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From UFOs to Dives in the Ocean, the most Awesome CIA Photo Stories


The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has a long, rich history with photography. From spying to investigating UFOs, the CIA has had many requirements for cameras and what they can do. Looking into the CIA’s relationship with photography is a long-term, ongoing series at The Phoblographer in our Declassified section. We have a fascination with how one of the world’s most important agencies uses photography. And in this roundup, we’re sharing some of the best stories from over the years.

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The CIA went to The Bottom of The Ocean

In 1972 the CIA took a plunge into the ocean to recover old film roll. This information was made public in 2012, and documented it took three different dives to recover the film. The film roll was Eastman Kodak and was unfortunately damaged by saltwater as it was brought back to the surface. Unfortunately, we do not know what they were looking for. However, there’s a cool story behind the camera. Read about it here.

The CIA Teaches You How to Clean Your Camera

“I’ll clean my camera next week.” If we had a penny for the number of times photographers had uttered that sentence, we’d be living in a mansion on the beach. Camera maintenance is super important, especially if you want some longevity out of your system. You can clean it yourself or pay a professional. Or, you can use the CIA’s guide to keep your house in order. Some of the tips from the CIA may seem tailored to children. However, if you’ve never cleaned your camera before, it’s worth starting with the basics. See the tips here.

Even The CIA Has Gear Lust

Most photographers experience gear lust at some point in their life. They sit in front of the computers, browsing online stores. Many hours pass as they scroll through the gear options, mouths open, drool dripping out. They reach for the tissues and unzip their—you get the picture. But what piece of gear got the CIA begging for more? We won’t give the game away in this article, but you can take a look here.

Tool to Help The CIA Spy

The CIA likes to spy on others. Patriots will say it’s for the greater good; conspiracists claim it’s to pry into our lives. Whatever its motive is, the CIA needs the right tools to do the job. In the 1950s, a document showed that the CIA requested a telescoping lens and several other expectations for how the lens would be built. It was willing to pay around $2500, which would be $28,832.78 in today’s money! Check out the full story here.

A Checklist on Photographing UFOs

Last but not least in the roundup is the juicy stuff you’ve all been waiting for. The topic of UFOs always leads to good conversations. From conspiracy to facts, almost everyone has opinions on what exists outside our planet. UFOs don’t always equate to an alien invasion. It can simply mean an object that cannot be identified. The CIA has its own database of sightings, and the findings may surprise you. You can take a look at them here.

We Have More on Flipboard!

If you enjoyed the above roundup, you can find more stories relating to photography and the CIA by checking out our Flipboard. There you’ll also find rounds up of the best stories from the diverse world of photography, so subscribe and share!






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