Show Rehearsals By A German Raid) Manning A Bl 6-Inch Mk Vii Naval Gun At Shornemead Fort, England In 1940

Image credits: File-Environmental

#3 In 1941, The Photo On The Left Was Taken Of Soviet Soldier Eugen Stepanovich Kobytev On The Day He Left To Go To War. The Photo On The Right Was Taken In 1945 After The End Of The War, Just 4 Years Apart

Image credits: irishamerican

“Photography historians are each different in how they approach studying the life of the medium: some are interested in its technical history, asking what camera improvements, and limitations, meant for the people who became photographs,” Gabrielle Moser told Bored Panda.

Gabrielle is a writer, book author, independent curator, and Assistant Professor of Aesthetics and Art Education at York University. The professor was happy to share some insights into the wondrous world of historical photography and what photography historians do to bring them back to life.

“What could you literally photograph—because of film speed, exposure times, and the ability or inability to print multiple copies of an image—and what did that mean for the kinds of images that were made?” These are the inquiries photography historians are looking for the answers to.

#4 Last Sword Duel In History In France, 1967 Between The Mayor Of Marseille And The Socialist Party Candidate For Presidency

Image credits: Chocolatechipweb

#5 Anti British Propaganda, Japan 1941

Image credits: pireui

#6 A Boy's Reaction Staring At A TV Screen For The First Time. 1948

Image credits: SchoolProjectLad

“For instance,” Gabrielle continued, “war photography was incredibly difficult until the early 1900s since shutter speeds were so slow and exposure times were so long that any movement, like armed battle, wouldn’t be captured by the camera. That didn’t mean that photographers didn’t make images of wars, but that they had to be inventive, using staging, re-enactment, or capturing the aftermath of battle, as Roger Fenton, Mathew Brady, and Timothy O’Sullivan were all very skilled at.”

#7 Keshia Thomas Protects An Alleged Kkk Supporter From A Mob In Ann Arbor, Mi, 1996

Image credits: InevitableClear

#8 A Native American Mother And Her Child - 1900s

Image credits: admaiora_

#9 Coal Miners Coming Up A Coal Mine Elevator After A Day Of Work In 1920's Belgium

Image credits: rockystl

The professor explained that many important photography historians have also traced where these images circulated, who would have seen them, and in what context: “did they have captions? Were they shown in newspapers, or in more spectacular settings like lantern slide presentations, or through a stereoscope which produced a 3D effect for the viewer? Were they used by the government for the purposes of surveillance, or by activists to make claims for social change?”

#10 Annette Kellerman Promotes Women's Right To Wear A Fitted One-Piece Bathing. She Was Arrested For Indecency. (1907)

Image credits: mrkyle31

#11 A Woman Overlooking A Snowy Mountain Pass In The Pyrenees Mountains, France - 1956

Image credits: Cecca105

#12 A Babushka Keeps The Ears Of Her Grandson Warm As He Takes An Oath Of Enlistment For The Russian Army. Volgograd, 1994. Photo Taken By Nikolai Ignatiev

Image credits: reddit.com

“Other photography historians are curious about how photography was used as a fine art form and about how artists like Julia Margaret Cameron, F. Holland Day, and Berenice Abbott adapted the medium to make photographs that were taken as seriously as paintings and sculptures from the same period.”

More recently, there has been an interest among photography historians in the social life of photographs. “It focuses less on the artists who made the images and more on the people who are in them. These historians ask how photographs might be used to claim rights, like citizenship, or to protest social and political injustices,” the professor explained and named some important figures who used images for social justice: “Photographers like Lewis Hine, Raja Deen Dayal, James van der Zee, and later Roy DeCarava, Susan Meiselas, and Zanele Muholi.”

#13 100,000 Iranian Women March Against The Hijab Law, Tehran 1979

Image credits: poaia

#14 An Outdoor Hockey Game In Sweden Is Cut Short, 1959

Image credits: verostein

#15 A Red Cross Nurse Writing Down Last Words Of Mortally Wounded Soldier, Taken Around 1917

Image credits: PeJae

When asked how photography historians determine the date, context, and the participants of the particular photograph if there are no apparent indications, Gabrielle said that most photography historians rely on their technical knowledge of photography to date images that are “orphaned" from their captions.

