Korean War March, 1950
This LIFE magazine picture is one of the earliest images of the Korean War. In it, American Marines march down a canyon road they dubbed “Nightmare Alley” during a retreat from the Chosin Reservoir.
Segregated Water Fountains, 1950
This image of segregated water fountains in North Carolina was taken by Elliott Erwitt. With just one click, the photograph captured the deep-seated racism prevalent in American society in the 50s and became one of the most iconic photographs of the 1950s.
Albert Einstein With His Tongue Out, 1951
Arthur Sasse was a lucky man to have captured such a genius in a moment of pure silliness. The picture was snapped during Einstein’s 72nd birthday, where the mastermind, tired of smiling for the cameras, gave this insightful pose instead.
First 3D Film, 1952
Snapped for LIFE magazine, this December 1952 photograph shows the advancement in cinematic technology with American audiences enjoying the opening night of the first full-length American 3-D feature film, Bwana Devil.
Marilyn Monroe NYC Subway Grate, 1954
The indelible image of Marilyn Monroe smiling as her skirt blows from a blast from the subway vent was shot during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. Though it is now etched as an iconic photograph, at the time it infuriated her then husband, Joe DiMaggio, and the couple divorced shortly after.
Iconic Photographs Of The 1950s: James Dean Walking In NYC, 1955
Shot for LIFE magazine in 1955, the moody photo of James Dean walking through Times Square accurately portrayed the intensity and mystique of the short-lived, brilliant actor.