Saturday, January 9, 2010

Finding Inspiration in Antiques

Today I went to a couple antique malls in and around Ithaca. I love antique malls because I can find so many interesting, beautiful, and unique things that I might never normally think about. I can go into an antique store and find an interesting trinket and I can think of a moment in time or a scenario in which the thing might have been important. Before I got into photography at the end of middle school, I used to write all the time. I would usually write little vignettes and short scenes from stories. It was hard, and still is hard, for me to visualize an entire story. I was a part of a writing group for a couple years and every time we would meet our instructor would have things out in the middle of the group for us to use as inspiration for our writing for the day. Sometimes she would have lists of words that we would have to use, sometimes there would be images, and sometimes there would be objects. When I saw and touched the images and objects I would immediately think of a scene or a moment. I could create these places in time by using these objects to transport me somewhere else. I think that my love for antiques came from my writing. I love thinking of stories and when I am in antique malls I am constantly thinking of other places in time.

Today I went around to have fun and find interesting things but also to find some inspiration for new shoots. There is so much to learn from antiques and it never gets old (pun not intended). Here are some things I found. All the images I took with an iphone camera.

I loved these hats resting upon one another. It gave me an idea to group accessories together in a shoot, to place them somewhere in the background to give more examples of a certain "look":

This was a piece of fabric made into something to hang on the wall. I liked the idea of using fabric as a background because there are so many amazing patterns, textures, and colors, and paired with a contrasting outfit could look really good:

There was this back corner of hanging rugs. I loved that they were hanging and they look like backdrops. They would make amazing backdrops especially paired with an outfit of neutral or muted colors:

Another example:

I think antique malls can be great for finding color inspiration and color pairings. The turquoise and the gold contrast well and compliment each other very nicely. These aren't common colors to see paired nowadays:

Here is another beautiful example of gold and turquoise. The gold color in this bowl is copper. One of my all-time favorite styles of design is art nouveau, and I thought the lines and colors in this bowl reminded me a little bit of traditional art nouveau designs:

Again, I loved the contrast of this bag between the snake skin and the red in the middle. Another inspiration for pairing textures and colors:

I love love love love bottles, and boxes. This was a beautiful leather coated bottle with an intricate design pattern. I could imagine this in a shoot with a pastel color for the clothes and then some sort of beautiful brown leather accent:
I always look for old pictures at antique malls. I really liked how this fountain looked like feathers. I could imagine doing some sort of diptych with water, or a fountain like this paired with a close-up of some sort of feather accessory:
Here is a great example of art nouveau designs incorporated into jewelry. I would have bought this brooch if it weren't almost $70. One of things I love about art nouveau are the intricate swirls and patterns which are definitely apparent in this piece:

Again, more art nouveau designs but this time incorporated into an armoire. Love it:

I saw this image and actually spent a few moments looking at it. I love everything about it from her bouquet to the arching structural supports to the right of the bride. One of the most gorgeous things about this image other than the face of the bride is the beautiful fanning of the bottom of her dress. The soft swirls visually complement the arch to her right. Absolutely stunning. It was also framed in a gorgeous dark mahogany frame. The dealer had a caption that read "1936 Jewish Bride photo in original wood carved frame". Too bad it was $255. Pricy but definitely one of my favorite images I have ever found in an antique mall (it wasn't actually this yellow):

Another framed portrait. I really liked the fence and the contrasting verticality of the fence posts and the telephone wires in the back. Interesting image:

This was a box that a held a lot of old photographs. I really liked the label "instant ancestors". I thought that could be a great title for a shoot or short story. I also think its a great way to think about all of these old photographs that end up here. Make up your own story about who they were, what they did, what their lives were like, who they loved:

There are so many amazing details in antique malls that are waiting to be found. This is a clasp on a black hand-embroidered purse. The clasp is a little art deco and there were little jewels in it. Beautiful design that would normally go unnoticed:


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