The group of skiers looks inquisitively at the camera and, more than 100 years later, we can’t help but return the interest.
Who were they? Why are there eight men, but only one woman? Why does someone have no skis? The caption only adds intrigue: Gérardmer, Franco-German border,1913.
What, one wonders, became of the skiers in the years that followed?
The photo is one of around 800 colourised images of France that formed part of the collection of the late Marc Walter and have now been published by Taschen in a book entitled France around 1900.
Between them they capture the ultimately doomed hopes and aspirations of the Belle Époque, showing rich and poor in all the fascinating aspects of their lives.