The picture represents an early example of the breed, who was great for his time. Why deviations? For the same reason the "normal" look at field trials doesn't look like the standard -- some breeders are breeding to what some judges are putting up and then perpetuating that look via popular sires.
A few points to consider: should breeders simply be breeding to preserve the structure of early examples of the breed even if those structures could be improved upon from a functional perspective, as outlined in the standard? Should all breeds just be about creating carbon copies of the first recorded AKC CH in the breed? Sometimes, I feel that's what people are saying when they point to a dog from 1920/30 and say, "Why don't show dogs look like this?"
Could any of those 1930s dual champs be a field trial champion in today's trials? My guess? Most likely, no.
Are show champions today really all wildly different from early show dogs? Some are, but many are not. You will not witness this unless you get out to a lot of shows. You can google pix of all the top 20 Labs, and guess what? You'll have twenty examples of show dogs out of how many that are shown to their championships in the US?
Many of the great Labs from yesteryear absolutely would finish today in the show ring. English vs American Breed Standard
This girl is now a GCH (not just an AKC CH) MH, she might not be your preferred look, and won't be a FC/AFC, but this dog excels in the ring and is enough of a hunting dog IMO for anyone except the most intense trialer. CH Boynes Avian Investigator MH WCX CGC
This moderate girl went winners bitch at Potomac in 2015 -- Potomac, the world's biggest Labrador show, literally more than a thousand Labs compete (counting performance sports, closer to 1500). I was there all week, saw her win, and the girls she beat. What's so radically different about her vs. many conformation bred dogs of 50 years ago? Atlantic Labradors - Atlantic's Haut-Brion
Here's the judge's critique of her from Potomac -- and lest anyone think this is written by some biased US judge who likes big fat Labrapigs, Gary Johnson is a breeder judge from England, our breed's motherland: "My find of the show! Beautifully feminine bitch, moderate and unexaggerated and exudes classic breed type. Her head piece and expression are just gorgeous, giving a soft melting expression. Everything just flows, from her well placed neck and forehand, through correctly shaped ribs and over a short and strong loin, through well developed quarters. I liked her length of leg to body ratio and the fact that she was not carrying any excess weight. In super coat with a true otter tail. She moved like a dream at the correct pace. At this age there is nothing I would change about her, except perhaps her ownership to me. She was everything I was looking for and I was so pleased to award her Winners bitch. I thought her outstanding and she should have a great career ahead of her."
She's gorgeous! I think she would be a winner on either side of the pond.