Sunday, March 20, 2011

Waiting for a Soldier

Occasionally I come across an image in the AHS Archives that potentially tells a story far deeper than the information we actually know about the photograph. The picture in today's post is a perfect example. This photograph is unfortunately unidentified. We do not know who the lady sitting in the chair is. We do not even know where she is sitting. This image exists in a state of archival limbo known as the miscellaneous file.

At first glance this looks like a simple portrait of a young lady from the early part of the twentieth century. If you look closely at the image you can start to discern an interesting story. Sitting on the table is a framed portrait of a soldier. Judging by both her clothing and what I can see of his uniform, I feel safe in saying that this image was taken during the first World War (1914-1918). What I enjoy about this image is the way she is posed with one elbow resting on the table and her knuckles against the side of her head. A very slight smile graces her face. There is something about this pose that implies that she is patiently waiting.

What is she waiting for? Why the return of the soldier whose photograph is in the frame on the table of course. Was he in training? Was he fighting in the trenches of France or Belgium? Did he have a copy of this image that he kept safely pressed into a book or tucked into a pocket? Did he ever return home? Sadly we do not have an answer to these questions.

All for now,
RGS

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