I don't purchase fine art photography

Some people may be into purchasing limited edition, framed and signed prints by photographic artists. I’m not one of those people. I like to purchase works by people who’s names I will never know.

My method of purchasing photography is as follows.

  1. Find an estate sale, or antique store.
  2. Search for surreal, enigmatic or photos of very interesting events made by anonymous photographers.
  3. Spend fifteen minutes mulling over if it they are worth $2 each to add to my collection.

When I really think about it, the type of photos I like to purchase are very much like the type of photos I like to make. Typical looking people, strange scenarios, plenty of objects that will only make the image more dated and unique interesting as time goes by and their design change. There is no need to know who the people are, or why they are doing whatever they are doing. Creating stories around them is half the fun.

The hobby of hunting for masterpieces of vernacular photography is almost just as unexpected and fun as doing street photography itself. I never know when or where they’ll turn up. Finding images that have that special something that makes me want to purchase it is a nice treat between all the photographs of stiff formal portraits, photos people standing like tourists in front of whatever, and bad landscapes. The excitement of collecting vernacular photos is only better when a single, one of a kind piece may set you back four dollars. Beats the thousands of dollars established, or upcoming artists may try to charge for something similar.

I bring this subject up because today I found a few photos that I decided where good enough to purchase and add to my collection. I thought I’d go ahead and share them with you.

Child with Carriage
Child with Carriage

Caged Woman
Caged Woman

Man, Woman, and Indian Statue
Man, Woman, and Indian Statue

Normally photos of people posing in front of random objects don’t make my cut, and I don’t purchase them. This one was different though. There was something about the woman’s big glasses, ragged appearance, and appearing to be drunkenly supporting herself on a man who appears very rigid and nicely dressed next to an Indian statue that put it over the edge for me. I also really like the composition. Filling the half the frame with blank white space just works for me.

I also have a bunch of other anonymous photographs in my collection. I think in time I’ll scan some more of them and share them with you. If you like this sort of thing, I highly recommend getting the book Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographers. It is one of my favorite photo books I have in my collection.


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Category Found Photos