A young boy enjoys a slice of watermelon at a festival in Chiefland, Florida. Almost 40 years after this picture was published, Florida still leads the states in watermelon production.

Slice of Life

A young boy enjoys a slice of watermelon at a festival in Chiefland, Florida. Almost 40 years after this picture was published, Florida still leads the states in watermelon production.
Photograph by James P. Blair, Nat Geo Image Collection

These 30 timeless Nat Geo pictures take you to a bygone era

Pique your curiosity with these vintage photos from our historic collection.

As I dove deep into our vast—and, at times, challenging—photography archives, I was hit with a wave of urgency and adventure. I wanted to share every single image I could find.

It’s tough to wrap your mind around the sheer scale of the histories, cultures, and adventures documented in National Geographic’s archives. Am I really looking at history’s first underwater photograph? The first nighttime photograph of wildlife? The first expedition to reach the Earth’s stratosphere? My personal favorite find was a rare image of the youngest panda ever photographed in the wild.

Our historic collection of photographs can take you on a journey to another era—or another corner of the planet. While curating pictures for National Geographic's Photo of the Day, I want to ignite and inspire the explorer in each one of us.

As I edited, I realized I wanted to evoke a sense of home. There was Michael “Nick” Nichols’s image of a young refugee boy reuniting with his mother after being displaced in Rwanda. I marveled at Lynsey Addario’s image of Afghan women having a picnic together in a garden. And, of course, there’s nothing sweeter than biting into that first summertime watermelon, like the young boy in the lead photo by James P. Blair.

In these uneasy times, I hope these timeless images give you a short escape into summertime calm.

Breann Birkenbuel is the editor for Photo of the Day. Melody Rowell writes and researches the captions.

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