Frozen in time
As a life-long photographer I am well aware of the power of the still photograph. Photographs freeze a moment in time. Forever. Case in point is the photo on page 2 of today’s Marietta Times.
The photo shows a group of freshmen at Marietta High School in 1930. High school freshmen tend to be 1415 years old, which means all the students in the photo were born around 1915, and so it is likely that no one in the photo is still living.
Odds are life in 1930 was not very easy for the students. The nation was still deep in the Great Depression, many of their parents were likely out of work. The schools in Marietta were then, as they are now, going through a period of adjustment. Students had moved into the new high school on the hill a few years earlier in 1926. The students are seated on the steps of the gym. The gym of the school was not built with the school but added in 1929 after it was decided that the original plan of having physical education classes at the Armory and the Betsey Mills was not going to work.
The photo on page two is a cropped version of the photo taken by Marietta photographer Harry Fischer. Digital copies of his photos are preserved in the Slack Research Collection of the Legacy Library at Marietta College and are available for anyone to look at online. I cropped the photo so re
aders could get a look at some of the kids in the photo. Some of you might be related to some of them. These are the grandparents and great-grandparents that helped build Marietta during the last century. Many of them likely served in faraway places a decade later during World War II. Some may not have made it home.
Many would spend their life working at places like Dravo, Remington Rand and Airolite — working hard to make a life better than they had during the Depression.
They would live their lives in Marietta’s many neighborhoods. Those in Norwood could walk to work at the Remington Rand plant that still sits in the middle of the neighborhood.
But on that day in 1930 they sat looking into Fischer’s camera, the boys wore ties and jackets, many had knee socks, one boy has lace up boots that look as though he had to get up 15 minutes early to tie. The girls all wore dresses.
I find old photos to be a little haunting, especially those of children.
It’s hard not to imagine how their lives might have turned out.
The challenges they would face and the disappointments they would overcome as they grew into adults.
Their lives would scatter, but for that brief moment in 1930 everyone had a shared moment, a moment like millions of others frozen in time by a still photograph.
Art Smith is online manager of The Times, he can be reach at email@example.com