Well I suppose in the long scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Any photograph you look upon is a rorschach, and if you pay it any attention you’ll bring to it your own experiences and biases, your likes and dislikes, and read into it what you will. Plus, the events these represent — the Great Depression, WWII, the race to the moon — are so far removed from us today that the men and women who took them have just naturally faded into the background.
And that’s alright with me. None of us in the creative arts can reliably expect not to fade away, ourselves. As for me, I haven’t photographed anything more culturally significant or artistically revolutionary than the contours of my own (admittedly off-kilter) mind. No earth-risings, no flag-raisings; just quiet moments with me and my camera. And maybe that’s all those photographers expected, too.
It’s just that the world happened to get in their way.