You can imagine this girl - a New York socialite, young and healthy - and her first experience with these foreign warriors, and what must have been going through her mind. As per most photographs of the time, their expressions are serene, as you had to wait for the camera to capture the image and it's much easier to maintain a placid expression. I suspect this was a much easier feat for the samurai, who were accustomed to keeping their expressions neutral, as was the cultural societal norm for the Japanese. Also, these were more than warriors, these were cultural ambassadors, charged with breaking Japan's self-imposed isolation from pretty much the rest of the world. What do you think they were thinking?
The exhibit begins this Friday, the 25th and runs through October 11th.