Sunday, December 11, 2011


This month I asked a few collectors to share a favorite winter or holiday photo.  Below are some terrific selections.   Enjoy!

What I love about this image is twofold.  First I find the picture both terribly funny, but also eerily disquieting. It's not quite in focus, and there's a lovely blurred area right of center.  Tonally, the right hand side of the image and the figure of the little girl and the infant are more bleached out than the figures on the image's left hand side. The girl's face looms just a little too large, too close to the camera for comfort. 

It's essentially a domestic scene, but one that is suffused with violence.  Again, particularly unnerving is the pallid little girl with the crying (or yawning) baby.  Her face is a still, blank slate in an image that is otherwise filled with movement and tension.  Of course, the boys threatening the viewer and the dog with their toy guns are both funny but also (more than) a little sociopathic, especially the kid who holds the gun to the dog's muzzle.  One wants to ask: what kind of family is this?  And what kind of mayhem preceded the snapping of this image? 

I think this leads to the second thing that appeals to me about the image: it somehow perfectly sums up my ambivalent feelings towards the holiday season: I find myself looking forward to it and its early evening darkness, warm fires, friendship and companionship, but also terrorized in some sense by the frenzied tyranny of family, forced gaiety, and overwrought gift giving.  Underneath all the bonhomie, the forces of misrule, dysfunction and chaos are lurking, just waiting to emerge into the kind of weird anarchism evident in the image. The picture perfectly sums all that up, and also encapsulates my feelings about the "holiday season" in general--feelings which I realize, now, in writing this, to be more than a little misanthropic!

I saw the image originally on Ebay, bid on it, and lost.  Sometime later, either a dupe or the same image was offered again.   I snapped it up.  It's still a favorite.

Nigel Maister

I love the expressions of excitement, happiness and joy on their faces. The emotions capture the feeling of Christmas day that I felt with my siblings. Their tiger costumes are a whimsical touch that reinforces the family bond. As there are no opened presents in the photo, I assume the costumes were the first gifts opened. As viewers of this photo, we can share in the expectant delights of a very special day which is just starting to unfold.

David Rheingold
I hope you enjoy this photo! It's actually shot indoors, in a studio. All the snow has been carefully painted directly on the photo. I love fake snow! I once illustrated a book about fake snow, which came inside of a fake snowball -- you had to smash it to get the book.

You can see they are both with cigar...

Ian Phillips

Here's a Christmas/Snow snapshot I inserted into a snow globe from Goodwill.  I shake it up and look at the snow falling in the water with the snow in the snap behind.  Neither are real.  

Photo by John Nichols of Photo by Anonymous.
If you are like me, for a fraction of a second you thought this was pornography.

Our brains are full of trash. But it seems to me media must have put a lot of it there.

Happy holidays, and bon appétit!

Joel Rotenberg

My selection is a circa 1920 real photo postcard that I purchased a couple of years ago. The card was not mailed and there is no documentation on the back, so the identity of the trio is a mystery. However, I'm not sure if we need to know more, the image is evocative and touching all by itself.

Robert Young

Polaroid, c. 1970.  A color photograph about Christmas that is extraordinarily banal and cheerless.   
Barbara Levine

This photo is my all time favorite holiday related image, I love the subtlety of it. A million years ago, I thought of making my own line of Christmas photo greeting cards…

Sabine Ocker
This one is subtle, an ice storm, it feels like a painting to me.

John Foster

A simpler time.

Stacy Waldman

Me and Mrs. Claus in our younger days.
Santa Claus
North Pole

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