“We examine the photographic print—its dimensions, the quality of the image, its wear and tear—to determine what kind of camera or printing technique was used. Daguerreotypes produce a mirrored surface, a high level of detail and contrast, but could only be made at very small scales, for instance, while salt prints could be much larger, and printed on paper, but sacrificed a level of detail.”

#16 Acrobats Balance On Top Of The Empire State Building, 1934

Image credits: Itchy_Kiwi

#17 Soviet Tanks Interrupt Young Couple Wedding. Soviet Invasion To Czechoslovakia

Image credits: Muff1995

#18 All Of Them Pick Shrimp At The Peerless Oyster Co. Photo Was Taken While Bosses Were At Dinner As They Refused To Permit The Children To Be In Photos. Out Of 60 Workers, 15 Were Apparently Under 12 Yrs Old. Bay St. Louis, Miss, March 1911

Image credits: NihilisticNoir

Turns out that “early Kodak cameras were the first widely available and cheap mass-produced cameras in North America, introduced in 1888,” Gabrielle said and added that they have particular prints that produce a circular image.

“Determining the context in which an image from the past circulated can be much trickier. Historians often have to look to archives of illustrated newspapers to see if photographs were reproduced there, and often with photographs made for press agencies, like Magnum or Black Star, stamps and captions are included on the back to indicate where the image was seen.”

#19 Firefighters Battle A Blaze In Montreal, 1889

Image credits: Freefight

#20 The Airship Le Jaune Flying Past The Eiffel Tower, In Paris, France. (11/20/1903)

Image credits: X0llynh0BR

#21 Arikara Warrior 'Bear’s Belly' - North Dakota, USA - Photo By Edward Curtis 1909

Image credits: rockystl

However, in the case of private or domestic images, “like portraits, family photo albums, passport photographs, or class photographs,” the professor said that we might not ever know everything we want to know about who is in the photographs, or what context in which they were made. Having said that, she added that “we can use our imaginative capacities to speculate and make educated guesses.”

#22 Mother And Baby Of Family Of Nine Living In Field On U.S. Route 70 Near The Tennessee River, March 1936

Image credits: ghostmrchicken

#23 A Rare Photo Of A Traffic Accident In The Netherlands More Than 100 Years Ago. The Photo Was Taken In 1914

Image credits: AbAladwani

#24 Shepherds Listening To Music Records, Azerbaijan 1939

Image credits: lonerinchaos

According to Gabrielle, as digital photography has become accessible to almost everyone through smart phones, we have begun to value historical photographic processes, “especially ones that have been made obsolete, more highly. Especially the processes that resulted in one-of-a-kind images, like photograms, daguerreotypes, cyanotypes, and Polaroids, because they seem unique and irreproducible.”

#25 Police Officer Wearing A Face Mask During The London Smog In 1952

Image credits: JordenGG

#26 Iron Workers Pose For A Photo Atop The North Tower Of The World Trade Center, 1973

Image credits: DecisionLivid

#27 Las Vegas Police Facing Mike Tyson After He'd Just Bitten Holyfield's Ear Off (1996)

Image credits: SubstantialRange

“In many ways, the more we know about the history of photography, the more we seem to find parallels between now and the past. We might worry that there are 'too many images' in the world through platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or even in the millions of photographs uploaded to Flickr and Facebook each day, but if we look back at some of the earliest cartoons and caricatures about the invention of photography in France in 1839, we see the same panic surrounded the first viable and publicly available photographic method, too,” Gabrielle concluded.

