This is another one of the wonderful old vintage photos from years ago, it has no names, dates or information written on it, so we have to guess it's history.
Mr. T. J. Alexander brought the first telephone service to Marion in Jan. 1899 and it was in operation by Feb. 23, 1899. There were eighty telephone instruments in the town of Marion. By June 1900 there were 159 paid subscribers.
General information to use the phone was to give the bell crank one sharp turn, then take the receiver from the hook, place it firmly to your ear and listen for the operator to answer, give the operator the number of name of the party with whom you wish to communicate and the operator will at once make the call for you. Subscribers are requested not to enter into conversation with the operator.
I would guess the picture was made during this time as someone would think this historical event was worthy of a photograph.