Dear Readers (or Reader- I have no idea who actually reads this blog!), I have to confess. I have a compulsion and that is to buy vintage photographs. I have tons and my collection has mushroomed in a few mere months.
This addiction started innocently enough. I bought this photo in Brighton last August:
It’s great, isn’t it? I love it so much, I chose it as one of my business card designs. I think it’s just so charming and such a broad section of women is interesting. It’s also the photo that led to my pet project Ladies in Monochrome– a blog that I put a new picture on everyday. The premise is simple; I pick photos that show women. They can be in everyday situations, special yet familiar situations or plain old famous. I have all kinds of women on the blog- intrepid explorers, grandmothers, land girls, models and dancers. I like that I’m ‘rescuing’ these photos from being chucked in a box and ignored. I’d love it one day if someone could email me and say ‘That’s my great-grandma’. I always want to know who these women were and what happened to them after the photo was taken. Some of the saddest photos I have are of young Romany girls taken in Europe in the early 1940s. You can’t help but wonder what happened to them after those pictures were taken.
I love picking up the photos from flea markets and (dangerously) eBay. It’s getting to the point where I’m being recognised by sellers on there who know to keep things to one side so they can combine postage for me. I bet they see my name pop up and think “Brilliant. She’s back! Have we any pictures of nuns we can sell her?”
Ah yes, nuns. There are two things that will guarantee a sale from me: if you have a picture of a nun and if you have a picture of a woman holding a cat. One of my great life ambitions is to find and buy a pre-1950 picture of a nun holding a cat. I’m sure it exists somewhere. I just need to buy it.
You might wonder why these things have such a magical effect on me… I have no idea why the nuns. I’m not religious, although my family was originally Catholic. I’ve always been fascinated by nuns and their place in history. I’m also a fan of religious art and I have a little collection of stuff I’ve picked up on my travels. As for cats, well, the majority of animals featured in old photos are dogs. And come on, this is the internet age when cats like Simon’s Cat and Maru are the real online stars of the modern age! I’m really just redressing the balance.
But there is a downside to having such a great collection of photos. I am a natural hoarder and, whilst this is a better collection to have than, say, dolls or vintage sewing machines, I do still have a LOT of photos. I’m now having to find places and receptacles to put them into. I subscribe to a beauty subscription service and get excited when my monthly box arrives. Not only because I’ll have new makeup but also because I’ll have a new box for the photos. It’s getting to that point.
I’m thinking of selling some of my collection, in order to free up space and money- it’s win/win. There are a few I won’t sell, but I’m going to possibly release quite a few photos so that someone else could have them in their home and enjoy them. It won’t be easy though…