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National Geographic Celebrates 125 Years Of Photographs With The Magazine's Most Iconic Images

09/28/2013 07:33 am ET

Believe it or not, National Geographic has been around for 125 wonderful years.

The revered travel magazine is celebrating more than a century of publication with a special anniversary issue centered around the awe-inspiring power of photography. From the famed "Afghan Girl" to the breathtaking image of a chimp reaching out to primatologist Jane Goodall, National Geographic has captivated readers and been a beacon for both exploration and conservation.

So take a look at some of the Society's most iconic images below -- they will all be featured in the October issue of National Geographic magazine.

nat geo 3 Brazzaville Zoo, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Captive chimpanzee Jou Jou, reaches out its hand to Dr. Jane Goodall.

nat geo 8 2011 | Uganda

A lion climbs a tree to sleep in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park.

nat geo 10 2004 | Canada

Its image mirrored in icy water, a polar bear travels submerged -- a tactic often used to surprise prey. Scientists fear global warming could drive bears to extinction sometime this century.

nat geo 11 1996 | South Africa

A lion pushes through a dust storm in Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, South Africa. The weather had worsened to the point that it didn’t notice the photographer's approach. "I shot three rolls of him and just one picture turned out -- serendipity," says Johns.

nat geo 5 1991 | Kuwait

Under the black clouds of burning oil fields during the Gulf War, camels forage desperately for shrubs and water in southern Kuwait. Front-line photographs of regions ravaged by human strife can also illuminate war’s environmental cost.

nat geo 6 2010 | Dzitnup, Mexico

A single frame can transport us to one of our planet’s far-flung and beautiful places. In this one, stalactites and a sunbeam spotlight a swimmer in the Xkeken cenote, a natural well in the Yucatán thought by the Maya to lead to the underworld.

nat geo 1 1913 | Machu Picchu, Peru

An elevated view of about half of Machu Picchu, the lost mountaintop city of the Inca in the Peruvian Andes. National Geographic supported Bingham's excavations at the site from 1912 to 1915.

nat geo 2 Texas | 1939

A cowgirl dropped a nickel in a parking meter to hitch her pony. When this photo was taken El Paso was still a highly horse-conscious town with many cattle-ranch residents.

nat geo 4 1984 | Pakistan

Steve McCurry’s iconic photograph of a young Afghan girl in a Pakistan refugee camp appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine’s June 1985 issue and became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.

nat geo 7 2011 | South Dakota

Oglala youths hold an upside-down flag -- an international symbol of distress and an act of defiance toward the U.S. government -- at a rally to commemorate a 1975 shoot-out between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI agents. Two agents and one AIM member died; AIM's Leonard Peltier was jailed for life.

nat geo 9 2010 | Afghanistan

Noor Nisa, about 18, was pregnant and her water had just broken. Her husband was determined to get her to the hospital, but his car broke down, and he went to find another vehicle. The photographer ended up taking Noor Nisa, her mother and her husband to the hospital, where she gave birth to a baby girl.

nat geo 12 2011 | Mumbai, India

Seeking to capture the throng in Churchgate Station, Olson coached a local assistant through the laborious process needed to get this shot, because the perfect vantage point was closed to foreigners. “After four hours we had this picture -- and a small victory over Indian bureaucracy.”

nat geo cover

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