#28 Grand Central Terminal, NYC, The Sun Can't Shine Through Like That Now Due To The Surrounding Tall Buildings. 1929

Image credits: Feiruzz

#29 FDR Using Help To Get Out Of His Car, One Of The Few Photos That Show His Paralytic Illness, Journalists And Photographers Avoided Showing The President In This Weak State Especially During WWII, Taken In The 24th Of September 1932

Image credits: PeJae

#30 Frozen Niagara Falls, 1911

Image credits: reddit.com

#31 Geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor And Meteorologist Charles Wright In The Entrance Of An Ice Grotto. Terra Nova Expedition, Ross Island, 5 January 1911. Photo Taken By Herbert Ponting

Image credits: reddit.com

#32 "The Weightless Cat"-Experiment, Performed Inside The Cockpit Of An F-94c To Test The Effect Of Sub-Gravity Forces On The Body, 8 February 1958

Image credits: Shadoukoa

#33 Oldest Austrian Soldier Of Ww1, A 79-Year-Old Gaspar Wallnöfer, Veteran Of Habsburg Campaigns In Italy In 1848 And 1866, September 1917

Image credits: KandiLili

#34 Sir Richard Owen Standing Next To A Moa Skeleton And Holding The First Bone Fragment Belonging To A Moa Ever Found. 1879

Image credits: jerisad

#35 San Francisco's Iconic Cliff House, Shortly Before It Was Destroyed By Fire In 1907

Image credits: Maynard078

#36 A Young Private Waits On The Beach During The Marine Landing At Da Nang, 1965

Image credits: PeJae

#37 Bob Dylan & Muhammad Ali, Madison Square Gardens, New York, 1975

Image credits: ThePopesRedShoes

#38 A Student Protester Gives The V For Victory Sign In Front Of Chinese Soldiers Of The Pla. Tiananmen Square, 1 June 1989. Photo Taken By Peter Charlesworth

Image credits: reddit.com

#39 An Undercover Police Officer On Duty. New York, Brooklyn, 1 July 1969

Image credits: reddit.com

#40 Children Eating The Half A Liter Of Supplementary Food Per Day Received From The Interkerkelijk Bureau Voor Noodvoedselvoorziening En Kinderuitzending During The Hunger Winter, The Hague, Netherlands, 1944/45, Photo By Menno Huizinga

Image credits: reddit.com

#41 Rome When It Became The Capital Of The Kingdom Of Italy (1871)

Image credits: PinkWarPig

#42 Ethnic Cambodian Guerilla Fighter Danh Son Huol Is Carried To An Improvised Operating Room In A Mangrove Swamp After He Was Wounded By American Bombing. Ca Mau Peninsula, 15 September 1970. Photo Taken By Vo Anh Khanh

Image credits: verostein

#43 Survivors Of 1972 Of The Infamous Andes Plane Crash. The Passengers Resorted To Cannibalism To Survive 72 Days In The Snow

Image credits: hconfiance

#44 John Meintz, An American Farmer Tarred And Feathered By A Mob For His German Heritage And Allegedly Not Supporting War Bond Drives, 1918

Image credits: verostein

#45 Sir David Attenborough As A Young Man, Late 1950s

Image credits: respedi

#46 A British Army Bomb Disposal Specialist Approaches A Suspect Vehicle In Belfast, 1970s

Image credits: theherolt

#47 Conrad O'brien-Ffrench Greets A Bear. Having Spent His Youth As A Mountie, Surviving The First World War And Serving As An Mi6 Agent In The Second World War, He Was Known To Welcome Danger. Banff National Park, 1950. Photo Taken By Rosalie French

Image credits: reddit.com

#48 Burial At Sea On The Uss Intrepid, November 1944

Image credits: itsjesusbrother

#49 Dog Being Posed By A German Soldier, 1940

Image credits: ThickSeptet

#50 Visiting Quarantined Family And Friends At Ullevål Hospital, Oslo - Photo By Anders Beer Wilse - 1905

Image credits: StcStasi

#51 Female Snipers Of The 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front, 775 Confirmed Kills, Germany, May 1945

Image credits: NihilisticNoir

#52 Lockheed Martin Employee Sally Wadsworth Working On The Fuselage Of A P-38 Lightning In California In 1944

Image credits: NihilisticNoir

#53 Czechoslovak Man Posing With Half Loaf Of Bread In Front Of Banner "The Meaning Of The Policy Of The Communist Party Of Czechoslovakia - Paradise For Humans" Communist Czechoslovakia, Probably 1960

