Thursday, October 18, 2012
Destroying Photo Albums
Every so often, I feel the need to complain about the wanton destruction of photo albums and the breaking up of collections by antique dealers. I understand that they're trying to increase their profits by selling individual images, but come on, there's history to think about. It's true that the average person thinks of war, elections, and famous people when they hear the word history, but there is a whole other historical past out there; the past of the ordinary, they way people lived, the day by day that's every bit as important as who won the election of 1884.
The dealer who sold me these images, as well as some others that may or may not have come from the same source, saw the two studio portraits as his profit. When those photos wouldn't pull off the page, out came the razor blade and goodbye photo album. Now, I admit that they are lovely images, but when I turned them over...all I could think of was how much more interesting they would have been if I could have put her life into some sort of context. And if the dealer hadn't cut things up, I might have been able to do that. The funny thing is, I bought these two photos plus five other images in an envelope, for five dollars. I would have paid more for a single page of the album, with both sides intact, and even more for the whole album.
Embossed on the second photo, "BAUGH WINFIELD, KANS" I couldn't find anything about the photographer. Winfield, Kansas is a town in southern Kansas, current population, 12,000+.