Swimsuits & Beauty Pageants

Atlantic City Beauty Pageant.


Above is a light hearted photograph that has gained a bit of internet notoriety because of its overall silliness. It was taken in 1944 and features the participants of the year’s Atlantic City Beauty Pageant contestants standing in shallow water.

Of course, that part isn’t what is particularly humorous. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary, but slowly as you take in the details, you begin to notice the absurdities. First off, we have Ms. New York up front posing in a much more photogenic stance than her fellow contestants. Second, they took the picture before the man in the top left corner could get out of the scene. It is assumed he was part of the camera crew that was responsible for this photo. Third, all the girls are looking in a different direction but still smiling, as if they don’t know where the camera is.

The reason behind these oddities is hard to discern. There was a theory that this was due to the cameraman not giving a warning before taking the picture. If this were the case, though, then why are all the girls smiling? They wouldn’t have known to pose and smile. The most commonly accepted explanation is that there were multiple cameras set up for them to be looking at. This would explain that man in the back, he is probably with one of the other cameras. It would also explain why all the girls are looking in separate directions, the might not know which one is taking the picture. As for Ms. New York’s flamboyant pose, probably just excess personality.