Every weekend, the Chelsea flea market in New York City beckons to a unique subset of photo connoisseurs: those who collect family snapshots. Fascinated not only by the business side of the phenomenon — collectors pay hundreds of dollars for the right photo — but also by the factors that motivate someone to start collecting, Lorca Sheppard and Cabot Philbrick created the documentary Other People's Pictures. Sheppard and Philbrick met with Fern, a woman interested in photos of people with Down Syndrome (she's a counselor for the developmentally disabled); Dan, the Jewish seeker of casual Nazi snapshots, who sees "the banality of evil" in his collection; and Drew, a man attempting to re-create his family history from other families' photos. Other People's Pictures features more than 1,500 snapshots compiled from nine collectors, along with nine different answers to the question, "Why would you want someone else's pictures?" Other People's Pictures screens at 7 p.m. this evening at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Local picture collectors John Foster and Bill Keaggy discuss their own fascination with strangers' snapshots after the film; admission is free.
Thu., Jan. 17, 2008