Influential Historical Photos Of All Time

August 18, 2022

By Shreesha Ghosh

Cotton Mill Girl

Working as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labour Committee, Lewis Hine, in 1908, took the iconic Cotton Mill Girl photo, which helped raise awareness about child labour in the US. In a South Carolina cotton mill, Hine discovered 48-inch-tall Sadie Pfeifer and photographed her directly next to the dangerous machinery that she faced each day.

Image source: Alamy

View From The Window At Gras

This is the world’s first photograph by scientist Nicéphore Niépce taken from his house in Saône-et-Loire in 1827. He was fascinated by Lithography and decided to place polished pewter plates coated with a light-sensitive chemical called Bitumen of Judea inside a camera obscura.

Image source: Wikipedia

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, 1932

This historical photo shows the risky life of the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center. 11 men are seen casually eating, chatting and sneaking a smoke 840 feet above Manhattan. The photo became the most perilous yet playful lunch break ever captured.

Image source: Wikipedia

Apollo 8: Earthrise

On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral en route to becoming the first crewed mission to orbit the moon, with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders on board. This iconic image of our first full-colour view of planet Earth was taken by Anders.

Image source: NASA

Afghan Girl

Photojournalist Steve McCurry took this famous photograph during a trip to Afghanistan in 1984 to document the migration of Afghan refugees. The picture is of 17-year-old Sharbat Gula in the refugee camp of Nasir Bagh, Peshawar. It became the symbol of the Afghan struggle and was featured on the front page of National Geographic magazine in June 1985.

Image source: Wikipedia

Pillars of Creation

This photograph, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows formations of interstellar gas and dust resembling elephant trunks. It depicts three towers of gas and dust, standing light-years tall, giving birth to new stars buried within their dusty spires. Located in the Eagle Nebula of the Serpens constellation, it stretches roughly 4 to 5 light-years from Earth.

Image source: NASA

Man on the Moon

In one of the most iconic and famous photographs of the 20th century, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the Moon's surface near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle. Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera in 1969.

Image source: NASA

Dalí Atomicus

Photographer Philippe Halsman created this elaborate scene to illustrate the original work of Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí’s painting Leda Atomica. It included a floating chair and an in-progress easel suspended by thin wires. Halsman's assistants stood out of the frame, ready to throw three cats and a bucket of water into the air while Dalí jumped..

Image source: Wikipedia

Cockatoo Rendezvous

Prince Charles and Princess Anne meet with Broadcaster David Attenborough's three-year-old cockatoo "Cocky" during their visit to the BBC Television Studios at Lime Grove in 1958

Image source: Alamy