Much to my mom’s chagrin, Jamie and I are both collectors. Not in a “get those people on Hoarders ASAP” sort of way, but in a “there are things we love and enjoy owning, using and looking at, so we like having several of them around us” sort of way.
For me, it’s antique Kodak cameras, for Jamie it’s Coleman lanterns and stoves.
I take actual pictures with my cameras, Jamie lights actual campsites and cooks actual food with his stoves and lanterns.
(Does that make us different from other collectors? Maybe. But this is a no rules sort of thing)
We had a pretty perfect “day date” last weekend, and went to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire without Max (because my friend Janet is awesome and took him ALL DAY!) We took our water bottles, some snacks, Max’s empty wagon and some cash. Wandering the rows and rows of people peddling their wares, haggling over a $20 item. It was a gorgeous way for us to spend a day, and we both found some great stuff to add to our respective collections.
For us, as much as we love our collections, they aren’t worth a ton of money (I think my most valuable item is a circa 1913 vest pocket camera Jamie got for Christmas, valued at about $100) but they’re priceless to us. I can tell you where I got each one, and each one has a story.
Whether it’s the one I found in Santa Cruz at a faire, that had a half a roll of exposed film in it, or the adorable British edition Brownie that I found on eBay and had shipped overseas, each camera has a story for me, not to mention the countless stories each one has told in its time.
The making of the story is best part.
We have a very specific type of antiques store/booth that we’re drawn to. Either one of us can poke our heads inside and know if it’s worth us going in. Our favorites are the ones that have lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and usually lease individual little “booths” inside the storefront. These are the stores where you can find novelty liquor bottles from the 1950s, print ads from the 1890s, party dresses from the 1970s and probably toy from the 1980s (which are always traumatic for me! I’m not old enough for my playthings to be in antique shop!)
I took this photo at a shop I was in last fall, in Santa Barbara. Can you see what I, the Kodak collector, was drawn to right away?
I love when I spot that flash of yellow, and I always have to run right over to see what it is… in this case, it was a darkroom lightbulb; nothing to add to my collection. But just the spotting of the yellow, and checking it out? That’s the fun for me! When the yellow box yields a gorgeous little gem of a camera that I don’t already have? Even better, but just finding stuff is a joy for me.
I actually take pictures with my cameras, or at least try to! I just recently got around to sending a bunch of rolls off to be developed (including 2 that came with the cameras! I can’t wait to see what I get back!) and will certainly share my results when I get them!
Jamie actually uses his lanterns; for him, a big part of the fun is actually taking them all apart and restoring them to working condition. We are in good shape for a blackout, let me tell you! And we’ll certainly have the most well-lit campsite in town, when we actually do get a chance to go this year, that is…
Do I “need” my cameras? Nah. If my house was burning down, would I grab them? Nope. (Well, maybe if the fire was at the other end of the house…) Do I love them? Yes. Does seeing them displayed in my home make me happy? Absolutely. I think the joy in collecting is a big part of it, for me at least.
Do you collect anything? I’d love to hear about your collection!