Today, I have many boxes and albums of my own, most dating from somewhere between 1900 and 1935. I can no longer buy as many photos as I used to. The market for vintage photos is quite hot now, so a single photo can go for anywhere from $2 to $20 or $30 or sometimes even more, depending on the subject, age, and quality. I used to buy whole albums for less than $5. Those days are pretty much over. Now, I limit myself to really special single photos or albums that are handmade.
While I was in London in August, I discovered one such album at Spitalfields. It's made of heavy watercolor paper, completely hand stitched and hand glued together by someone who took great care. The cover is decorated with watercolor roses, and all the photo slots inside--dozens and dozens of them--are hand cut. I wish I knew the name of the dealer who sold it to me. He had marvelous photos, and he knew that this album was special, but he gave me a reasonable price.
The photos inside date from 1900 to 1905. Their caption dates are all written in French. The earliest ones are of a group of young women in various classes at school, but as time passes, more and more young men are included in the pictures and the groupings become more social occasions and outings. I wanted to share just a few of these with you because I know so many of you love photography and collecting just as much as I do.
These last two are of Martha Lust. I adore her expression in this final photo. I wish I'd known her. I often use vintage photos as inspiration for my writing. Martha would make a wonderful fictional character.
I will admit that collecting vintage photos is a bit of an addiction for me. I am that woman you see at flea markets hunched over the paper dealer's table, rifling through boxes and piles of photos, culling out just a few to add to her favorites. These days I look for photos of beautiful interiors, images that feature friendships, pictures of children with animals, and pictures of women in occupations other than teaching (quite rare). I also love farm pictures or pictures where people are laughing. Of course, pictures in which people are wearing beautiful clothing are always special, too. Sometimes I also find interesting photos of factories or other more industrial subjects; these are often fascinating.
So, now you know one of my collecting addictions. How about you, my friends? Anyone share a similar passion? If so, what do you collect and why?