Sometimes when I look at old photos I am struck at just how average some people look. They have faces that span the years, like some of the recent doppelgängers I have posted, or someone from the 19th century looks like they might just walk out of the local shopping mall. Faces tell the story of our emotions, our deep secrets, and our lives, and are truly extraordinary, each in its own way. No two faces are alike. Even identical twins have some dissimilarities in their faces, that although difficult for the untrained eye to perceive, are there none the less.
I particularly like this group of old photos because the people are very average, almost unextraordinary in their ordinariness. And yet, you see a father proudly sitting with his children and the family dog, a soldier ready to risk his life for his country, young women feeling flirty and free. Were they simply attempting to blend into this amazing ecosphere called American life? Or, is it that these faces reflect our own lives, our toils and worries, our triumphs and victories?
It cannot be overlooked that a photo of an Asian soldier presumably in the US – in California, even – during the war era must be uncommon (considering I can go into several antique shops on any given day and find numerous and plentiful snapshots of white soldiers from the same era). Was this man Japanese and enlisted in one of the segregated Japanese-American units?
Was this the new family car? Getting ready to go out for some fun? I love how the little girl is sort of slouchy in what looks like an attempt to imitate her elder, and yet comes off as looking as though she needed some more practice.
As you look into these faces, what do you see?
When you are finished with your contemplations here, click over to Sepia Saturday to find more of the ordinary and extraordinary faces from around the world.