6 December 2016

………Snapshots are photographs that were taken by millions of amateur photographers on inexpensive point and shoot film cameras starting in 1888 via the Kodak # 1 camera. 100 years later, Kodak announced that 80 billion photos had been printed. That same year the first digital camera became commercially available, and analog photography’s decline began. Concurrently, people started collecting unwanted and discarded snapshots found in unclaimed storage units, flea markets, photo fairs , antique stores, and online via Ebay. Such an interest in the snapshot as a collectible eventually elevated the hobby into an art form. Exceptional snapshots have been exhibited by major museums, and can fetch high prices at auctions.
………The Snapshot Collector is a documentary short about the art of collecting this found photography. The film focuses on four players from the Snapshot scene:
– Barbara Levine is an accomplished curator who has been building her collection for over 30 years with a focus on the family album.
A figurehead of the Snapshot scene, Stacy Waldman has made a career out of buying and selling Snapshots. She also collects images of people named Dick.
– John Phelan is a self-described addict of collecting, he spares no expense, voraciously buying more than he can handle. His collection is dark and sometimes disturbing.
– Joel Rotenberg is a dealer and collector that lives and breathes Snapshots. He also writes about the significance of Snapshot photography as an art form. He seeks images that invoke “accidental feelings” and his astounding collection is as intense and unusual as the man himself.
………These collectors scour through a seemingly endless archive of old photographs, finding the extraordinary few, reinterpreting their context, and giving them new lives and meanings. They are all looking for the art in the image.

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Below you will find interviews with other notable collectors and dealers showing their photographs, telling their stories, and giving you more perspective on the art and passion that it takes to be a snapshot collector.

Estelle Rosen is a photo dealer who has been a constant presence on the East Coast snapshot
scene for upwards of twenty five years and whose eye has had a great deal to do
with defining the field.

 

 

 

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W.M. Hunt has been collecting photography for over 35 years. He is a curator, consultant and
founding partner of the prominent photography gallery Hasted Hunt in Chelsea, Manhattan,
and former director of photography at Ricco/Maresca gallery. He is a professor at the
School of Visual Arts, and has been profiled in such media outlets as
The New York Times, PBS, and BBC.
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David Rheingold is a Lawyer by day and a passionate snapshot collector by night.
He plays host to the scene in his Manhattan penthouse organizing events that enable collectors
and buyers from all over the country to assemble and socialize.
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Mark Lee Rotenberg has been collecting vintage erotic photographs since 1970s.
His mission is to find lost and forgotten erotic photographs, and his collection is one of the largest
of its kind. He currently has about 95,000 photos covering the period from 1860 to 1960.
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Evan Michelson is co-owner of Obscura Antiques & Oddities. In the 80s, she was a goth before
the term was even coined. She attends markets and auctions weekly, and is passionate about
anatomical/medical antiques and artistic depictions of the extremes of human experience
including Victorian hairwork, and postmortem photography.
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Oliver Wasow is a fine art photographer and professor. He has had a number of one person
exhibitions, and reviews of his work have been featured in most major art publications, including,
among others, Artforum, ArtNews, and The New York Times. He also happens to be
the most hated person on the snapshot scene.