If you happen to follow my Flickr stream, or if you read this on sararyan.com and occasionally click one of the “Recent Photos” on the right-hand sidebar (which, yes, come from the very same Flickr stream), you will know that I am far more apt to take pictures of landscape, street art, and objects on offer at estate sales than I am of humans.
But if you were to visit my house, you would discover a quite different photographic aesthetic. I collect old group photos, each of which features multiple humans: a 1958 junior high school class, a 1904 Rebekahs assembly, 1921 and 1923 chiropodists’ association conferences. Most of the photos are too large to fit on the scanner, so I can’t show you the sullen girls whose expressions convinced me to begin the collection, or the Rebekah who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Darnielle in modest drag. But my most recent acquisition is 8 x 10:
This is a group of blood donors, sometime during the Second World War. I scanned it at a high resolution, so if you click over to Flickr you can pick up details: the jaunty caps of the women holding the Honor Award banner; the leaf-pattern appliquÃ©s on the blouse of the woman who’s arm in arm with two other ladies, one with a dazzling smile, the other more subdued with arms folded across her chest; and the glass insulators on the telephone poles, some destined, perhaps, for the very estate sale where I bought the photo.
Do any of y’all share this obsession?