Incredible out-takes of 10 famous photographs
You’re about to see 10 of the most celebrated – and collected – photographs in history. But you’ve probably never seen them like this. Because these are the out-takes. The almost-but-not-quites. The ones that remained on the photographer’s “contact sheet” of images – never to be made public.
Today, many of these contact sheets and prints of out-takes are highly coveted by photography lovers. Some have appeared at auction. Some yet to do so.
To this day, no one knows who Tank Man was. Or what end he met. What we do know, is that the day after China killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of its own people in Tiananmen Square, this courageous man, on the way home from doing his shopping, stood in front of the government’s tanks in protest.
Five photographers captured the moment. Yet here is the shot from 30 seconds earlier.
As people run for cover from the tanks, he is already in position.
It’s 1951. The Princeton Club in New York. And Albert’s birthday bash has been a success. But now the 72-year-old is tired. He wants to go home. What he doesn’t want is a crowd of photographers harassing him as he sits patiently in the back of a waiting car.
The photographers’ requests for a smile prompted the weary Einstein to make his celebrated facial expression.
Just one snapper got the photo. Einstein loved the result. He ordered nine copies for himself.
One of those nine, signed by Einstein, auctioned for $125,000 in 2017.
The Kray twins terrorised London in the 1960s. The gangsters were treated like celebrities, and even got the David Bailey photo shoot treatment in 1965.
“I quite liked Reg,” Bailey recalled to the Guardian newspaper, “even though when he was 19 he slashed my father’s face with a razor. Ron was a basket full of rattlesnakes. They were dotty guys.”
The contact sheet shows that, somehow, the Krays manage to be even more menacing with their eyes shut.
Rene Burri’s 1963 shot of a cigar-smoking Che Guevara for Look magazine is among the most celebrated of the many photos depicting the haughty Argentine rebel.
But look closely at the contact sheet and you see a gregarious, happy, sometimes tired man.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Joe Rosenthal’s 1945 photo of marines raising the Stars and Stripes on the tiny Pacific island’s Mount Suribachi boosted morale back home. It was, in fact, the second flag raised on the spot, after a marine commander deemed the first one not big enough.
Both flags now reside at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia.
Three of the six marines pictured would be killed just days later. That brings home the danger and the fear ever present in these young men’s lives.
But they masked it well, as this alternative shot following the flag raising shows.
David Bowie Aladdin Sane
In 2004 his fans voted Aladdin Sane their favourite David Bowie cover. But here’s what the 1973 album’s cover could have looked like.
One of photographer Brian Duffy’s original contact sheets, from the five photo shoots he did of Bowie for the album, sold for £11,875 ($17,000 ) at Christie’s in 2017.
The pain and terror of nine-year-old Kim Phuc is an image you cannot forget. The misdirected South Vietnamese napalm attack on Kim's village left her appallingly burned and close to death.
Few have seen an image taken moments later, with photographers pouring water over Kim’s head.
The photographers then rushed her and the other injured children to hospital.
After 14 months of hospital treatment Kim survived. Today she lives in Canada.
Ali vs. Liston
A minute and 44 seconds into their bout for the heavyweight championship in 1965, the 23-year-old Ali knocked the 34-year-old Liston to the canvas with a right hook.
“Get up and fight, sucker!” Ali shouted.
Sports Illustrated’s Neil Leifer caught the menace of Ali in that moment.
A second later, in an almost unknown shot, a stony faced Ali begins his victory lap.
Does he suspect what is now widely claimed? That Liston has taken a dive?
10 original photos depicting the knockdown (including the one above) that appeared in the St Petersburg Times sold for $159 in 2011.
Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962
Photographer Diane Arbus was taking too long. That was the problem. If she had just hurried up a bit, none of Colin Wood’s pent up exasperation would have come out, as this contact sheet of mostly nice, pleasant shots demonstrates.
“My parents had divorced and there was a general feeling of loneliness, a sense of being abandoned. I was just exploding. [Arbus] saw that and it's like...commiseration,” Wood told the Washington Post in 2005.
“[I was] imitating a face I'd seen in war movies, which I loved watching at the time," Wood explains.
The police held up the traffic for 10 minutes. Giving photographer Iain Macmillan enough time to take six shots of the Beatles walking back and forth over Abbey Road’s zebra crossing.
Beatles fans are recreating the scene on Abbey Road at this very moment.
Prints of the five unused snaps, along with the one that made it onto the cover, sold for £180,000 ($250,000) in 2015.
Here’s one of the five, featuring a London bus, an out of step Fab Four and a missing police van.
More clues that Paul is, indeed, dead?
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