We explore the past to understand the present. And pictures can help us tremendously. However, even though textbooks and other sources use images to illustrate the history they're talking about, we often focus on the written content instead.

Now don't take this as a critique of the practice, but let's switch things up a bit and take a look at the Instagram account 'Vintage Daily.'

It shares lesser-known visuals to shed new light on people and events from earlier times, providing a sneak peek into moments that might've been forgotten had it not been for photographers who decided to immortalize them.

More info: Instagram

#1

Mother And Daughter In New York City, 1970

Mother And Daughter In New York City, 1970

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Michelle M
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Afro! 😍😍 I used to have hair as thick as the mum's (okay, not as long, but longer than the girl's) and I would just comb out and go, feeling like a goddess. Now, I have dreadlocks and gee, am I slaying it. Enjoyed the Afro, now enjoying the dreadlocks.

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#2

The Beauty Of A Woman

The Beauty Of A Woman

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More!
Community Member
2 months ago

Very nice, but! Let a child run its fingers through your hair? Do not! Those dirty, always moist, sticky little fingers are going to pull every time.

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But why bother with history in the first place? Well, Peter N. Stearns, a professor at George Mason University, said that it's vital to our lives even though we like to live in the present and plan for the future.

"In the first place, history offers a storehouse of information about how people and societies behave," Stearns wrote. "Understanding the operations of people and societies is difficult, though a number of disciplines make the attempt. An exclusive reliance on current data would needlessly handicap our efforts. How can we evaluate war if the nation is at peace—unless we use historical materials? How can we understand genius, the influence of technological innovation, or the role that beliefs play in shaping family life, if we don't use what we know about experiences in the past?"

#3

Paris, Circa 1951

Paris, Circa 1951

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Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

That lady is stunning.

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#4

“I Showed Freddie A Picture Of Marlene Dietrich From Shanghai Express And He Loved It.” – Mick Rock (Freddie Mercury And Queen Photographed By Mick Rock, London, 1974)

“I Showed Freddie A Picture Of Marlene Dietrich From Shanghai Express And He Loved It.” – Mick Rock
(Freddie Mercury And Queen Photographed By Mick Rock, London, 1974)

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Sue Lynn Chan
Community Member
2 months ago

Don’t sing it.. Don’t sing it!

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#5

I Love Audrey So Much. Seeing Her Smile Literally Brightens Up My Day

I Love Audrey So Much. Seeing Her Smile Literally Brightens Up My Day

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Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
2 months ago

Her death hurt me hard.

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The professor highlighted that some social scientists attempt to formulate laws or theories about human behavior but even these recourses depend on historical information, except for in limited, often artificial cases in which experiments can be devised to determine how people act.

"Major aspects of a society's operation, like mass elections, missionary activities, or military alliances, cannot be set up as precise experiments. Consequently, history must serve, however imperfectly, as our laboratory, and data from the past must serve as our most vital evidence in the unavoidable quest to figure out why our complex species behaves as it does in societal settings."

This, fundamentally, is why we can not stay away from history, Stearns said. "It offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives."

#6

RuPaul And Nirvana Backstage At The Mtv Music Awards, 1993

RuPaul And Nirvana Backstage At The Mtv Music Awards, 1993

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imontape
Community Member
2 months ago

I have always thought that RuPaul was so beautiful

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#7

Protest

Protest

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WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
2 months ago

Us conservatives decided that they have the power to control wombs. How we love the sweet smell of American freedom....

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#8

Audrey Hepburn And Her Dog Mr. Famous Photographed By Sid Avery, 1957

Audrey Hepburn And Her Dog Mr. Famous Photographed By Sid Avery, 1957

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Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

I am in love with Audrey.

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The second reason history is inescapable as a subject of serious study stems from the first. "The past causes the present, and so the future," Stearns said. "Any time we try to know why something happened—whether a shift in political party dominance in the American Congress, a major change in the teenage suicide rate, or a war in the Balkans or the Middle East—we have to look for factors that took shape earlier."

