The small outbuildings behind these figures have no foundations. They may be at an Army fort where he trains to go overseas to fight the Japanese or the Germans. The attachment between the woman and the man is strong. Look at their hands!—his pulling her toward himself, hers resting affectionately on his belt. She gazes at the camera from the security of his embrace. As they stand there, they look out at the world with optimism.
They are in the center of the frame, shown as complete figures without any cropping into their legs or the tops of their heads. Maybe the photographer wanted to preserve them whole, shooing away thoughts of mortality. The frame holds them and protects them. The roof over their heads keeps out the elements but allows the sunshine to fall upon them.
We could speak of how her light dress contrasts with his Army outfit. We could read more into the way in which the light falls upon her, but pursuing symbols may take the energy of life out of this snapshot. And that energy keeps our eyes riveted on these two people as they stand in the sunshine in front of some soldiers’ housing on an Army base in the nineteen forties.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Simon