Wright Brothers Flight, 1903
Photograph by John T. Daniels
The first flight. The discovery of Machu Picchu. The release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Revisit these events—and other defining moments of the last 150 years—with images from 100 Days in Photographs, a new book from National Geographic and Getty Images.
Above: It speaks volumes for the rapid rise of photography that a camera was present at Kitty Hawk on the historic day in 1903 when Orville and Wilbur Wright's Flyer I first took to the sky. The honor of pressing the shutter button actually went to John T. Daniels, who'd come from the nearby Coast Guard station to observe the endeavors of what he termed "a pair of poor nuts." The famous first flight, seen here, spanned 120 feet (37 meters) and lasted 12 seconds.
Searching for the North Pole
Photograph by Admiral Robert E. Peary
Robert E. Peary documented his 1909 trip to the North Pole with a No. 4 Folding Pocket Kodak. Though the camera was lost, images taken with it were used by the National Geographic Society in 1989 to determine that Peary's claim of reaching the Pole, the subject of controversy since the day he made it, was valid. In this photo, Peary scouts the Arctic terrain using a telescope.
First Archaeology Photos
Photograph by Hiram Bingham
Hiram Bingham, a meticulous record keeper, had a Kodak 3A Autographic Special camera among his gear when he discovered the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu in 1911. Among the first views he captured was this stunning panorama of the ruins, with their ancient terraces and stonework buildings of white granite. The mountain Hyana Picchu towers over it all.
Tomb of Tutankhamun, 1922
Photograph by Maynard Owen Williams
Dignitaries ring the entrance to King Tutankhamun's tomb during a visit in 1922 by the Egyptian sultana. The opening of the boy-king's tomb on November 26, 1922, brought archaeologists, cameramen, treasure hunters, and reporters from all over the world. There was "drama in the very air of the place," wrote National Geographic correspondent Maynard O. Williams.
Pearl Harbor Attack, 1941
Photograph courtesy the National Archives/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
The Roosevelt Administration was happy to give the U.S. press access to the images of Japanese infamy at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For months, Roosevelt had been seeking to sway American opinion into supporting the war. Images like this one of the sinking U.S.S. West Virginia and Tennessee quickly put an end to the policy of American isolationism.
Atomic Bomb Attack, 1945
Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt
This photograph of a Japanese mother and child in the wreckage of Hiroshima was taken four months after the atomic bomb landed on the city in August of 1945. The bomb, dubbed "Little Boy," released an explosion equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT on Hiroshima. The tail gunner of the B-29 that dropped the bomb described the devastation as "like bubbling molasses down there ... the mushroom is spreading out ... it's like a peep into hell."
John F. Kennedy Funeral, 1963
Photograph by David S. Boyer
Photojournalist David S. Boyer's famous November 25, 1963, photo of the Kennedy family standing on the steps of St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., following the Requiem Mass for President Kennedy is one of the most poignant images of the 20th century. The picture of three-year-old John F. Kennedy, Jr., saluting his father's coffin tugged at a grieving nation's heartstrings.
The Beatles, 1967
Photograph by John Downing
The Beatles released the enormously influential Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album on June 1, 1967. The first ever "concept album," it garnered four Grammy Awards and went on to become one of the most innovative and successful recordings in music history.
Nelson Mandela's Release, 1990
Photograph by Alexander Joe
Seventy-one-year-old Nelson Mandela, with wife Winnie, greets the world outside South Africa's Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990, after nearly 26 years as a political prisoner. "Within 20 feet [6 meters] or so of the gate," Mandela later wrote, "the cameras started clicking, a noise that sounded like some great herd of metallic beasts."
9/11 Ground Zero, 2001
Photograph by Thomas E. Franklin
Firefighters at the fallen World Trade Center raise an American flag at ground zero on September 11, 2001. Nearly instantaneous television and Internet coverage meant the horrors of 9/11 were witnessed by a large portion of the world's population. For the first time ever, ordinary people had ringside seats as history unfolded.
Saddam Statues, 2005
Photograph by Mauricio Lima
Two U.S. soldiers pose in front of giant stone statues of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in November 2005. The war in Iraq has been the first in history to be played out in its entirety in front of film cameras, from countdown to invasion, from rapid conquest to the grueling misery of occupation.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Photograph by David J. Phillip
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans' St. Bernard Parish await rescue on a roof spray-painted with messages to loved ones. Wrote history professor Douglas Brinkley: "I had felt immune to the disaster. ... Then this simple image of the forlorn roof, not at all graphic, cut like a knife. For painted in white on the rooftop was the simple saying: 'Love You Kids.'"
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