Date: Early 1900's
Provenience: The US
This is, obviously, not a studio photo, taken to show a certain someone at the best possible angle but instead aims at showing a real life moment, to document ordinary life.
The motif chosen is a visit to a milliner, a place to go to to buy hats. In this particular picture it shows to customers - recognized by them both wearing coats and hats - and three shop clerks, showing off some goods .
Above all the picture serves to emphasize the flat hat-fashion at the time. The hats that are stacked behind the three sales-women are all flat, all perfect for stacking, and easy to store. On the top shelf are big boxes that contain stuff less suited for stacking, be it bigger hats or just material to use to make them.
The customers look rather amused at the situation, smiling and pretending to act as normal, in spite of the presence of a camera. The three ladies behind the counter seems less inclined to relax. They all look serious and two of them look straight at the camera while showing off the goods - they don't even try to act as if everything is normal.