A photograph is a glimpse at a specific moment in the past. A moment that will never occur again. A place that no one can ever go back to or change. I am fascinated by old photographs and those brief moments that they capture.
The first time I looked at this photograph (actually a Real Photo Postcard or RPPC), I looked at the intended subject just like the photographer wanted. The subject of this photo is a Fourth of July wagon. This is the intended subject. This is what the photographer wanted you to look at…but look closer. There is a lot more going on at this moment of time.
Did you notice that one of the girls on the float is dressed like The Statue of Liberty?
Did you notice the flags on the porch behind the wagon?
How about the lady on the porch?
Did you notice that the horse behind the wagon has been decorated also?
Did you notice that his rider is in uniform?
Did you notice the baby carriage under the shade tree?
Did you notice the boy in the foreground wearing knickers?
Did you notice the wagonmaster is wearing a bowler hat? A black arm band?
Did you even notice that he was a black man the first time?
Many of the things in this photo are as interesting as the intended subject. Did the photographer intend for us to see these things when he took the picture? Probably not, but they are captured along with everything else.
Sometimes history is staring right back at us and all we have to do is take the time to look.
So, next time you are looking at an old photo…look at it again. There may be some history in there that you missed the first time.