Courting in a Carriage

During the 1890s, photography became increasingly popular. Cameras and photographic plates became affordable; the prevailing general prosperity allowed even young men living on Illinois farms to make photographs.

This couple sat as the young man’s brother set up the camera and placed a rock in front of the rear wheel to keep the carriage from rolling. The couple looked into the camera’s lens, submitting to the capture on film of this moment in their lives together.

Even if we do not know the people, we look at them as if we were time-travelers. The young couple perhaps looked forward to the future with optimism. In a few years’ time, the first airplane flew and cars replaced horses. The First World War came soon after, followed by the Great Depression and the Second World War.

As they sat there, holding steady and looking at the photographer, they did not know what the years ahead of them would bring. But it is tempting to surmise that they looked out of the frame with optimism and hope as any young courting couple on a date would.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Simon