I grew up going to flea markets and antique shops with my mother. She went for the antiques. I went with hopes of finding baseball cards. Later I found an interest in old print ads and magazines, and antiques in general. As of late, I have actually started hitting up antique shops again for a new kind of collection. My MFA work at the University of North Dakota used old vernacular photographs culled into an archive to explore how we think about objects. But since then I have taken to a deeper interest in vernacular photos, their kinds, histories, and oddities.
Last fall I took a historical research methods course, where I formulated a project centering on mourning imagery of the Victorian age. Would could become an ambitious MA thesis project has spurred me on toward thinking about teaching a history of photography and utilizing vernacular photographs as teaching aids. Geoffery Batchen, and others, have argued that photo history (like most history) has focussed on great men and great events. But Social history has turned the focus toward the perimeter and explored the common human experience. Within photo history, vernacular photo is typically excluded from the narratives that focus upon the greats of the tradition. Yet, the most common forms of photo that humanity is most familiar with, are often left out. As an educator, my hope is to include these vernacular works into the history of photography.
My recent trips to antique shops, and time surfing Ebay, I have been looking for a variety of old photographic objects that will be used as teaching aids for a future history of photo class that I hope to teach. So over the next while, I will be posting some of my own collection and other photos from my growing collection that I just love.