A photo of Stonehenge that predates selfies by well more than a century is currently being showcased at an exhibit in Wiltshire, England.
Taken in 1875, the image of Isabel, Maud and Robert Routh, posing with a horse and buggy against the legendary stone slabs, is the oldest known family photo ever taken at the prehistoric attraction.
There are scores of photos even older than the Routh picture at the exhibit, dubbed "Your Stonehenge -- 150 years of personal photos" and taking place at the Stonehenge Visitors Centre. The event is being put on by English Heritage, a not-for-profit preservation society in response to a callout for images earlier this year.
The society's goal was to highlight Stonehenge as more than an artifact of archaeological interest, but as a structure that's been a significant backdrop in the lives of those appear in those photos. All told, 147 pictures are on display to chronicle 150 years of Stonehenge being captured visually by visitors.
“I loved looking at the images that people sent in,” said photographer and exhibition curator Martin Parr in a release put out by the society. “They really show what the stones mean to people and how our relationship with a site like Stonehenge has changed and yet stayed the same through time.”
The Routh shot was sent in by descendants of the trio, which doubles as a short story in itself. The family had used that same horse and carriage to travel all the way to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. And to ensure they were properly presentable for the picture being taken onsite, they made sure they wore their best outfits.
Another picture taken during the Second World War, however was relatively more sobering. It features an image of a 20-year old sergeant named Douglas Brian McLaren posing with his little sister Joyce. The occasion marked the last time the two would be photographed together. McLaren was quickly dispatched to Malta where he wound up missing in action during a bombing raid of a German convoy.
Those are the types of stories that English Heritage wanted to feature and to that end, organizers believes the exhibit succeeds in accentuate that part of the project.
"The monument has provided a constant backdrop to millions of family memories, and in some cases has even played a part in changing the course of people’s lives," said society historian Susan Greaney in a statement. "Our captivating new exhibition shows just how we are all a part of Stonehenge’s story and it is a part of ours.”