Waiters in the Grand Hotel Dining Room watch Sonja Henie ice skating. St. Moritz, 1932.
Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt.
I’ve always been captivated with the idea of why and how certain images seem to stay with you. This is one of those photographs for me. Each time I see it, I take away something new. Intuitively, I know there’s a bit of nostalgia for a time I was not personally acquainted with, but could well imagine. With today, the first of November, and thoughts of winter, I am reminded of this iconic image snapped by a master photographer in this fabled hamlet in the Engadine valley of Switzerland long ago.
The black and white of it perfectly conveys the time. You almost feel the need to shield your eyes from the glare of the winter landscape outside as the blinding light of the snow pierces the panes of glass, accentuating the warmth of the moment and the quiet of the room, safely tucked atop a tower filled with awe, expectancy and the crisp starch of rolled napkins, pressed tablecloths, aprons in snapped-to precision and the dreams and fantasies of a tightly knit group of young men filled with excitement, wonder, and longing for that gliding silhouette on ice that might one day figure in their future.