This looks like a stage or silent film setting, with absolutely no tension inherent. The men stand by with luxuriant towels as the two family groups look on.
What the hell is going on here? Who even came up with this? And why? I can't figure out any plausible scenario for this obviously staged event. And I'm not even going to try.
I will say, however, that judging from the slightly aggressive tilt of the shoulder on the woman at our right, that the woman in white is in for it.
Here's a question to add to the ones you put forth: where/how did you find this picture? Did you know it existed, or did you know about the work of the photographer, or did you just stumble upon it randomly? Inquiring minds, you know...
It really is SO strange--are they by the beach, because it looks like there is a sand dune in the background. Or maybe a snow-covered hill. Also, you're definitely right. The woman in white is going down! And judging by her body language, she sort of knows it.
I found it on Flickr at "The Commons", a great collection of old pics from libraries and museums.
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