Sometimes fairly recent history will suffice to explain a major development, but we often need to backtrack more to identify the causes of change.

"Only through studying history can we grasp how things change; only through history can we begin to comprehend the factors that cause change; and only through history can we understand what elements of an institution or a society persist despite change."

#9

Marilyn Monroe And Jane Russell On Set Of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

Marilyn Monroe And Jane Russell On Set Of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

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giku T
Community Member
2 months ago

for a second i thought j. russell was checking her phone!

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#10

Sophia Loren Photographed By Ormond Gigli, Circa 1955

Sophia Loren Photographed By Ormond Gigli, Circa 1955

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dee dee
Community Member
2 months ago

That's it? That's all the armpit hair she had? I have to shave my pits or unleash the friggin cousin It that lives there.....

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#11

Queen On The Set Of The “I Want To Break Free” Music Video, 1984

Queen On The Set Of The “I Want To Break Free” Music Video, 1984

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Minimo
Community Member
2 months ago

Manly men in fluffy bunny slippers are the bees knees.

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#12

Highschool Photos Of Meryl Streep!

Highschool Photos Of Meryl Streep!

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Kelzbelz79
Community Member
2 months ago

How stunning 😍

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History well told — either through text, pictures, or any other medium — is beautiful. Many historians know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing (as well as of accuracy). They understand that with proper form they can transform a seemingly "dry" unappealing story to something that deeply moves the general public.

"Biography and military history appeal in part because of the tales they contain," Stearns said. "History as art and entertainment serves a real purpose, on aesthetic grounds but also on the level of human understanding. Stories well done are stories that reveal how people and societies have actually functioned, and they prompt thoughts about the human experience in other times and places."

"The same aesthetic and humanistic goals inspire people to immerse themselves in efforts to reconstruct quite remote pasts, far removed from immediate, present-day utility," the historian explained.

#13

A Crow Lighting The Cigarette Of Tippi Hedren On The Set Of “The Birds” (Dir. By Alfred Hitchcock), 1963

A Crow Lighting The Cigarette Of Tippi Hedren On The Set Of “The Birds” (Dir. By Alfred Hitchcock), 1963

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Flip
Community Member
2 months ago

I met a smarter one. Dropped my cigarette. Hadn't lighted it yet. He ruined it. Okay okay I quit.

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#14

Marlene Dietrich Kissing A Soldier Returning From Wwii, 1945

Marlene Dietrich Kissing A Soldier Returning From Wwii, 1945

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Michael Lockard
Community Member
2 months ago

I wonder if the soldiers holding her up from below are even happier than the guy getting kissed? Yes, I'm a dirty old man

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#15

Young Slash

Young Slash

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Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
2 months ago

Slash's face is super handsome! Why does he hide it?

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#16

Hedy Lamarr In Ziegfeld Girl, 1941 directed By Robert Z. Leonard

Hedy Lamarr In Ziegfeld Girl, 1941
directed By Robert Z. Leonard

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troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

A beautiful genius! :)

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History also provides a bridge to moral contemplation. Studying the stories of individuals and situations they've been in the past, whether we're talking about the Queen or Heath Ledger, allows us to test our own moral sense, to hone it against some of the real complexities people have faced in difficult settings.

"People who have weathered adversity not just in some work of fiction, but in real, historical circumstances can provide inspiration. 'History teaching by example' is one phrase that describes this use of a study of the past—a study not only of certifiable heroes, the great men and women of history who successfully worked through moral dilemmas, but also of more ordinary people who provide lessons in courage, diligence, or constructive protest."

#17

Capri, Italy, 1949

Capri, Italy, 1949

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finisz
Community Member
2 months ago

It's like a painting.

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#18

Young Heath Ledger

Young Heath Ledger

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Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

That is one cheeky grin.

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#19

The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1976

The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1976

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Call Me Mars
Community Member
2 months ago

I love David Bowie so much! His music has saved me multiple times.

