Showing posts with label vernacular photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vernacular photos. Show all posts

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Young Me, Now Me

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

HERE’S A INTERESTING TAKE ON SNAPSHOTS. FIND A PICTURE OF YOURSELF from some time in the past and repose that image today. Upload those “before and after” pictures to a public site. Time marches on.

Go to Young Me, Now Me here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


If you haven’t been to the Web site Square America, you are missing something. This site is, hands down, the most complete, most extensive Web site on vernacular photography on the web today. The collector, Nicholas Osborn, is a devoted collector. He has thousands of images— and I am telling you, there are great pics to view. He has divided the site into multiple categories. There are photos categories on Sleep, Love, Orphans, Costume, Dance, Photobooth, and on and on. Plus, he has a great book available for purchase “Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America”—just $35.00. Seriously, for a book like this—it is a great price. I own it, and it’s great.

An AM repost from 1/08/09

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snapshots (to be imagined)

(Above) “Papa opened his store to great crowds, but the stock market crash was just around the corner. 1928.” Click image for larger view.

(Above) “We were all shocked to see the calf born with 2 heads.” Click image for larger view.

(Above) 1. “Hungry boys.” 2. “Shy Sarah tries to hide.” 3. “Balancing on the fence post was not easy!” Click image for larger view.

(Above) 1. “Uncle Norfleet and his talking dog were the hit of the party.” Click image for larger view.

(Above) 1. “The tornado tore down the barn but not our house... thank God!!” Click image for larger view.

(Above) 1. “Gramps died the next day.” 2. “Mama’s decorated cake won First Prize at the Topeka State Fair in 1936.” Click image for larger view.

MANY OF YOU KNOW THAT I COLLECT SNAPSHOTS, vernacular photography and found objects that interest me and challenge my thinking. Last week I came across these vintage scrapbook pages, with the pictures long ago removed. Adding captions of my own, I present the first ever on-line exhibition of “Snapshots (to be imagined).”

I hope you enjoy these found images as much as I have, and for you animal lovers, please forgive me if the snapshot of the 2-Headed Calf offends you. If it does, I will gladly remove it.

Found photos © Accidental Mysteries.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hidden in Plain Sight

(Above) This eBay photo sent in by a reader... love it!

Above and below: photos for the selling of deer antlers. Click on any image for larger view.

Below: trying to document a monkey doll for sale on eBay. Click on any image for larger view.

Below: a series of eBay snapshots showing various views of three plastic figures being sold. Click on any image for larger view.

THERE IS NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY THAT I DO NOT LOOK AT EBAY. I am looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, the great object or snapshot or whatever catches my eye.

When we think of vernacular photography, we think of the printed image—something you can hold in your hand. If we define a snapshot as something made not so much as “art” but as a documentation of something by everyday people, you begin to see the difference between fine art photography and the snapshot. As a collector of vernacular images, I specifically look for images that stand far and away from the ordinary family snapshot. I look for images that have a sense of mystery, an untold story to tell, strong composition, good tonal values and rarity. I find these images at garage sales, estate sales, and on-line auctions like eBay.

When you think of eBay, hundreds of thousands of people shoot pictures not as art, but as documents to try and sell their product. So, given this definition of vernacular photography, wouldn’t these digital images on eBay be considered as such? I ask, why not?

Hidden in plain sight on eBay are these digital images (made simply to document a product for sale), that I think are rather interesting in their own right. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

- - -Sewing- -Snapshots- -With- -Thread- - -

Click any image for larger view... you’ll definitely want to!

Click any image for larger view

Click any image for larger view

MANY OF YOU KNOW THAT I COLLECT SNAPSHOTS. I have seen snapshots that have been cut and glued to other surfaces, snapshots that have been painted and altered, transferred to other surfaces, and held pristine as objects—but never sewed on. My friend Robert Jackson, a collector of snapshots, told me about the work of Jane Deschner. Jane’s work is a powerful blend of word and image, and from my vantage point within this field, unique.

Learn more about Jane Deschner’s work here.

Artist Statement:
“For over twenty-five years, I have utilized found photographic images in my artmaking—found on magazine pages, they were the material of cut-and-paste photomontages. During graduate school, I became fascinated with vernacular photography, especially in its most ubiquitous (and human) form, the snapshot. Since 2001, I have collected, studied and altered early- to mid- twentieth century snapshots and studio portraits, press and movie photographs—worked to uncover what this rich repository can teach about our essential humanity. I’ve created over a dozen series, more than five hundred artworks. When we look at snapshots that are two, three and four generations old, what is immediately obvious is what has changed. But, when we look into them—we discover what has remained constant. We are reminded of how we are to one another.”

“I’m aging and my maternal side wants to pass on what I’ve learned. I want to moralize about accountability, acceptance, love, honesty, compassion, integrity, authenticity, gratitude and generosity. I appropriate and integrate the found photographs of strangers with the embroidered words of the famous.”

“Sewing binds photographs together; embroidery inscribes a quote. Stitching by hand into these photos both destroys and mends. I puncture and suture, wound and heal, simultaneously. It is an intimate activity, meditative and, sometimes, physically painful because of the tedium of the activity and the osteoarthritis in my thumb joints. I connect with generations before me.”

“Creating garments from stitched-together snapshots, “wearable-photo-albums,” is a recent direction. I craft a narrative in the snapshots I choose, sometimes enhanced by an embroidered quote or image. The garment is a metaphor for ways we identify ourselves, as we do in the photographs we choose to take. Our photos, our clothes—what we shed when we pass on.”

“We all snap photos of people and things we love and times we want to remember. In a studio, we hire a professional to immortalize us looking our best. When I alter a photograph’s original intent and appearance, the viewer is invited to deduce, speculate and fantasize. There are many ways to appreciate ourselves in the common photograph—even those of people, places and times we never knew.

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