If you are an older woman and do not wish to display your crepey upper arms, what do you do on a hot summer day? These three in Ashville Ohio show a common solution—pick a lightweight, transparent fabric. The women on the left and right appear to wear dresses with a transparent upper bodice, with a dark lining or slip underneath. We can see bits of their shoulders too. Only the arms are visible on the woman in the middle.
The photos are by Ben Shahn, who is best known as an artist. They are part of a series documenting a carnival like Fourth of July party in Ashville, Ohio. There were free side shows, wrestling matches, and even a peep show where you could pay ten cents to see images of a “Nudist Colony.” These three friends have worn their best summer dresses to the event–are they checking to see if they have the winning number in a raffle?