Image credits: Muff1995

#54 Berlin, 1923. Less Than Five Years After The End Of The Great War, Germany Economy Lies In Ruins. A Disabled War Veteran Begs In The Street Dressed In His Pre-War Dunkelblau Waffenrock

Image credits: Pavel-Romanov

#55 A Woman Is Humiliated For Having Had Personal Relations With The Germans. In The Montelimar Area, France, French Civilians Shave Her Head As Punishment. August 29, 1944

Image credits: noctus_exterreri

#56 Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards Soars Above A Roaring Crowd At The 1988 Winter Olympics. He Finished Last

Image credits: sadnubbin

#57 Photograph Entitled "Wait For Me, Daddy". It Shows A Child Running To His Father, A Canadian Soldier, Before Being Deployed During The Second World War. Behind You Can See His Mother. October 1, 1940

Image credits: Positive-Objective02

#58 One Of The Many Selfies That Emperor Nicholas II Took Throughout His Life, (1868-1918)

Image credits: Pavel-Romanov

#59 Imperial Japanese Soldiers Climb The Great Wall Of China, 1937

Image credits: Feiruzz

#60 Little John F. Kennedy Jr. Waiting For His Dad, President John F. Kennedy To Land At Camp David, Maryland In October 1963. Jfk Was Assassinated The Very Next Month

Image credits: sputnik-the-sages

#61 American Soldier Wearing The Crown Of The Holy Roman Empire In A Cave In Siegen, Germany, On April 3, 1945

Image credits: Feiruzz

#62 Israeli Soldier Taking A Glass Of Water From The Jordan River After The Six Day War, On His Left Arm Is A Serial Number From The Holocaust. July 1967

Image credits: Feiruzz

#63 A German World War II Prisoner Is Released By The Soviet Union And Reunited With His 12-Year-Old Daughter, Who Has Not Seen Him Since Infancy. 1956

Image credits: noctus_exterreri

#64 American Troops Treat A Wounded Dog On Orote Pennisula. W.Eugene Smith. 1944

Image credits: gnevzmaja

#65 Soldier Stands Besides His M60 Machine Gun, Which Is Mounted On The Steps Of The U.S. Capitol To Deter Rioters From Entering The Building During The Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination Riots In Washington D.C. (April 1968)

Image credits: TrendWarrior101

#66 Homecoming, A British Soldier With His 8 Month Old Daughter As He Arrives At The Docks From Overseas 1945

Image credits: NihilisticNoir

#67 Lee Harvey Oswald, The Assassin Of John F. Kennedy, Being Shot By Jack Ruby On November 24, 1963 While Being Escorted By Dallas Police

Image credits: sarge-g

#68 The Weathered Face Of Norwegian Polar Explorer Tryggve Gran - 1923

Image credits: Sexual-Thunder69

#69 Navajo Riders In The Canyon De Chelly, Arizona. 1904, Photo Taken By Edward Curtis

Image credits: verostein

#70 A Chechen Man Prays During The First Battle Of Grozny, January 1995. The Flame In The Background Is Coming From A Gas Pipeline Which Was Hit By Shrapnel

Image credits: PeJae

#71 Fidel Castro Visiting The Great Wall Of China, 1995

Image credits: Nidzovantije

#72 Soviet Soldier Carrying The Head Of A Statue Of Hitler, Berlin 1945

Image credits: Feiruzz

#73 JFK & Bill Clinton Greeting At The White House, In 1963

Image credits: SmoothlyPass588

#74 A Native American Man Looking Over The Newly Completed Transcontinental Railroad In Nevada, 1869

Image credits: Feiruzz

#75 A U.S. Marine Rescues Two Vietnamese Children During A Gun Battle At The City Of Hue, During The Tet Offensive Of The Vietnam War - 1968

Image credits: 999kid999

#76 Survivors Of Hmas Armidale On A Raft After Their Ship Was Sunk By Japanese Air Attack, December 1942. A Catalina Flying Boat Later Took This Photo But Was Unable To Assist Due To Rough Seas. The Survivors Were Never Found Again

