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Monday, 12 November 2012
Ordinary Photos Hiding Mind-Blowing Details
We live in an age where we're constantly bombarded by images from every conceivable direction, and as a result we rarely stop to look at them for more than a few seconds, unless they come with the promise of a visible areola. However, sometimes a photo that looks completely boring and mundane at first glance can reveal mind-blowing details once you bother to take a closer look at it. Like two visible areolas.
The next time you're absent-mindedly scrolling down your Tumblr feed, keep in mind that one of those photos you're ignoring could be hiding something that will change the world ...
#8. Spot the Dictator
If we asked you to name the most significant thing about this picture, you'd probably say "The fact that everyone's wearing the same hat." However, there are two historically important things about it: First, this was taken on August 2, 1914, at Munich's Odeonsplatz, and it shows the cheerful reaction of a German crowd in the plaza during the announcement of World War I, because there's no way something like that could go wrong for them. Remember, at this point words like "Nazi" and "Holocaust" meant nothing to the German people.
The second thing is that within this crowd, there's a subtle hint of the terror that awaits the country -- take a closer look at the man in the circle and see if you recognize him ...
"World war? Now there's an idea."
Yep, that's a 26-year-old Adolf Hitler looking stoked that his country is going to war, or possibly asking people if they like his new mustache. He's two decades away from hijacking the nation into Nazism and leading them into an even more devastating global conflict.
Altona-Behrenfeld, 1933 You can't see his legs, but judging from that haircut, he must have been wearing cigarette jeans.
The photo was taken by Heinrich Hoffmann, who would go on to become Hitler's personal photographer. In 1932, Hitler visited Hoffmann's photo lab and mentioned that he was in the 1914 Odeonsplatz crowd. Hoffmann looked in his negatives and, sure enough, found a face that could only belong to the future Fuhrer.
Hoffmann Collection, U.S. National Archives "Or Charlie Chaplin. But most likely the Fuhrer."
Recently, German historians have put the authenticity of the photo in doubt, claiming that Hoffmann could have faked it to shut up critics who questioned his boss' patriotism. While we wouldn't put something like that past Hitler, those guys will excuse us if we don't trust the historians in a country where half the children still don't know what Nazism was.
#7. Tank Man Begins
If someone posted this image in your Facebook feed, you'd probably glance at it for half a second and assume that it's a completely normal photo of two guys running in the park (even though they have some perfectly good bikes right in front of them that they could use instead). However, once you look at the background, two odd little details stand out. The first one, of course, is that there are tanks coming from the upper right corner:
Where's the Tiananmen Square Tank Man when you need him?
So, despite the first guy's amused expression, these guys aren't just jogging: They're escaping from tanks. The second, even more significant detail is the lone man who can be seen between the trees behind Chuckles here -- a lone man standing in the middle of the street, carrying two grocery bags, in front of some tanks.
"The gypsy lady said that when the time came, I would know what my nickname means."
Yes, that's the (still unknown) dude from the famous photo of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, seconds before he planted himself before a bunch of tanks sent to disperse protesters and forced them to stop there for an awkwardly long time.
"So, uh, what mileage do you get from these things?"
The photo was taken by Reuters correspondent Terril Jones, who figured that no one would care about it once he noticed that someone else had photographed the same situation from a far better angle. Jones didn't publish the photo until 2009, after reading a New York Times retrospective on Tank Man, but the most mind-blowing part is that it shows how deliberate the unknown man's actions were. He didn't just cross the street one day and run into some tanks -- he saw them coming a mile away and intentionally stayed there to block their passage.
Meanwhile, this dude was probably looking for the nearest bathroom.
#6. Spot the Dictator II
Quick, which one of the kids in this picture is currently a murderous dictator? This looks like a completely normal class photo, but one of those innocent young faces actually belongs to an infamous public figure of today, and no, believe it or not, it's not the kid with the backward cap. Here, we'll help you out:
This is right before they saved summer camp with an upbeat rap battle.
Even with the red circle and all, it's still hard to understand how the next Saddam Hussein could be in this picture, since not only does it look fairly recent, but these seem like average, happy children having fun. In case you haven't guessed it yet, the kid in the circle is Kim Jong Un, the current "Dear Leader" of North Korea, a communist regime that, yes, still murders its citizens whenever it feels like doing so and labels them as "war criminals" for so much as talking on a cellphone.
As it turns out, in his teenage years, Kim Jong Un was sent to Switzerland for schooling. From 1996 to 2001, he studied and made friends with classmates who were unaware of his true identity. At that point the only thing Kim cared about was playing basketball and, given the time frame, possibly his namesake from the Power Rangers.
It's the exact same face, give or take a few chins.
In 2001, "Pak Un," as his friends knew him, simply didn't show up to school one day, and they didn't see him again until about 10 years later, when North Korea's then-ruler Kim Jong Il died and his successor turned out to be a guy they went to school with. That should make the next class reunion awkward, whether he shows up and kills a bunch of people or not.
#5. Bill Paxton Making a Cameo on the Day JFK Was Shot
You can probably tell, just from the lustful look on the face of every woman (and some of the men) present in this picture, that they are looking at president John F. Kennedy. In fact, this picture was taken while Kennedy was giving a speech at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth on November 22, 1963, the same day he was shot and killed.
So what crazy detail are we looking for here? Lee Harvey Oswald waving from a window? The Illuminati? Nope, but check out the little kid in the back:
Hint: Upon learning what happened to the president, he started yelling "Game over, man! Game over!"
Look familiar? If you've seen Aliens, Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic or Aliens (no one's seen it just once), then it damn well should, because that's freakin' Bill Paxton at age 8.
Getty We feel it would be criminal not to remind you that he was Chet in Weird Science.