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#20

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga), 1998

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga), 1998

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troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

Very beautiful!!

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History also helps people to find their identity, and this is actually one of the reasons why modern nations continue to encourage its teaching in some form.

"Historical data include evidence about how families, groups, institutions, and whole countries were formed and about how they have evolved while retaining cohesion. For many Americans, studying the history of one's own family is the most obvious use of history, for it provides facts about genealogy and (at a slightly more complex level) a basis for understanding how the family has interacted with larger historical change," Stearns said.

#21

Johnny Depp And Kate Moss Photographed By Annie Leibovitz, 1994

Johnny Depp And Kate Moss Photographed By Annie Leibovitz, 1994

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K Witmer
Community Member
2 months ago

I always forget they dated. Winona forever is the one I always think of

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#22

Susan Sarandon At Cannes, 1978

Susan Sarandon At Cannes, 1978

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Kit Kat
Community Member
2 months ago

Star quality. If I wore that outfit, people would assume I was having a breakdown.

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#23

Mott Haven, New York City, 1979 photographed By David Gonzalez

Mott Haven, New York City, 1979
photographed By David Gonzalez

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Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
2 months ago

Beautiful!

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#24

Cher, Elton John And Diana Ross At The Rock Music Awards At The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1975

Cher, Elton John And Diana Ross At The Rock Music Awards At The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1975

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Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Three divas?

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Even if we take a step back and look at institutions, businesses, and other social units, such as ethnic groups, we can see that they also use history for similar purposes.

"Merely defining the group in the present pales against the possibility of forming an identity based on a rich past," Stearns explained. "And of course, nations use identity history as well ... Histories that tell the national story, emphasizing distinctive features of the national experience, are meant to drive home an understanding of national values and a commitment to national loyalty."

So if you find yourself unable to stop scrolling through this list, don't worry. You're not wasting your time. You're growing in more ways than you might think!

#25

Amy Winehouse For The Sunday Telegraph Magazine In 2004

Amy Winehouse For The Sunday Telegraph Magazine In 2004

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Kookamunga
Community Member
2 months ago

So talented and so tortured.

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#26

Benicio Del Toro And Parker Posey Photographed By Mark Seliger, 1995

Benicio Del Toro And Parker Posey Photographed By Mark Seliger, 1995

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Wil H
Community Member
2 months ago

While this is a great pic Im really having a hard time dealing with the fact that a pic from 1995 is considered "old". Ill be in the car

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#27

Sharon Tate Photographed By Shahrokh Hatami, 1968

Sharon Tate Photographed By Shahrokh Hatami, 1968

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Paul C.
Community Member
2 months ago

Sad.

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#28

Freddie Mercury At The Nagoya Castle, Japan, 1975

Freddie Mercury At The Nagoya Castle, Japan, 1975

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Beth Bohn
Community Member
2 months ago

that coat is awesome

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#29

Casting Polaroid Of Salma Hayek, Circa 1995

Casting Polaroid Of Salma Hayek, Circa 1995

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UpupaEpops
Community Member
2 months ago

I have serious hair envy 😭

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#30

High School Fashion In 1969

High School Fashion In 1969

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K Witmer
Community Member
2 months ago

Favorite era along w the 90s when they copied the 60s

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#31

Leonardo Dicaprio With His Parents In 1976

Leonardo Dicaprio With His Parents In 1976

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tomchambers
Community Member
2 months ago

He looks just like his mother.

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#32

David Bowie Photographed By Steve Schapiro, 1975

David Bowie Photographed By Steve Schapiro, 1975

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Call Me Mars
Community Member
2 months ago

I love this picture of him!

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#33

Brittany Murphy, 1998

Brittany Murphy, 1998

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Puppeteer Saint
Community Member
2 months ago

May she rest in peace. She was a wonderful actress. I feel she is often overlooked when people look back at great artists we lost.

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#34

Teenagers At An Elvis Presley Concert At The Philadelphia Arena, 1957!

