12 Facts Behind Famous Photos (12 Pics)


We all know the famous saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. And both, pictures and photos are made to totally immerse us in one specific moment. Sometimes, they inspire us to do great things, sometimes they make us cry or smile. And every picture (or a photo) hides a story behind it.

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima

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The photo of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising a U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi, was taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. This was actually the second rising of the flag because the first one was too small. Over 6,800 Americans and 21,000 Japanese lost their lives in that battle.

Nirvana’s Swimming Baby

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This photo was taken by Kirk Weddle and it was used on the cover of Nirvana’s album “Nevermind”. The baby was the four-month-old son of Weddle’s friends. The kid is not actually swimming. The photographer said that the child’s mom dunked him into the water for a brief second and there you go, the most memorable album cover.

V-J Day Kiss

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This photo was taken on August 14, 1945, by a photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. As soon as this picture was published on the cover of the LIFE magazine, it became famous all around the world. That picture of a sailor kissing a young nurse depicted the happiness people felt at the end of the World War 2. The two “lovebirds” had actually never met prior to this photo. They are George Mendosa and Greta Friedman. And the photographer said in one of his interviews that there had been thousands of people around him and that everyone had been kissing each other. You can even see the Mendosa’s wife Rita in the background smiling.

The Funny Einstein

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A photographer, Arthur Sasse, tried to get Einstein smile for the camera on his 72nd birthday. In that moment, Einstein stuck his tongue out, and that is how we have this most awkward photo of the scientist.

Afghan Girl

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The photo of a beautiful young Afghan girl was taken by Steve McCurry during a Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The girl was an Afghan refugee and her photo went around the world as a cover of the 1985 issue of National Geography. The girl is Sharbat Gula, and McCurry tracked her in 2002 and showed her this photo for the first time.

Che Guevara

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This most famous portrait of Che Guevara was taken by Alberto Korda who only went to Cuba to cover the funeral of the victims of a ship explosion in Havana Harbor. And he shot two more photos and kept them in some drawer because no one was interested enough to publish them. However, after Guevara was killed in Bolivia, seven years later, people embraced him as a hero and a martyr for the revolution and his photos are now a symbol of a revolution.

The Abbey Road Cover

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This photos had to be “touched” a little bit. It is the Abbey Road album cover and the most famous photo of the Beatles. However, the US poster companies had to remove the cigarette from Paul’s Hand.

Muhammad Ali VS Sonny Liston

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Maybe the greatest sports photo of all times was taken by a chance. The Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer was the one who took the photo and he was only able to catch that moment because his senior colleague (who can be seen between Ali’s knees) pulled rank to claim the opposite side of the ring which was considered to be the best one. That made Neil Leifer, the right person, in the right place at the right time.

The Hindenburg Disaster

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This photograph, taken by Sam Shere, was only one of the hundreds of other photos taken by photographers that were present on the site. The crash of this zeppelin killed 36 people on May 6, 1937. And this photo published on front pages all around the world and used as a cover for Led Zeppelin’s album was the one that captured the essence of the disaster and brought the age of the airships to the end.

The Man In Front of a Tank

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The act of this unknown man became a symbol of defiance around the world. The man that took this photo, Jeff Widener, had to protect it from the government. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Liu Heung-Shing who was also covering the incident was the first one to advise Jeff to conceal his photos. That is why Jeff went down to the hotel lobby, where he found an American man with a backpack. He paid him to sneak the film to the Associated Press.

The Loch Ness Monster

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This photo was taken by a surgeon, Robert Wilson. It was on the front page of London’s Daily Mail in April 1934 and it appeared in many magazines and newspapers afterward. However, in 1994, Christopher Spurling admitted in 1994 that everything was just a hoax, created by his stepfather Marmaduke Wetherell. Allegedly, he made a miniature model of a “monster” and hired a famous doctor, Wilson, to take that picture.

Michael Jordan

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The Michael Jordan’s “Jumpman” is the most famous silhouette. It was taken for “LIFE” magazine’s photoshoot in 1994 by Jacobus “Co” Rentmeester. It was staged and it doesn’t exactly look like the real Jordan’s dunking style. Jordan only leaped up from a still position to create a pose similar to a ballet technique known as “grand jete”. Nike paid $15,000 to Rentmeester to use this as their logo for two years, however, they have continued using it since then. Rentmeester sued Nike, however that suit was dismissed in 2015.

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