02 June 2008

Photographs as "Junk"

I never go to yard sales. But according to this story in The New York Times it sometimes pays to do so. Unfortunately, most times you don't find a cache of invaluable prints and letters. Instead you find yard sale junk. And, of course, it is simply karma that has this story run the way it does.

On the other hand, it is interesting to think about this episode as part of the circulation of photographic images, one possible stage of their natural history as it were. Remember that most of the lynching photographs that make up the Without Sanctuary exhibition also ended up in similar circumstances. James Allen simply began to buy them up. Good thing that he frequents various sorts of roadside sales, or knows lots of people who do.

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