On the day of Kennedy's assassination, little Billy Paxton's brother convinced their dad to take them to see the president talk. Apparently Paxton's dad wasn't a huge fan of civic acts, because in the photo the kid is actually sitting on the shoulders of some guy he'd never met. Here's another angle:
Paxton was 8 feet 10 inches tall by age 9.
Paxton even has the photos himself -- you know, just in case anyone asks him to provide an alibi for that day. And speaking of presidents ...
#4. The Secret in Washington's Mouth
This is as ubiquitous as a face gets. You've probably seen this image hundreds of times, maybe even thousands, if you're a rich person who enjoys sleeping on piles of money. A version of this unfinished portrait of George Washington adorns every dollar bill (go on, dig into your pocket and compare for yourself). However, have you ever taken a close look at his mouth?
We usually get too lost in those dreamy eyes to notice anything else.
More specifically, have you ever noticed how freaking huge it seems? He looks like he's storing nuts for the winter in there, or possibly a whole squirrel. As many of you no doubt already know, Washington lost his teeth and had to use dentures -- however, his mouth didn't always look as bulgy as it does in his most famous portrait.
The only thing that all the artists could agree on was that the man loved his rouge.
As it happens, on the day when Washington sat for the portrait that would go on to show up on your money, he was wearing a spare set of dentures because his usual ones were broken. In a letter to his doctor, he begged him to fix his other dentures quickly because these "are both uneasy in the mouth and bulge my lips out in such a manner as to make them appear considerably swelled."
"My friends will think Martha has been hitting me again."
Washington withstood the torture and sat in front of artist Gilbert Stuart for hours because his wife had personally commissioned the portrait ... and in the end, it was all for nothing, because Stuart intentionally left the painting unfinished so he could keep it in his studio and use it to make duplicates that he'd sell for big bucks. That's how the painting became so popular despite never being finished, and as a result we now think of our first president as being considerably more big-mouthed than he really was.
#3. The First Picture of a Person. Ever.
Have you noticed how in every old-timey photo from the first half of the 19th century the streets always happen to be empty? They all look like the set of I Am Legend or something. This is because back then taking a single photo was a huge pain in the ass: Early cameras would take up to 10 minutes to actually get an image, and no one was willing to sit still that long just for the benefit of having their soul stolen by a strange machine. Nothing that moved showed up in pictures, so people didn't really start taking photos of other people until the latter part of the century.
The above photo from 1838 is a perfect example of this: It's just another lame-ass black-and-white street with no one in it -- except for that one guy getting his shoe shined. See him? Here he is zoomed up:
Gah, it's Slender Man! Start punching!
The image was taken by Louis Daguerre, who probably didn't think it would gain notoriety 170 years later when a blogger would point out that it was the first photo of a human being ever taken, even if he looks more like some sort of shadow creature. Another blogger created a colorized version where you can see him much more clearly:
This was a complicated process, because as you know they hadn't invented color back then.
The identity of the first man to be photographed, of course, is unknown. How much did he pay for the shoeshine? Was he making a duck face when the picture was taken? Sadly, we'll never know.
#2. The First Picture of a Person ... Flipping You Off
If you asked us what's so amazing about this picture of an 1886 baseball team, we'd simply point out the obvious: This was taken at a classier time when men wore top hats to the stadium and 18 out of 24 baseball players had objectively awesome mustaches. However, look closely at the man in the upper left corner -- more specifically, at what he's telling you to do with his hand:
"Suck it, future boy."
That's legendary pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn in the first known instance of someone giving the finger to the camera. Seriously, if there's an earlier picture of this gesture, no one has found it -- how many of you even knew that old-timey people flipped each other off just like we do? We always figured they went straight to dueling each other.
Radbourn was a fairly popular player in the 1880s, and is still the only pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to win 60 games in one season. Heck, he even had his own baseball card:
"A pack a day keeps me strong and fit!" Anyway, he died at age 43.
Wait, what's he doing with his ...?
"And you suck it, too, even-further-in-the-future boy."
Holy shit, he's the second person to flip off a camera, too. You know what, maybe his fingers were frozen like that -- which makes sense, considering that Charley Hoss, as the other players called him, is apparently where the term "charley horse" comes from.
#1. The German Who Didn't Give a Support
It's easy to think that everyone in Nazi Germany was a monster because, well, it was Nazi Germany. This photo of a crowd of seemingly regular people performing the Nazi salute certainly doesn't help fight that perception -- the photo was taken at the launch of a German army vessel in 1936, during a ceremony that was attended by Adolf Hitler himself. As you can see, everyone in attendance is showing their undying support for Der Fuhrer by throwing out their very best "Seig Heil."
Well, almost everyone:
"As soon as they serve the hors d'oeuvres, I'm outta here."
Look closer -- not only is this guy not doing the salute at a time and a place where that could have easily gotten him killed, but he's actually wearing his best "meh" face.
He had both arms occupied at actively not giving a ---
Think about it: Even today, you could get beat up for wearing a hockey jersey in front of people from the other team. This guy was standing in the middle of a crowd of literal Nazis, and he still had the balls to not go along with them, leading us to believe that he might have attended the ceremony simply so he could lay a fart on Hitler.
How do we know that he wasn't just resting his arms or something, though? Because we actually know who he was: His name was August Landmesser, and not long after this picture was taken, he was arrested for trying to marry a part-Jewish woman, which was illegal. That's right, this guy had "attempted marriage" in his criminal record.
Neither Landmesser nor his would-be wife survived the war, but their two daughters did, and in 1991 one of them recognized her father in this picture and began sharing his badassery with the world.
Fasena.de "Adolph Hitler? More like Piece of Shitler."