Photos from the Attic: Three Generations

A while ago, we posted an introduction to our old black and white photos lying unused. Many of these photos are conventional portraits, but among the piles, rare photographic gems stand out.

What are the stories behind these photos? Who is shown in the picture, why was it taken, who took the picture? No one can really know for sure, but each single shot offers thousands of possibilities.

What about these three photos of women from different generations? Each has a clear and distinct personality (and one could be a unique Coca-Cola advertisement).


The little girl in this photo clearly has the center stage – and she wouldn’t have it any other way. The perspective is such that she looks taller than she actually is, like she’s owning the sidewalk she stands on. She’s just a little girl – but her attitude says she’s so much more.

A few guesses of what the older lady thinks as she walks by this fabulous young girl. Though the older lady is wearing a nice suit, pearls and a fur stole, she’s got nothing on the girl taking center stage.


No clues as to why this girl is holding a lion cub – though Coca-Cola seems to be sponsoring the event. The lens’s focus centers on the now old-fashioned “Ice Cold” Coke sign, though the girl with the lion stands front and center in the foreground. Did the photographer intend to focus instead on the girl in the front? What an inconvenience that slipping fingers on a slippery lens had to change the image permanently.

She does look a little nervous to be holding a lion. She’s probably wondering how this happened to her. Does the cub belong to her, or is it a side show attraction? What do you think?


The last of these photos has the simplest but most beautiful subject. An old woman sits on a quaint wooden porch. She wears a floral-print blouse and a homemade apron. Her hands rest in her lap; she stares off into the distance in a pensive pose. What is she thinking about? Maybe she’s in the middle of telling a story, taking a pause to collect her thoughts. Or is she watching someone or something from her perch on the porch, like neighborhood kids playing?

All these photos have hidden histories. What do you think the people in these pictures are thinking?

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