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Editor’s Picks: Iconic Scenes From Days Past

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Umbrellas and swimmers dot Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, March 1955.

As a photo editor, it’s my job to select pictures that are beautiful and inspiring, and teach you something about the world. When it comes to the Found archival Tumblr,  I have noticed that many people are drawn to historical photographs of the world’s most iconic places. We’re lucky to have a treasure trove of just such images at our fingertips. I present some of my favorites, in the hopes that you’ll discover a few favorites of your own.

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A man looks out on the Eiffel Tower, 1929.

Ah, Paris! I’d think this photograph was a painting if I didn’t know better. The giant iron door and silhouetted man make a perfect frame for France’s most iconic landmark. It makes you want to fall in love and say mon chéri.

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Crowds engulf Broadway in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, January 1964.

This 1964 photograph of New Year’s Eve brings back the glamour of years past, when Howard Johnson’s was a thing and no one carried a smartphone.

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Women in bright dress walk by a fountain with the Taj Mahal in the background, 1959.

The Taj Mahal always looks massive and elegant in photographs, but this image really seems to bring its size and history to life. The mood is serene and harkens back to a quieter time.

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The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as seen from Yerba Buena Island, 1936.

The Bay Bridge might not be as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, but this black-and-white image of the bridge under construction certainly makes it look like a stunning feat of architecture that is deserving of awe.

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Michelangelo’s “David” is on display in Florence’s Accademia Gallery, June 1970.

It’s hard to beat a classic statue in beautiful light. In this photograph, it’s almost as if David calls to us to come closer.

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A large group of actors relax and talk on the lawn at Monticello in Virginia, December 1928.

“Pardon me, madam, is that your handkerchief?” Historical re-enactors seem to be at every museum and gift shop these days, and it’s hard to imagine they were around in the 1920s. Who knows what Thomas Jefferson might think!

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Young lovers embrace beside the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 1960.

Yes, yes, Paris again. It’s almost impossible to share iconic places without mentioning Paris once, maybe two times. This romantic photo in front of the Arc de Triomphe was an instant hit on the Found Tumblr.

Janna Dotschkal curates the National Geographic Found Tumblr. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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From the Archives

Look through a curated collection of historical photos from our archives on National Geographic's Found Tumblr.


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Check out the latest work from National Geographic photographers and visual storytellers around the world.

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