I once read an article about how to cultivate a unique taste in art. It was focused more on helping people start a painting collection but I’ve taken much of their advice and implemented it in my search for vintage photographs. It all started one fateful day while at a convention with my husband. I wasn’t much interested in some of the stuff but several vendors sold vintage memorabilia and one such vendor had a plastic bag filled with a collection of old photographs. Compelled by the faces staring back at me and their mysterious histories, which teased you from little tells in their eyes, my passion for collecting began. Over the years I have developed a specific style and can very quickly spot a photograph that will soon join my collection. I can spend hours going through collections and if the image pulls on me just right, gets in my brain and won’t leave, I’ll pay about any price. So far I’ve been lucky in that the most I’ve spent on a single photograph was ten dollars. But that single image sparked a vein of interest in my search; couples.
A couple days ago I fed my itch by stopping by one of my favorite places to gather new specimens, Lula B’s. Sometimes it can be hit or miss and this last time was all hit.
When cultivating a style trust what pulls your eye instantly. You’ll set it aside, think of it, pull it out again, stare at it, get lost in it; trust that feeling and you will not regret the purchase.
When cultivating a style make sure you keep cost in mind but don’t be driven by it. Sometimes it is worth your while to buy that one more expensive piece over the cheaper less compelling ones.
When cultivating a style make sure you tease out your personal interests. When reflected back at you through the art you’re more likely to enjoy that piece for the long term. We, as humans, like to feel connected to the things we keep around ourselves. What is more powerful than the bonds between people? Their lives, their woes, joys, and fears. I am drawn to them even from across the years and grave.
For me, part of cultivating my style has to do with capturing the period in which they were created. I love a strong sense of time and place.
For me, collecting is a passion and I hope to cultivate a grand collection. I’ve even got a couple book ideas in mind. I spend time just wondering about the lives of the people I’ve gathered up. What were their passions? Trials? Concerns? Enjoyments? Where did they live? How did they live? Were they cruel or compassionate? Did they garner love or were they outcasts? This is their immortality and I pay homage to them.
Lastly, when cultivating a style, remember it is all about you! Happy Collecting!