I am occasionally asked "WHERE did you get that photo?" I'll tell this time, from project b and Barbara Levine, one of those valued and kindred souls with similar esthetics you might be lucky to find when you are engaged in any pursuit, but especially when it is a quirky and personal one such as collecting images. In a field or category with the wide, undefined spaces of vernacular photography, knowing of someone with similar appreciation is especially important. Others have grappled with the perimeter and definitions, Barbara included...I don't even know who came up with the term. But I do know there are billions of photographs and if you are lucky enough to know someone who finds the same joy of the occasional unexpected miracle among them, you are fortunate. You are even MORE fortunate if that person is willing to share them, and if you are a collector and the person is willing to sell them, all the better. Barbara is both! And more.
I knew of Barbara as an author before I knew of her as an artist, collector and facilitator of fine photographic finds. Her collections, which she also shares on her website along with the beautiful photographs for sale, will knock off your socks. Just start with "dexterity puzzles" and keep going.
I will never forget receiving a note from Barbara long ago which read "If I had a blog, it would look like yours." Now THAT was flattering. I have selected only a few of the miracles for sale on Barbara's website. Your taste is different than mine, so go select your own, and if you have never visited, I bet you'll buy one (or two). When you order, ask if you can receive her newsletter. It is essential. The current issue is HERE
Barbara Levine runs project b, a curatorial services company specializing in archives, collections, and vernacular photography sales and projects. She is the author of Finding Frida Kahlo, Around The World: The Grand Tour in Photo Albums and, Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing The American Photo Album. She was formerly deputy director at The Contemporary Jewish Museum and director of exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For more information: www.projectb.com
Untitled (Oil Gusher) Anonymous Snapshot, circa 1940? Collection Jim Linderman
Other images courtesy of project b