Why is "collector" such an intimidating label? We all collect things, whether it's baseball cards or records or postage stamps. We have hundreds if not thousands of songs in our itunes libraries, and we have issues of National Geographic going back for years. But when I ask someone if they are an art collector, they almost always say no - whether they have one or two things on their wall that they picked up at an art festival or on a trip, or if they have several pieces of art that they have carefully and methodically amassed. It seems the only people willing to take on the "art collector" label are those that feel properly educated about art and consider themselves something of an expert. Why is this? An article in Art+Auction magazine (and republished on artinfo.com) described how a long-time art collector became interested in vernacular photography (snapshots by every day folks, some dating back to the 1890s, purchased at flea markets and on ebay) and has over 35,000 images. This seems like a meeting in the middle between baseball cards and high-end fine art, which just goes to show, collecting is collecting. Whatever peaks your interest - whether it is a snapshot or a Picasso - the impulse is to surround yourself with things you love. So go ahead, be a collector.
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