20 Rarely Seen Photos From National Geographic That Everyone Needs To See

Founded in 1888 and published without a break since, National Geographic magazine has built up an enormous and extraordinary archive of photographs over the years. Indeed, some of these photos have become iconic and instantly recognizable images – and yet others weren’t published at the time and haven’t been seen since. Now, however, National Geographic has published a selection of them – and they make for truly compelling viewing.

20. Like toy soldiers...

Photographer James P. Blair, himself born in 1931, took this picture in London, England, in 1966. The Irish Guardsmen in the photo are in fact on parade to mark the Queen’s official birthday. Later, Blair told National Geographic, “I was told afterwards that you’re literally trained to fall at attention. If you’re standing at attention, you fall at attention, and it was just like a toy soldier falling over.”

19. Young love

Unrivaled in its reputation as a destination for lovers, Paris certainly seems to be the place to go for photographers wanting to capture the essence of romance. And, lit by street lamps after rain, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, this image itself surely encapsulates the city of love. Thomas Nebbia, who in fact started his career as a U.S. army combat photographer in the Korean War, captured this evocative moment in 1960.

18. The Tunnel Log

Andrew H. Brown – a National Geographic writer and photographer who died at the age of 92 in 2005 – took this picture in 1951. The tree, known as the Tunnel Log, is in California’s Sequoia National Park and fell in 1937. Before its demise from natural causes, the tree stood some 275 feet tall and is thought to have been more than 2,000 years old. And park visitors can still drive through the giant trunk today.

17. Schoolboys and penguins

Three very British-looking boys pose at London Zoo with what is properly – and delightfully – called a “waddle” of penguins. B. Anthony Stewart and Davis S. Boyer, both National Geographic staffers, teamed up to create this image in 1953. In 1959, when National Geographic editors decided to break with tradition for the first time by using a photograph on the magazine’s cover, they used one of Anthony Stewart’s images.