Photographs are not merely images; they are memories, emotions, and slices of life, frozen in time. They transport us back to the moment they were taken or the first time we saw them. This is the powerful emotional pull that photos have.

It’s fascinating how this art form, intertwined with technology, manages to preserve moments so effectively. Often, we focus on the stories and events behind the photos, but we rarely consider the photographer or the camera that made it all possible.

Behind every iconic photo, there’s a camera and a photographer who decided to immortalize that moment. Whether it’s a beloved album cover, a timeless magazine cover, or a historic event like D-Day, someone made the choice to capture it on film.

Considering how these photos transport us through time, we wanted to share some of the most iconic photos in history along with the cameras that captured them. In a world where millions of photos are taken daily, these singular images have left a lasting impact.

Scroll down to check out these historical photos that mark significant points in human history, along with the cameras that captured them. Let us know what you think about the photos, the scenes, and the cameras in the comments below.

#1 “Earthrise” By William Anders, 1968 / Modified Hasselblad 500 El

This photo by astronaut William Anders, titled “Earthrise” was taken during the Apollo 8 mission on December 24, 1968. The astronaut used a heavily modified Hasselblad 500 EL camera with an electric drive. The photo was captured on custom 70 mm Kodal Ektachrome film.

#2 Lyle Owerko, 2001 / Fuji 645zi

Photographer Lyle Owerko captured the tragic events of 9/11 using a Fuji 645zi camera. One of the photos he took that day even made it to the cover of TIME magazine.

#3 “The Hindenburg Disaster” By Sam Shere, 1937 / Speed Graphic

The Hindenburg airship disaster that happened in Manchester Township, New Jersey on May 6, 1937, was captured by Sam Shere using a Graflex Speed Graphic camera. Out of the 97 people that were on board during the flight, 36 died.

#4 “Burning Monk” By Malcolm Browne, 1963 / Petri

Malcolm Browne used a simple Petri rangefinder camera to capture the iconic photo of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in Saigon back on 11 June, 1963.

#5 “Afghan Girl” By Steve McCurry, 1984 / Nikon Fm2

The iconic portrait of the Afghan Girl, Sharbat Gula, was captured by photojournalist Steve McCurry back in 1984 using a Nikon FM2 camera. The photograph made it on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic but the girl’s real identity remained a mystery until 2002.

#6 “Tank Man” By Jeff Widener, 1989 / Nikon Fe2

The unidentified Chinese man, nicknamed Tank Man, that stood in front of a line of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, was captured by photographer Jeff Widener on a Nikon FE2 camera.

#7 “Migrant Mother” By Dorothea Lange, 1936 / Graflex Super D

This dramatic photograph of Florence Owens Thompson and her children was captured by photographer Dorothea Lange on March 6, 1936. The photo was taken inside a pea-pickers’ camp on Nipomo Mesa after freezing rain destroyed the crop, leaving the workers without work and pay.

#8 Abbey Road Album Cover By Iain Macmillan, 1969 / Hasselblad

The legendary photo of The Beatles on Abbey Road was captured by photographer Iain Macmillan back in 1969. The photographer used a Hasselblad camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens.

#9 “V-J Day In Times Square” By Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1945 / Leica IIIa

Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured this photo of a US Navy sailor kissing a stranger in New York City’s Times Square back on August 14, 1945. Even though many people claimed they are the ones in the pictures, the real subjects in the photo are unknown.

#10 “D-Day” By Robert Capa, 1944 / Contax II

Photographer Robert Capa captured the events of D-Day using his Contax II camera. He was one of the first troops to land on Omaha Beach and managed to take 106 pictures while under fire. Sadly, only 11 of those survived due to a processing accident in the Life magazine photo lab in London.

#11 “Raising The Flag On Iwo Jima” By Joe Rosenthal, 1945 / Speed Graphic

Photographer Joe Rosenthal captured this photo of six US Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. Sadly, three of the six soldiers were killed in action during the few following days.

#12 “Invasion 68: Prague”, By Josef Koudelka, 1968 / Exacta Varex

Photographer Josef Koudelka captured the military forces invading Prague back in 1968. His negatives were smuggled out of Prague and anonymously published in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer).

#13 Paul Goresh / Minolta Xg-1

This chilling photograph of John Lennon and his would-be killer Mark David Chapman was captured by photographer Paul Goresh just hours before the legendary Beatle was shot near his home in New York City.

#14 “Raising A Flag Over The Reichstag” By Yevgeny Khaldei, 1945 / Leica III

Photographer Yevgeny Khaldei took this picture of Russian soldiers raising a flag over the Reichstag during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May, 1945 using his Leica III camera.

#15 “The Terror Of War” By Nick Ut, 1972 / Leica M3

Vietnamese American photographer Huỳnh Công Út (Nick Ut) captured this eerie photograph of a 9-year-old girl Phan Thị Kim Phúc running away from a South Vietnamese napalm strike that hit the Trảng Bàng village on June 8, 1972.

#16 “Tokyo Stabbing” By Yasushi Nagao, 1960 / Speed Graphic

Photographer Yasushi Nagao captured the assassination of Japanese politician Inejiro Asanuma by 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi on October 12, 1960. The picture won the photographer a Pulitzer Prize and was named World Press Photo of the Year.

#17 “The Shooting Of Lee Harvey Oswald” By Robert Jackson, 1963 / Nikon S3

Nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who killed US President John F. Kennedy, in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters on live television just two days after his crime. The photo was captured by photographer Robert Jackson using a Nikon S3 camera.

#18 “Guerillero Heroico” By Alberto Korda, 1969 / Leica M2

Photographer Alberto Korda took the photo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Havana, Cuba, back on March 5, 1960. Guevara was 31 years old when the picture was taken.

#19 “The Soiling Of Old Glory” By Stanley Forman, 1976 / Nikon F

Photographer Stanley Forman shot this photograph titled “The Soiling of Old Glory” on April 5, 1976. It shows a white teenager, Joseph Rakes, attacking a black civil rights activist Ted Landsmark using a flagpole with the American flag. The photo went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

#20 “Fire Escape Collapse” By Stanley Forman, 1975 / Nikon F

The heartbreaking photo showing 19-year-old Diana Bryant and her 2-year-old goddaughter Tiare Jones falling off a collapsed fire escape was captured on July 22, 1975, by photographer Stanley Forman using a Nikon F camera.
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