Why Does the Past Seem So Far Away?

In part, because we so often see it in black and white. But the world has, for some thousands of years at least, looked much as it does now. This morning I stumbled across this beautiful collection of color photographs, taken in the U.S. between 1939 and 1943. They belong to the Library of Congress and cover a broad spectrum, including rural, small town and industrial views. Here is the State Fair in Rutland, Vermont; click to enlarge:
Going to town on a Saturday afternoon:
A rural school in Texas:
There are a lot of images; you can study them just about forever.
This collection of images of the Russian Empire was taken by a photographer named Prokudin-Gorskii between 1909 and 1915, before the twin catastrophes of the Great War and Lenin. In some respects they are more exotic, but still the color photos have a familiar look. This is a lake in Finland, taken around 1910:
If you have a little time to kill today, these galleries are fascinating.