I have earlier mentioned my affection for old photos. Even though I am downsizing my household and generally trying to be a thoughtful curator, I keep picking up new ones. Here are my justifications for continuing to collect snapshots of people I don’t know…
- They don’t take up much space. (At least I’m not collecting suits of armor or big dusty teddy bears.)
- They are cheap. They can be expensive but those ones don’t come home with me. I gravitate toward the 2 or 3 for a dollar bins.
- They make good gifts. I like to tuck them into letters or books. A good photo is almost like a poem for me. Makes me pay attention, reflect, remember.
- They inform my writing. Sometimes an idea starts with a photo, or sometimes finding a photo helps me make progress on something I am already involved with.
I thumb through my pictures and think about the subjects. What were their names? What were their lives like? What would they think if they saw a picture of me in the moment I am studying them?
I like photos that show relationships: people with friends, family, and animals.
I like pictures that document a moment in time: products & fashions. I use vintage kitchen tools because they are attractive, sturdy, and useful. I love to find my things in other people’s pictures, or just admire the old-school fonts and design.
I am attracted to photos that capture emotion. Some are easily identified…
Others are trickier. At first glance this man seemed put out and awkward. But when I looked closer at his facial expression, it’s mild. So now I think maybe he was indulging the photographer, and I’m guessing that was a person who liked him very well, just as he was. I see no criticism in that photo.
I’m drawn to photos that represent hard work. I want to shout back in time, “Yay, you!”
I’m not sure why I like this next photo. There’s something attractive about “journey” snapshots. The young woman also looks my sister, Hilary.
Same sister noted the unusually modern looking watch (?) her doppelganger is wearing. It seems out of sync with everything else in the picture. Maybe she was a time traveler, Hilary suggested. The possibility delights me.
What do you collect, if anything? Why?