Image credits: Western_Roman

#77 The Result Of Firefighting In Extreme Winter Conditions. The Remains Of The Eureka Building In Chicago. 1920

Image credits: noctus_exterreri

#78 "Kombat" Heroic Image Of A Soviet Political Commissar Of The 220th Infantry Regiment Calling Soldiers To An Assault, Eastern Front, In Soviet Ukraine, 12 July 1942. It Has Been Said That The Subject Of This Photo Died Minutes After It Was Taken

Image credits: PeJae

#79 American Wwi Veterans At A Reunion, 1978

Image credits: PeJae

#80 1858 Picture Of The Last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II. Fun Fact: Persian Word For Mongol Is “Mughal”, It’s Often Overlooked That India Fell Under Mongol Rule. First Emperor Was A Direct Descendant Of Genghis Khan

Image credits: random_reddit_1010

#81 A Red Army Soldier Firing From A Bathtub During The Battle Of Stalingrad, 1942

Image credits: Ybur__

#82 Red Army Infantry Marching Through The Main Street Of Kiev, Ukraine, Following The Liberation Of The City From German Forces - 1943

Image credits: reddit.com

#83 Cetshwayo, King Of The Zulu Who Defeated The British At The Battle Of Isandlwana, 1878

Image credits: Zuccaro1

#84 Young Punks In Communist Hungary - Budapest, 1982

Image credits: videki_man

#85 Pre-Dreadnought Battleship Sms Kaiser Friedrich III Leads The German Home Fleet, 1901

Image credits: Freefight

#86 A Romanian Soldier Giving A Sign Of Victory After The 1989 Revolution, Having Removed The Communist Insignia From His Headwear

Image credits: Feiruzz

#87 U.S. Soldier: Sgt. Ronald Payne, 21, Of Atlanta, Georgia, Emerges From A Viet Cong Tunnel While Holding A Silencer-Equipped Revolver (January 21, 1967)

Image credits: derzto

#88 A Ukrainian-American Family Celebrates The Death Of Stalin, 1953

Image credits: EasternMonandry

#89 The Beatles Pose With “The Greatest”, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), At The Fifth Street Gym On Miami Beach, 1964

Image credits: noctus_exterreri

#90 Mounted Cop Flies Down Tremont Street, Boston 1920s - Photo By Leslie Jones

Image credits: CryptoMyner

#91 President John F. Kennedy And Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet-Boigny In Bubble-Top Limousine, 22nd Of May 1962

Image credits: myrmekochoria

#92 A Family Of Migratory Fruit Workers From Texas During Cherry-Picking Season. Berrien County, Michigan, July 1940

Image credits: Pavel-Romanov

#93 Korean Children Play Near A Church In North Pyongan Province, Japanese Korea (Present-Day North Korea) - 1930s

Image credits: vaish7848

#94 American Deserters Being Publicly Humiliated In Florient, France On November 5, 1918. During Wwi, 2,657 U.S. Servicemen Were Convicted Of Desertion, With 24 Being Sentenced To Death; All Of The Condemned Were Instead Commuted To Prison Terms By President Woodrow Wilson

Image credits: reddit.com

#95 A German Prisoner Of War Rebuilding Stalingrad, 1947

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#96 Today In 1945, The Auschwitz Death Camp Was Discovered And Liberated By The Red Army

Image credits: hollmantron

#97 An Aerial Photo Of The Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong Taken In 1989

Image credits: sgt_hard_times

#98 The Guards Of Maharajah Ram Singh III In The Royal Palace Of Jaipur. India, 1858

Image credits: verostein

#99 Emperor Of Japan Hirohito And Empress Nagako With Their Children And Grandchildren - 1970s

Image credits: vaish7848

#100 The World's Last Commercial Ocean-Going Sailing Ship - The Pamir - Rounding Cape Horn, 1949

Image credits: Bernard_Hunor_Deak

#101 George H.w. Bush Takes A Toboggan Ride With Arnold Schwarzenegger At Camp David. 1991

Image credits: MartaHen