The Most Iconic Photographs From National Geographic's 125-Year History

The journal of the National Geographic Society officially launched in October 1888.

Since then, National Geographic has expanded its global reach to over 60 million readers, a TV channel, and a website. The publication is known for its award-winning nature photography and knack for visual storytelling.

In honour of its 125th birthday, Nat Geo is unveiling its most iconic images in the 2013 October “Power of Photography” anniversary issue, featuring famous images that both shaped the magazine’s history and had a profound impact on our global conscious.

“Photography is a powerful tool and form of self-expression,” Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, said in the press release. “Sharing what you see and experience through the camera allows you to connect, move, and inspire people around the world.”

National Geographic is also encouraging all photographers — from amateurs to seasoned experts — to submit their own pictures on October 1 as part of the new photosharing platform, “Your Shot.” You can find out more information about the Your Shot community platform here.

This 1906 picture was shot by George Shiras, the first nighttime wildlife photographer. Here he's demonstrating his revolving camera tray, mounted jacklight, and handheld flashgun in Whitefish Lake, Michigan.

Hiram Bingham sought an elevated mountain to take this view of Machu Picchu in 1913 Peru. The lost mountaintop city of the Inca was the sight of Bingham's excavations from 1912 to 1915.

A cowgirl drops a nickel in a parking meter to hitch her pony in El Paso, Texas. At the time the photo was taken in 1939, El Paso still had a lot of cattle-ranch residents.

Perhaps the most iconic National Geographic photo, Steve McCurry snapped this picture of an Afghan girl in a Pakistan refugee camp in 1984. It almost went unnoticed, until one editor rescued it from a pile and stuck it on the June 1985 cover.

Here, a captive chimpanzee named Jou Jou reaches out to Dr. Jane Goodall in a zoo in the Republic of Congo, circa 1990.

Roaming camels forage for shrubs and water in southern Kuwait as the black clouds of burning oil fields hang above them. It was shot by Steve McCurry in 1991 during the Gulf War.

An angry crowd protests the high food prices in Giza, Egypt at a kiosk selling government-subsidized bread. Taken in 2008, you can see the Great Pyramid of Giza rising up in the background.

Two young girls from an Israeli West Bank village cool off in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. Taken in 2009, the inland sea has dropped over 70 feet since 1978.

The anniversary issue of National Geographic will be out on newsstands this October. Here's a sneak peek of the cover:

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