While the language of photography often provides us with a surface level meaning, it is important to note that there can easily be something more going on than a quick glance can grasp.
The above self-portrait by Germaine Krull is a very cool photo. However, to our modern vision an important element in it may be missing. If you took the same photo now in the age of selfies, we might just look at it and say “cool camera.”
The New Woman as an individual pursued freedom on multiple fronts: the right to vote, have a professional life, enter politics, enjoy sexual liberty, play sports, and travel independently. Andrea Nelson, The New Woman Behind the Camera.
When Krull took this photo of herself it was a rebellious act. Women photographers 100 years ago were using the camera as a tool to not only create photos, but also to declare their independence.
So even though it is possible to understand much by merely looking at a photo. There is also more going on in a photo than meets the eye. That is especially true of photos that were taken before our time.