A while ago my mom gave me an old magazine that was without the cover, and a Good Housekeeping. I usually don’t go for those types of magazines- preferring those that focus on fashion like McCall, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and the Delineator- but after I flipped the first few pages, I stumbled across this series of images and found myself wondering about the lives about about those photographed here.
As a general rule (though I know there are exceptions), we tend to base our rosy-colored view of what people of the past wore through illustrations, paintings, exquisite high-end gowns in museum collections, and photographs- and what most of those have in common, is that, in essence, most were either worn by, are images of, or are targeted toward, the younger, fashionable, and wealthy (though, advent of magazines such as McCall, Ladies Home Journal, etc, targeted the middle class). I admit, I don’t often even think about what the older, less wealthy people wore in a given generation. I was interested in what people in my age range wore, and, if I was going to consider a gown to make, was obviously going to make one as pictured in the fashion magazines or the other visually appealing images of loveliness that flit before our eyes constantly on social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
But let us consider, for a moment, a completely different kind of beauty. In fact, I venture to say, this is a more realistic, more heart-touching, more genuine form of beauty. Just a look at the lines on the faces and smiles glistening through their eyes makes you stop and consider, not only, our perceived notion of what “beauty” is, but also WHO these images capture. What they must have lived through! What must their lives have been! Even consider, had some of these sitters ever had a photograph taken of themselves?
Seeing these faces really gives me something to be thankful for. Those courageous men and women who came before us, who carved out a life for themselves, and who touched the people they knew. It really humbles and gives us a moment to consider how much WE have to be thankful for.