Corona: The Curious CIA Satellite That Used a Unique Lens

Declassified is an original Phoblographer series that digs deep into historical documents to examine how the government used photography. Hit the Listen to this Article button to follow along with the story.

If we mention the word Corona today, we’d be referring to the virus. That’s just the way of common vernacular. In the early 1970s, though, the word meant something different to the CIA. Corona was the name of a spy satellite. And according to many documents, it’s one of the first spy satellites. Satellites were used for many things back in the day. In an earlier Declassified episode, we talked about their use by civilians. In fact, citizens gathered lots of information about the Russians with their satellites at home. As the predecessor to drones, satellite use by common folk quickly fell out of favor. And none of them were as capable as the Corona.

Continue reading…

This History Behind This WW2 Machine Gun Camera Is Fascinating

For $6,100, you can have this Machine Gun Camera, which is a piece of history.

Our Declassified series has uncovered some fascinating stories about photography and the military. But, the story behind this machine gun camera is unlike anything that we’ve seen. We’ve known about cameras mounted to planes for reconnaissance, however, we didn’t realize that kill confirmations were captured like this. Indeed, that’s what the Konishoruko Rokuoh-Sha Type 89 camera was designed for. When mounted onto a machine gun, it captured footage as it all happened. This is done in some ways today too, but back during World War it was pretty challenging to accomplish. So, how they did it and preserved the film is incredibly smart.

Continue reading…

This Collection with a Hiroshima Atomic Bombing Negative Is Going for $2 Million

This Hiroshima Atomic Bombing negative is part of a collection that is going for $2 Million. Two. Million. US Dollars.

If you’re a history buff or a photography memorabilia collector with a particular interest for World War II items, you’ll find our latest vintage find fascinating. But, we have to warn you that it’s a collection that costs a fortune for its historical value. The star of the show is a negative from the Hiroshima Bombing which is claimed to be the only negative from the historic event to be auctioned off after going undiscovered for 74 years.

Continue reading…

The Kissing Sailor in Iconic Photograph Passes Away Aged 95

Iconic Photographs

The famous, and iconic photograph is one of the worlds best, and most celebrated images.

There are a few pictures that have been taken in history that really capture the hearts, and the imaginations of millions around the world, and the capture of a kiss in Times Square is one of them. Snapped on August 14th, 1945 during celebrations in New York City’s Times Square, the kiss is perhaps the most iconic photograph from World War II. Sadly the kissing sailor, George Mendonsa who was snapped during an embrace with Greta Zimmer Friedman has passed away at age 95. Join us after the break to learn more about this iconic photograph. Continue reading…

Go For Broke: Telling the Story of Japanese-American WWII Veterans

All images by Shane Sato via Go For Broke on Kickstarter

While war and conflict remain some of today’s most commonly documented and explored topics, there are still a lot of stories that remain untold. Through his fascinating photo book project on Kickstarter, Los Angeles-based photographer Shane Sato wants to tell a wartime story that is probably still unfamiliar to many.

Continue reading…

Malaise Explores A Sanatorium Turned WWI and WWII Military Hospital


Urban exploring is cool, but when the locations have some serious history or creepiness to them, it’s even cooler! Malaise is a photography project done by 23 year old London based creative Christian Schmeer about Beelitz-Heilstätten. According to Forbidden Places, it was a tuberculosis sanatorium until World World I came along. During that time, it served as a German Military hospital. Then World War II happened, and it served as a Soviet hospital. Adolf Hitler was treated here. Most of the complex though was abandoned but some of it still remains active.

“The smell of disinfectant still lingers in the operating rooms, permeating through the airy corridors, a caustic whiff in sharp contrast to the gentle palettes of old paint flaking off the walls and fantastic window frames,” stated Abandoned Berlin.

In 1989, the grounds became the scene of six murders as necrophilic serial killer Wolfgang Schmidt, also known as “The Beast of Beelitz”, terrorised the area. Once considered amongst the most advanced hospitals in Europe, Beelitz-Heilstätten has been abandoned and left to dilapidate due to discrepancies over ownership.

Take a look at some other photos and his Vimeo Staff Picks video after the jump.

Continue reading…