Inspiration in Vintage Photographs

Blog,, Inspiration in Vintage Photography
Hello Everyone! This blog post simply came out of a typical Saturday morning. By putting on my favorite pair of purple vans, loading the family into a 1972 Volkswagen bus, and heading over to Stewarts flea market at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, we ultimately came home with some old photographs.

The photograph in the blog post is one of many vintage photographs purchased over ten years of digging through boxes at flea markets.  The price ranges from $1 to $3 per photograph.  It is interesting to note, the subject matter has a big impact on the price of the photo.  Lately, wedding photos, group shots, and candid shots are climbing in price.  The market for photographs used to be more affordable.  Ten years ago, many dealers had large collections to look through, but lately, it is getting harder to find photos.  They are being gobbled up by Ebay sellers at the various estate auctions.  Below is an example of photograph that was purchased a few years ago.

The Photo

This is how the picture looks with the mounting piece. You can see how the original piece looks, although it has been scaled down quite a bit from the original.

The image above has been cropped to remove the border.  This gives us a cleaner look, but much more can be done with such a large photo. You may ask yourself... What do you like about this photo?  Let me try to explain.

First, the age of the photo is attractive.  It's obviously old.  Typically, the older the photograph the better. Interesting subject matter pre-1920 is what I look for. Photos from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, are okay, but the subject matter has to be compelling or unique.

When I look at a photo like this... many questions and interesting things jump out at me. I find myself reflecting on the following topics:
  • Who are these people?
  • It looks like a family, what was the occasion they were together?
  • Where and when was this photo taken?
  • Everyone has flowers, except the boy. Was it a wedding?
  • Why does the girl on the right look so stern?
  • It's interesting how they stand... they give each other space, not all huddled up.

From a graphics creation standpoint, this photo has some great qualities to it.  The image has enough information in it to be useful.  Sometimes, old photos get so faded and scratched they become very difficult to work with in Adobe Photoshop.

This piece is nice and clean.  It's workable.  The nice thing about it.... the people stand apart from each other, which makes it much easier to pull them out of the photo and use them in a future project.  I have no idea what that project will be, but this photo is in my collection for future use.

Cropping photos in different ways is also interesting.  By cropping out certain aspects of the photo, the viewer may draw different conclusions about the image.  One image can be used in many different ways through the technique of creative cropping.


Vintage photographs may not be appealing to everyone, but it is hobby I enjoy.  The hunt for a photo is fun, the collecting, and the actual use of a photograph for some purpose is also time well spent. One more thing about the photograph in this blog post... It may be the only copy of this photo in the world.   That makes it unique, special, and one of a kind.  That quality will be carried into the creative projects in the future.

Until next time... thanks for stopping by!