A couple years ago in San Francisco, a friend and I stumbled across an antique storefront's going-out-of-business sale in a warehouse in SOMA. It always fascinates me to think about how all these strange objects from across huge swaths of time and space and culture can end up sitting side-by-side, to consider their converging histories. Maybe a thing is a new arrival to the shelves and crates, just recently pulled from circulation, or maybe it's been sitting there since the beginning, waiting to be recognized for something - usefulness, beauty, novelty, curiosity - once again. I found a couple of black cloth, gold-stamped photo albums in less than fair condition, pasted full of black and white images from the ~1900s-1930s. That potentially permanent recorded evidence of so many single moments in time, with all the context packed into those pieces of paper, is a time capsule, proof of existence, for whatever that's worth. The doers - the picture takers and takees - felt it valuable enough to record, and I have a strong reverence any figment of personal creativity actualized, for the inspiration potential of any publicized idea. I bought the albums, a few dozen memories of ancient strangers, with the intention of cleaning them up a bit and giving them a place to stay for a while.
The goal is simply to extend the story, keep the artifact safe, repair and maintain it where it's necessary, enhancing or contributing where I can. I replaced several pages of both albums with new heavy weight black paper and repaired 'post-holes' where I could to preserve as many of the original pages as possible. Photos that had fallen out where replaced with new corner pockets matching the originals. In some cases, brand new pages and orientations needed to be created... the original order and spatial relationships are lost forever. The cover of the smaller album was replaced with toned kozo paper, along with other edge and use-wear.
Here're a few of the strangers up close and personal:
After reconsolidating the collection and returning the albums to working order, I wanted to try my hand at a similar structure using my own photos. The sort of screw-post/string binding was replicated with new boards, black bookcloth, the same black paper used to restore the old albums, and a vintage black boot string from my collection of sundry tie-ables. The removable string means extra pages can be added indefinitely (as long as a long enough string is available), and the covers can be removed for so Kwikprint labelwork in the future.
Something for some 2040s hipster to flaunt on their blog, maybe.