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Anonymous Snapshot 1940

How did you begin collecting? I think that collecting filled a void in my life. As a youngster, it was something that I needed to do to stay afloat. I started out collecting groups of things I could find for free—like interesting rocks and natural objects—even bottle caps. When I look back now at my collecting, I can see the burgeoning of myself as an artist too. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was beginning to hone my eye—developing a kind of connoisseurship of looking at things. I felt somewhat “wealthy” having these groups of things around me, always admiring each one for its unique (or similar) properties. At some point later I

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collected coins, and with that I was examining each one for condition and rarity. I was always on the prowl for things that were interesting to me. I’m reminded of the great designer Paul Rand who once said “the artist is by necessity a collector,” and I think that’s true. Look at Georgia O’Keeffe and the natural objects she collected for inspiration. She was well-known for the bones, rocks and weathered objects she found in the desert. Once, in graduate school while at Washington University, I found an envelope of 25 or 30 x-rays that were being thrown away. This was around 1975, and I thought they were intriguing. At the time I was experimenting with various photographic

processes like photo-emulsion canvasses, so I made large silver gelatin prints from these x-rays for my thesis exhibition. Those were early years for so-called found photography. How did that first acquisition influence subsequent ones? Well, at the time I was an ambitious flea market picker. The late 70s and 80s were fertile times for that. In pre-eBay days, it was easier to find deals. I would find anonymous paintings and carvings and whirlygigs, and I would marvel at their craftsmanship and visionary styles. So, the found object became very important to me. Like most collections, it started with a few piec-

Don't Take Pictures Issue 3  

Don’t Take Pictures is a biannual print, online & tablet-ready magazine that celebrates the creativity involved with the making of photograp...

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