Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Merlin Mann's Fuzzy Little Boy

I was led to this Merlin Mann post by Daring Fireball.

John Gruber, of DF, highlighted Merlin's description of the effect of seeing color photos from times that we mostly know from B&W.
But, sometimes, an old color photo brings a distant image to life and produces something kind of special. The best ones make their subjects and their surroundings seem far more real and intimate.
When done well, these images help repudiate the implicit modern reading that pre-color photography realistically captured the simple but alien lives of people who were neither as complex, interesting, nor sophisticated as we CMYK people are.
But I think that Merlin's ruminations on the life of a little boy captured in one picture is truly touching.
But, the real star of the show has to be that little boy standing on the left. He looks like he’s about my daughter’s age—maybe 3 or so.
I wonder if his family was ever able to buy this or any other field. I wonder if they maybe found better work at the B-29 plant in Marietta or the shipyards of Savannah. I wonder if the boy ended up serving in Vietnam. And, if he did, I wonder if he ever made it home.
I wonder if he ever got to see his own fuzzy little kids spend their days standing someplace better than another man’s cotton field.

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