Monday, February 13, 2012


For Valentine's Day, I decided to ask a few collectors to submit a Valentine's Day theme or kiss photo.  I generally hide under the covers all day on February 14th, but the photos below give me hope that romance will come visit me again soon.   Interestingly, amongst the ten photos below, four are same sex couples.   Times indeed are a changing.    Next month, a favorite photobooth photo.  Got one?  Send me a scan and tell me why you love it. 

Stacy Waldman

I decided to submit this color photo since it relates to the theme of kissing, but the photo is not exclusively, in my mind, just a pure kissing photo. I like this image because it could be associated with many different snapshot subjects. However for me, the photo is part of my “red” series of one red object in the photo and it is also included in my photos of “just married” pictures.  At the moment, it is to be physically found among “just married” photos.  Yet it could be in someone's collection of car photos. Or in one's collection of square color photos.  And finally, it also works in either a collection of kissing photos or one of people smoking. When viewed within one photo category, it can look different than when viewed as part of a completely different category.  In one, it might be the best photo of its kind; in another grouping, just an average photo.  That is part of the malleable nature of the snapshot and what I love about the medium. And isn’t love the whole theme of this blog entry?

Robert Jackson

What's not to like?  The wallpaper and the table cloth provide a delicately intricate backdrop to an image with movement and passion. The visual vectors of the pallid arms of the protagonists create dynamism and relate, subtly, to the table legs.  I like that the woman is on top of this particular clinch, though on closer inspection, I'm beginning to wonder if the clinched is not, in fact, also a woman.  That would add a great twist to this act of spontaneous, extroverted amour that took place in a solidly American kitchen fifty-four years ago, on a dark February evening. Possibly on Valentine's Day.

Nigel Maister

Blurry, much faded, scratched, a corner nicked (all of which adds to its allure, its mystery),  this photograph is so intensely private, the women so cocooned in their romantic involvement, that we, the viewers, feel inevitably like interlopers, voyeurs, spies. They need not shed their clothing for us to see it all --- they've shown us everything. And, of course, they've shown us nothing. We are forever on the outside, looking in through the fogged-up window, guessing, wondering, imagining, but never really knowing.
There is in the best of love that crazy wild spinning, like the Dervish, the mind(s) cut loose from the rational, the earthly, the terrestrial. "Fly me to the moon," we say. We're giddy, light-headed, in a trance, hypnotized. 
Of course we're off in our own little world.  Love is a drug, like the song says. Really. The brain chemistry is the same as that for cocaine. No wonder we want it so much. No wonder people kill for love. No wonder, when they can't have it, they wither and die.
But never mind all that. Happy Valentine's Day, kiddies. Hope your ship comes in real soon, or, if it's already there, that it stays tethered at the dock whilst you off-load some Love Cargo. Just remember this, a kiss is still a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply.
And if you don't mind, set your camera up with a self-timer, grab your significant other, and then just forget about it and let yourself go.  If the shot turns out, send me a copy, will ya?  Gracias.

John Van Noate

Here's my lovey-dovey contribution. Valentiney enough?
I like this one for the composition, the relationship it shows, and the title and detailed information on the back.
Here's what it says:

"Hooked Up"

Seneca No. 8.
3 Foci Lens
Central Plate
Stop 16
Exposure 1/5
Kruxo P.C.

I have gone back to using Kruxo.
They are the best made especially for outdoor work, I think.
The trussel [sic] in the background is nearly 3/4 mi long.

P. Fetcher

Pat Street

Here's a valentine photo I like.  I like to let the photos speak for themselves.

Clare Goldsmith

We see two lovers at the edge of a cliff. I would guess this is a beautiful day in Big Sur, California. I'd like to think the moment and location was so beautiful they pulled off from the winding Pacific Coast Highway and were swept up by the moment-- the soft sun, the sound of distant waves and the kiss of ocean breezes. There's a feeling of infinity and timelessness when you are high above the coast. His arms gently hold hers, and she reaches for his hair. They are becoming one. This scene has taken some time to develop. Literally and figuratively they are "close to the edge" and taking the leap into love. Even someone as cynical as this author has to be envious. One small question I always wonder about with this photo--who took the photo? Were there two couples? Or could this have been a bored or jealous third wheel? Whatever the case, this is a passionate, romantic moment, and I doubt they had any awareness of the camera.

Kim K. Bacon
A new collector

Two men at the beach, Atlantic City, NJ, 1941. One of the first snapshots I ever purchased and still one of my favorites.

Bob Young

Awkward Moment! Vintage photograph, c.1950, Collection of Barbara Levine

BARBARA LEVINE is a collector, artist and dealer specializing in vernacular photography and unusual collections. She is the author of Finding Frida Kahlo, Around The World: The Grand Tour in Photo Albums and Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing the American Photo Album (all Princeton Architectural Press). Her website is

Gather ye rosebuds, y'all.

Joel Rotenberg

I am intrigued about photobooth shots as they are a "pure" photograph. No shooter was involved in making a decision on how and when to snap the photo. People in a photo booth have 100% say in what ends up in the photo. Ironically, this photo is probably anything but  a deeply romantic, spontaneous moment. On the surface, we see a good smooch with eyes gently closed, giving a sense they are "lost in love." This attractive couple seems to have been kissing quite a long time. However, we know with the photo booth that this must have been quickly posed. Upon closer inspection, the kiss appears to be forced. This almost has a contrived, perfect Hollywood movie feel. His handsome tan goes perfectly with her soft, smooth skin. Her hair looks like it wants to come down in a sexy toss. His perfectly cropped hair and v-neck shirt matches her sleek eyebrow. But, alas, this is a Happy Valentine's Day blog and no sense trying to dissect the projected romance. I'm sure women viewing this photo would enjoy being there kissing him while stroking his chest, and male viewers envision unbuttoning her crisp, white shirt.

David Rheingold
For more on David, click here

Most of us forget all the fondling, knee burns and the lack of sleep one goes through while courting your lover.  This is just a reminder.  Also, a nice touch is the thumb print of the person who printed this.

 Randall di Rijk
For more on Randall, click here.