In a photo, what you see is what you get, right? Well, not necessarily. It may not always be apparent, but there are some photos that have some interesting backstories. They’re like a piece of history caught by photographers that are truly unbelievable. And what you’re about to see is a collection of unexpected photos that may seem ordinary, and yet they’re anything but. There’s a backstory behind each and every one of these images that will leave you absolutely flabbergasted. Once you see them, you’ll know that behind every seemingly normal photo, there are usually some bizarre facts or a hidden secret.
Lina Medina was only 5, but a condition called precocious puberty allowed her to conceive a child. And on May 14, 1939, she had a Caesarean section and gave birth to a little boy. Both mother and child were in good health, but the identity of the father was never revealed.
The photo snapped by American photographer James Stanfield shows Zytkiewicz holding a photo of himself on the operating table with Doctor Zbigniew Religa sitting beside him. It took 23 hours to complete the surgery, but Dr. Religa stayed up to monitor Zytkiewicz.
Brothers Michael and Sean McQuilken took this photo at Moro Rock in California's Sequoia National Park on August 20, 1975, right before getting struck by lightning. At first, they thought it was funny. They had taken a photo of their sister, so she reciprocated and took a picture of them. Michael recalls what happened next, "I raised my right hand into the air and the ring I had on began to buzz so loudly that everyone could hear it. I found myself on the ground with the others. Sean was collapsed and huddled on his knees. Smoke was pouring from his back." Everyone survived, but in 1989, Sean passed away after taking his own life.
The photo was taken by Jacques Gourmelen, which shows Guy Burmieux, a worker, and Jean-Yvon Antignac, a cop, instantly recognizing each other as childhood friends. Burmieux grabbed the cop by the collar and cried with rage as he said, “Go ahead and hit me while you’re at it!” But the cop did nothing.
Elisabeth and Bengt were having a tiff and then Bengt smacked Elisabeth. Ferrato couldn’t any to publish the photo until 1991, when she had the photo published in the domestic violence themed book “Living With the Enemy.” Her efforts led to Congress passing 1994’s Violence Against Women Act.
After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Pripyat, Ukraine, in 1986, the three men remained behind so they could drain the fluid near the reactor. Had they failed, the radioactive substance would have caused the reactor core to fall into the pool leading to a steam explosion and an even bigger disaster.
The little girl was called Terezka. After growing up in a concentration camp, she found some peace at a home for emotionally disturbed children in Warsaw. But from the scribblings on the chalkboard and the look on her face, the little girl was still deeply troubled by the horrors she had witnessed.
At the time, photographer John Gaunt was hanging around his beach home, when all of a sudden, he heard the desperate please of one of his neighbors. “Something’s happening on the beach!” he shouted. As John approached the beach, he noticed a man and a woman in a panic state. Their 18-month-old child had wandered off and had been swept off by the ocean. Reactions at the time were mixed, with some people criticizing the photographer for taking a horrific private moment and making it last for eternity. In the end, the heartwrenching photo earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
The unsuspecting photo was taken in 1999. But you see those two kids on the left who are pretend-shooting at the photographer? They're none other than Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two high-school shooters who organized the Columbine massacre.
A trapped battalion of nearly 200 WW1 soldiers sent this pigeon to deliver a message to their allies. The brave bird suffered multiple gunshots and lost an eye and a leg along the way, but she completed her mission and the soldiers nicknamed her “Cher Ami,” which means “dear friend” in French.
Lucille Chalifoux's husband Ray had recently lost his job. She was also pregnant with the couple's fifth child. The family was facing eviction and with so many mouths to feed and another baby on the way, the couple decided to auction off their kids. In this shot, Lucille is covering her face, trying to hide from the photojournalist taking the shot. Rumor has it that all the kids ended up getting sold off or given to a home. Some believe the kids ended up becoming slaves.
John Salter, Joan Trumpauer, and Anne Moody from the Tougaloo College, a black college, sat at a whites-only counter at Woolworth’s five-and-dime store in Jackson. In the photo, people threw mustard, ketchup, and sugar on them for their defiance. But it led to a big change in the civil rights movement.
The photo was taken in Vancouver in October 1945 by Claude Detloff. The soldiers of the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles lined up to head out to the frontlines in World War II. But one child ran to his father because he didn’t want him to leave. Thankfully, the soldier returned to him in one piece.
Stirm had been a prisoner of war in North Korea for more than five years. The 15-year-old girl running towards him with open arms is his daughter, Lorrie. The photo was taken by Slava Veder and it won a Pulitzer for capturing such an emotional period in this soldier’s life.
The heartwrenching moment was captured by photographer Horace Cort. Seven days before this shot was taken, Martin Luther King Jr got arrested for trespassing at the Monson Motor Lodge motel. The protesters who supported King organized a swim-in in the motel's pool. In an effort to break their protest, Jimmy Brock, the motel manager, can be seen casually pouring muriatic acid into the pool.
In order to perform such a demanding task, the apartment building was split into two, making it easier to just move each part separately. The workers moved 55 meters to one side. Then, after 6 long and grueling hours, they managed to move the 7,600-ton building.
Antoine recalls watching a man walk slowly towards him. His name was Ishran, and he was bawling his eyes out. Ishran's son, whom he referred to as his pride and joy, had been electrocuted and had passed away. The man told Antoine that he was the spitting image of his dead son. There was a local dance troupe doing a dance and performing out in the open. The photographer recalled what went down when he asked the man if he could dance for him. "It was beautiful, not because the man is beautiful, but because he represents something deep inside the collective consciousness of the Armenian community: a celebratory resilience in the face of overwhelming loss.”
After a spectacular performance in Chicago’s Civic Opera House, Maria was intercepted by a man serving her with papers by U.S. Marshal Stanley Pringle and Deputy Sheriff Dan Smith. As soon as she took a look at the paperwork, Maria screamed, "I will not be sued! I have the voice of an angel! No man can sue me."
The picture was taken in Falun, Sweden, 1971. Osama was 16 years old at the time, and all 23 members of the Bin Laden family were staying around the area, as one of the oldest brothers was doing business with Volvo.
In 1950, a group of refugees is fighting tooth and nail to cross over the dismantled Pyongyang bridge over North Korea's Taedong River. The photographer ended up taking home the coveted Pulitzer Prize a year later thanks to this unbelievable shot.