The True Story Behind 10 Iconic Images



They say a picture says a thousand words, but sometimes it takes a long time for those words to tell the true story of the photograph or painting. Pictures can be interpreted all sorts of ways by those who view them, but only the photographer or artist and the subject know what was truly going on when it was taken. In the case of images that have been around for years, they’ve been given ample opportunity to become shrouded in mystery with several rumors surrounding its creation. Here are ten surprising true stories behind 10 images you’ll immediately recognize.

John Lennon And Yoko Ono Rolling Stone Cover

Famed photographer Annie Liebovitz took this photo on December 8th, 1980, just hours before John Lennon was shot to death. The iconic photograph was the result of Lennon’s willingness to strip and Ono’s desire to stay fully clothed, which Lennon was okay with because he thought it would make for a good photograph. It turned out to be the only photo she took of them that day.

“People Reading Stock Exchange”

Norman Rockwell painted this photo that appears to be nothing more than a few people and a dog reading the stock exchange. However, people quickly noticed the grocery boy appears to have three legs. All sorts of rumors regarding the purpose of giving the boy three legs started to spread, but Rockwell admitted it was just a mistake.

“Netherlandish Proverbs”

This painting, completed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1559 appears to just be a village of people completing regular tasks. However, he actually painted this to illustrate the people actively completing Dutch proverbs like “armed to the teeth.”

“The Roaring Lion”

Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the UK during WWII, and this photo was taken during that crisis. Most people assumed he looked so grumpy and serious because of the war, but the photographer, Yousef Karsh, shared that Churchill looks so upset because Karsh took his cigar from him.

Sebastiano Del Piombo’s Portrait of Christopher Columbus

When Sebastiano Del Piombo painted this photo in the 1500’s, it was actually done years after Columbus died. That means it isn’t actually a portrait of Columbus, but rather likely based of how other people described him. Ironically, thanks to this popular painting, this is how most people picture Columbus to this day.

Teddy Roosevelt and a Moose

Teddy Roosevelt was a tough, rugged, and manly president of the United States. This picture coincides with that image of him and manly people believed he actually did ride the moose, but it was recently revealed this picture is a total fake.

“Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”

Gustav Klimt painted this picture in 1907, and when Germany annexed Austria in 1938, they stole this picture from a gallery. It wasn’t until 2006 that this battle was settled, and this painting then sold at an auction for an astounding $135 million.

“Pale Blue Dot”

This image was taken by the Voyager I, which was a space probe launched in 1977. It took several amazing images, and though it is very hard to see, there’s a tiny blue dot on the light brown stripe. That blue dot is planet Earth. If that doesn’t put things into perspective and just how small we are, what does?

“Portrait of Dr. Gachet”

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most well-known painters of all time. This painting of physician Paul Gachet is one of his most famous paintings. This was another painting confiscated by the Nazis in 1937 and then bought in 1990 for a record $82.5 million. The Japanese businessman who bought it said he wanted to take it with him when he died. Sadly, he passed away in 1996 and no one has seen the painting since.

Tennis On A Plane

This picture is certainly iconic, but funny enough, it doesn’t even have a name. When the photo was taken in 1925 it wasn’t expected to be anything other than a postcard picture, but it ended up being the iconic image of the barnstormers