50 Iconic and Rare Historical Photographs

We at HistoryColored have decided to curate 50 interesting, rare and iconic photos from history. There are many reasons why a photograph may be featured on this list. Some of the reasons include: it was the first time something was ever captured on camera, it shows a famous figure from history, the image depicts an important historical event, it is a “rare” photo that does not get shared as much as it should, or it is an “iconic” historical photo. It may not fall under any of these categories but can still be featured in this list for a different reason.

These photographs are in no particular order. They have been curated and added to the list over a long period of time, so no decision was taken on how they should be ordered. Be sure to take the time to check out every historical photograph featured on this list!

As well as this list, be sure to check out the other photos featured on HistoryColored!

1. The First Photograph Ever Taken, 1826 or 1827

The first photograph in history, the view from a window at Le Gras in 1826 or 1827.
The oldest surviving photograph to exist. It was taken by pioneer photographer, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The scene depicts a view from a window in Nicéphore Niépce’s estate known as Le Gras in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, Bourgogne, France in 1826 or 1827. Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

2. General William Tecumseh Sherman, circa 1865

Side profile photograph of General William Tecumseh Sherman in his Union Army military uniform in c. 1865
Side profile of Union Army Major General, and the Commanding General of the US Army, William Tecumseh Sherman, in his Union Army military uniform in circa 1865. Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

3. Dali Atomicus, 1948

Salvador Dali suspended in mid air along with other objects within the iconic photograph Dali Atomicus taken in 1948
The photographic artwork by Philippe Halsman called “Dali Atomicus” showing three cats water, an easel, a chair, and Salvador Dalí all frozen in mid-air, 1948. This was the 28th attempt at taking this photograph. Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain

4. The Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics, 1927

Key attendees of the 1927 Solvay conference photographed sitting down and in suits. The names are Auguste Piccard, Émile Henriot, Paul Ehrenfest, Édouard Herzen, Théophile de Donder, Erwin Schrödinger, Jules-Émile Verschaffelt, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Ralph Howard Fowler, Léon Brillouin,
Peter Debye, Martin Knudsen, William Lawrence Bragg, Hendrik Anthony Kramers, Paul Dirac, Arthur Compton, Louis de Broglie, Max Born, Niels Bohr,
Irving Langmuir, Max Planck, Marie Skłodowska Curie, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, Paul Langevin, Charles Eugène Guye, Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, Owen Willans Richardson
The 1927 Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics at the Institut International de Physique Solvay in Brussels, Belgium. This image features many of the greatest scientists in modern history. Some of those that you may recognize are: Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, and Auguste Piccard. See the full list of names here. Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

5. King George V & Tsar Nicholas II Together, 1913

Nicholas II of Russia photographed alongside similar looking and cousin King George V of the United Kingdom, while wearing military uniform.
First cousins and royals Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (left) & King George V of the United Kingdom (right) photographed together wearing military uniforms in Berlin, Germany, 1913. Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain

6. The Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

Photographs of the Manhattan Bridge under construction. You can see the layout of the bridge but there is still a lot to build. March 23 1909.
The construction of the Manhattan Bridge on the East River in New York City. This photograph was taken on March 23, 1909. The bridge finished construction in 1909 and first opened up on the 31st of December 1909. Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain

7. Soviet Prisoner of War, 1940

An injured Prisoner of War from the Soviet Union with a bandage around his bloody head, with clothing wrapped around his body. He looks cold as he is near the Arctic Circle where temperatures can get to -43 degrees Celsius
An injured Soviet Prisoner of War (POW) dressed in new clothes near the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland, during the Winter War on the 6th of January 1940. Credit: Military Museum of Finland // CC BY 4.0

8. Dr. Wernher von Braun with 5 F-1 Engines

Aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun standing next to five F-1 rocket engines in 1969.
Dr. Wernher von Braun, an aerospace engineer that was a leading figure in Nazi German rocket technology, and then United States rocket technology, photographed standing in front of five F-1 rocket engines in circa 1969. Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domains

Father of Three Missing after the Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Tragedy struck on March 26, 2024, when a container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, resulting in what the US Coast Guard classified as a major marine casualty. Among the presumed dead is Miguel Luna, a husband and father of three, who left for work on the bridge but never returned home. Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA, expressed grief over the loss of Luna, a longtime member of their community,

María del Carmen Castellón, Luna’s wife, expressed devastation over the uncertainty surrounding his fate. Colleague Jesús Campos echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the human toll of the tragedy.

After more than 14 hours of search and rescue efforts, authorities suspended operations, leaving questions about additional victims unanswered. Two workers were rescued, one in serious condition, shedding light on the magnitude of the disaster. The collision occurred after the container vessel, DALI, experienced a total blackout, hindering its ability to navigate. Despite efforts by the ship’s pilot to avert disaster, the vessel struck the bridge. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) initiated an investigation into the incident, with initial damage estimates exceeding $500,000. As the community mourns the loss of life and grapples with the aftermath, authorities seek to determine the cause of this tragic event.

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