I found this fascinating photograph in a pawn shop yesterday:
Who are the 55 people in the picture? They must have been rather well-to-do, based on their fashionable clothing. The women’s hemlines and hats are circa 1914. Leaves are on the trees, nobody is wearing a jacket, and the children are dressed in white: it must be summer. Some adults smile, the children look serious, and all are posed as though in a formal photograph.
Here are the things that stand out:
- If it is a formal photograph, it’s skewed off-center, cutting off people on the crowded right side of the image. It also contains a lot of ground and sky, whereas some of the people are blurred or obscured.
- Though there are benches, they are empty except for one woman, whose arm is around a child standing beside her. Older women, who would appear to be more natural occupants of the bench in the summer, are standing.
- There are only three men, and dozens of women and children. The men are all on the left side of the photo.
- Two of the men look to be in their 20s and dressed more formally than the rest of the group.
- The group is in a wooded area, that looks like a campground. They are in front of a Chinese hip-and-gabled roof, unusual for most places in the US at the time.
- There’s a sign on the upper-right, and the only word that can be clearly read is “fires”.
It’s not a wedding. Perhaps it’s a church outing or a family reunion? Yet I don’t feel satisfied.