Thursday, June 18, 2009
A Beautiful Couple, 1939
One of the problems of being a collector of old photos is in the dating of images. Sometimes, the photographer writes something down or the lab stamps a date on the back, but more often than not it's a matter of guessing about clothes and hair styles. In the second image from this series, the lady is leaning against a wall, visible in the background is Morris Gest's Midget Town. Also known as Morris Gest's Little Miracle Town. Gest was a theatrical producer who had a distinguished career in New York presenting plays by the Moscow Art Theater, Max Reinhardt, and Elenore Duse. Things slowed down for him during the great depression, and for the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, he ended up putting on a midget show.
In looking at old photos, I often find myself thinking about historical proximity. In 1939, Japan had invaded China, and Germany was about to invade Poland. The gentleman in the first picture may or may not have ended up in combat. He may or may not have been wounded or died. His wife may have ended up building airplanes, or may have stayed at home. Of course, I can't tell what happened to them from these pictures, but I also can't help speculating. Whatever happened, it all changed.