Our 50th Year Icon

In October 1974 The Sun, still in its infancy and called The Chapel Hill Sun, reached a milestone. Its sixth issue featured a visual element that has defined its look for nearly fifty years: a black-and-white photograph.

Two, in fact: one of a pair of pigs hanging by their hind legs in a slaughterhouse in Switzerland, the other an image of a woman in Mexico preparing tomatoes for cooking, an almost otherworldly light splashed across her chest. Both were taken by Priscilla Rich for an issue about food. (Rich would go on to marry The Sun’s founder and editor, Sy Safransky, and become an associate editor at the magazine.) Though The Sun would continue to feature illustrations and sketches for many years, every issue since that one has included at least one black-and-white photo. Rich’s photos set the template for the type of images we gravitated toward as the years went on — candid and beautiful, but also willing to challenge readers not to avert their eyes from things that might be difficult or uncomfortable.

We currently publish images by photographers from all over the world, ranging in age from teenagers to people in their nineties. For some The Sun is their first publication; others are renowned professionals whose work has hung in galleries and museums. If you’d like to join the ranks of the roughly 1,500 photographers whose work has appeared in our pages, you can submit your photos at thesunmagazine.org/submit.