Can you date this picture...? (3) answer

As before, thank you very much for all your responses. As Claire wrote, “it’s an essentially timeless picture”. Highlight the space below to find out the answer:

May 1944. It was taken by Frank Scherschel and is drawn from the Life magazine archive.

In fact, Claire’s is a very interesting point. In general, how do we know what period of time we are in? It is actually through physical behaviour - the presence of a type of car here, or the absence of a pylon there. But what happens when that behaviour is ambiguous, when the car could be from the 1940s but doesn’t have to be, when the absence of pylon could be contemporary, but doesn’t have to be? Our sense of time becomes ambiguous, or “timeless”. In other words, the difference between one time period and another is the physical behaviour exhibited en masse in those time periods. This is great news for would-be retronauts - change the behaviour, you change the time…
Thank you very much to Etienne du Plessis.

8 comments to Can you date this picture…? (3) answer

  • J. Whittaker

    If you look very closely, there appears to be an automobile in the distance. To my eyes it looks like a 1930s style car. I’m going to guess the picture was taken sometime in the late 30s, I’ll say 1938.

  • Claire

    Wow, that’s me!! I thought I was just being obtuse and not playing the guessing-game properly. Thanks!

  • TheSloth

    In addition to the automobile, the vivid colours and the smooth road, and its width should also tell something about the age of this photographs.

  • Jez

    Can spot what looks like a bit of sepia in the house in the distance - great quality photo and there’s no doubt that it could have been taken very recently but I reckon it’s probably pre-war - somewhere between 1935 and 1939.

  • Jenny Jacoby

    It reminds me of the wall around Hundreds Hall in The Little Stranger. How it looks in my head.

  • Paul Barnfather

    What I find so delightful about this image is that it could (almost!) have been taken last week, even though it was taken a lifetime ago…

  • [...] answer is in this [...]

  • claudia

    i guess ….. 1942

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