Teenagers At An Elvis Presley Concert At The Philadelphia Arena, 1957!

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finisz
Community Member
2 months ago

There is always a badass!

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#35

Polaroids Of The Cast Of Clueless Taken By Alan Friedman, 1995

Polaroids Of The Cast Of Clueless Taken By Alan Friedman, 1995

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Moo Moo Futch
Community Member
2 months ago

Paul Rudd hasn't aged. And it's still so gutting that Brittany Murphy died. Rolling with her homies up high.

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#36

Two Women Sitting Outside On The Fire Escape In Harlem, NYC, 1978

Two Women Sitting Outside On The Fire Escape In Harlem, NYC, 1978

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kathryn stretton
Community Member
2 months ago

Giving the houseplants some sun too.

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#37

South Korea, 1990s

South Korea, 1990s

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Jenny K Anderson
Community Member
2 months ago

They’re like the Asian Monica, Rachel and Phoebe.

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#38

Debra Jo Fondren, 1979

Debra Jo Fondren, 1979

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Michelle M
Community Member
2 months ago

Woah! That's some hair. It's real.

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#39

Roller Skating At Venice Beach, 1979

Roller Skating At Venice Beach, 1979

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Jenny K Anderson
Community Member
2 months ago

I wish roller skating was still considered a cool way to get around. It’s fun, easy and seems safer than dorky rollerblades (also out of vogue).

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#40

Jessica Lange In New York, 1975

Jessica Lange In New York, 1975

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Chinmayee Kalghatgi
Community Member
2 months ago

Her hair looks good

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#41

Saint Petersburg, Florida, 1973

Saint Petersburg, Florida, 1973

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Puppeteer Saint
Community Member
2 months ago

Looks like they're having fun.. I feel like a lot of people don't look like they're having fun these days.

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#42

Santa Monica, California, 1955 photographed By Elliott Erwitt

Santa Monica, California, 1955
photographed By Elliott Erwitt

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Dave C
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Used as the cover of The First of a Million Kisses by Fairground Attraction

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#43

Claudia Schiffer (And Christy Turlington) At Versace After Party In Paris, 1994

Claudia Schiffer (And Christy Turlington) At Versace After Party In Paris, 1994

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Nora12
Community Member
2 months ago

Sigh, you are making me feel so old that a picture taken the year I graduated is considered a “vintage historical photo”

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#44

Jayne Mansfield Posing With Miss Hollywood Of 1957

Jayne Mansfield Posing With Miss Hollywood Of 1957

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Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Jealous much?

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#45

Kiss By The Hotel De Ville Photographed By Robert Doisneau, 1950

Kiss By The Hotel De Ville Photographed By Robert Doisneau, 1950

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Michelle M
Community Member
2 months ago

I made a comment on this last year and I'll make it again. No one noticed as he sucked the soul out of her with a simple kiss. No one, but the woman in a trench coat, who had just kissed the man behind her. Now a void behind his glasses..."

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#46

Michelle Pfeiffer As Elvira Hancock In Scarface, 1983 directed By Brian De Palma

Michelle Pfeiffer As Elvira Hancock In Scarface, 1983
directed By Brian De Palma

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More!
Community Member
2 months ago

She’s lovely

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#47

Kellie Everts, 1979

Kellie Everts, 1979

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MagNat
Community Member
2 months ago

No lie.

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#48

“Men Don’t Protect You Anymore” Nirvana In Manhattan, 1993

“Men Don’t Protect You Anymore” Nirvana In Manhattan, 1993

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Strawberry Pizza
Community Member
2 months ago

Dave just looks happy to be there lol

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#49

“55 DSL” Dazed, March 2004 Photographed By Jamie Brunskill

“55 DSL” Dazed, March 2004 Photographed By Jamie Brunskill

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Tina B
Community Member
2 months ago

That's terrifying.

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Note: this post originally had 129 images. It’s been shortened to the top 49 images based on user votes.