“Every year my mom thinks of a theme and has my siblings dress up to go see Santa. This year was mischievous elves. My parents started doing foster care when I was in 3rd grade, that’s why there’s more kids in a couple pics. I think I was in 5th grade when my mom started the themes with Santa. She would have us go to the Santa in the Mall, which was extremely embarrassing some years, but now looking back its definitely one of my favorite memories. Once you turn 18 or move out, you don’t have to do it. The most recent on is of my brothers.”
“Growing up, I did ballet and I performed in The Nutcracker more times than I can remember. This was the year I was a candy cane and also the year before I discovered tweezers, apparently. The photographer insisted that I caress the nutcracker doll, resulting in this creepy, borderline objectophilic gem.”
(submitted by Cara)
Thank you to Robert E. Jackson for passing along this Slate piece from Jon Feinstein, a Seattle- and New York City–based curator, co-founder of Humble Arts Foundation, and the strategic partnerships manager at Shutterstock.
“Robert E. Jackson has spent almost 20 years building a collection of nearly 12,000 vernacular photographs, mainly from the 1920s through the late ’60s, with a particular eye for the strange and uncanny. His expertly hand-picked photos have drawn attention largely for their ability to transcend nostalgia with what he describes as “pure photographic moments.” These moments range from accidental lens flares to unrelated visual commonalities. “Pure photography,” Jackson told me in a Humble Arts Foundation interview earlier this year, “was a name I coined for those images which didn’t really fit into any category—which seemed to be abstract objects. They didn’t tell an obvious story.” Within these pictures, Jackson is drawn to the transparency of mistakes, and their ability to elevate sentimental documents into art. Unlike Instagram, which could be considered a contemporary vehicle for the snapshot, these visual anomalies came from a lack of control that social media enables us to have today. Re-contextualizing these “pure photographs” helps Jackson and viewers to “appreciate the beauty of the photo as an object divorced from narrative and lifestyle.”
“My daughter made this at school for me. I believe that the teacher made an epic fail when telling my daughter what words to hold up for the photo.”
(submitted by Julia)