Where do you turn for photographic inspiration? Flickr, perhaps? Or Instagram? Not me — not anymore. I turn to online auctions and classified ads.
… I’ve been shopping for cheap-yet-more-or-less-presentable Pants In A Bigger Size™.
And I’ve made two discoveries: There’s no such thing as cheap presentable pants. But more importantly, I’ve learned that online auctions and classified ads are the greatest undiscussed incubator of experimental deconstructionist photography on the planet. It’s true!
I know what you’re thinking. “Show me.” And I will. (Because even this writer must grudgingly admit that a picture is worth 1,000 words.)
But first I want you to know that the photos you’re about to see are disturbing and real. So if you’re squeamish about asking your brain to process pictures that CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD, best stop now. You’ve been warned.
Also, because these images CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD, I think it may be helpful to develop a taxonomy of sorts — you know, to at least name the photographic chaos that’s about to ensue.
Ready? Let’s start with …
The Masters of Perspective
If the early Renaissance artists mastered linear perspective to create a sense of space, these photographers have done the exact opposite.
Where was this shot — on the Space Shuttle? No wonder the description said the soles are “like new.” You can’t walk on the ground in zero gravity!
Meanwhile, in menswear: Will the new “woodtick-cut” shirt soon be sweeping the fashion world? Buy this pink monstrosity and be the first to find out.
Oh! And remember those stories from your youth about The Phantom Barn Jacket of the Adirondacks? At last, here’s proof it actually exists. PS: Pay no attention to the dog. He’s still trying to figure out the previous photo.
Not everyone displays their wares as floating abstract forms, however; a few photographers do celebrate the human form in all its glory.
And what lovelier expression is there of the human body than a young woman working in her garden? Look how beautifully this free-range dress hugs her delicate form as she moves small-batch, locally sourced dirt around her yard.
It’s too bad the artisanal hand-painted Buddha wasn’t ultimately able to overcome her feelings of emptiness and disaffection, though.
Well, at least this guy is happy in his Aran Islands sweater. (Whitening toothpaste, falcon, and castle sold separately.)
Ditto for this dapper fellow, who looks dreamy — quite literally — in his Bill Cosby sweater. “Size medium,” reads the sweater’s description, “with some character flaws.”
But what if you’d rather not show your face at all? No problem. There’s always this luxurious fur coat for the style-conscious flasher.
Then there are the photographers who — despite their best efforts — leave us wondering, “What on God’s green earth is that?”
In this seller’s defense, at least he/she *attempted* to provide measurements. “Chest measures approximately mmphffeventeemph minchfess …”
And what do you suppose this is? If you guessed “kitty-door for tigers,” or “terrifying hole in the night sky,” you’re close.
It’s actually a pair of pants. Yes! You know, for those times when you want to let things … “breathe.”
And this dress. How long must one leave it plugged in before it’s fully charged, I wonder?
Ah, yes … back to the human form, though this time with 30% less gloriousness.
I’m not a big fan of selfies to begin with, but even less so when it’s someone I don’t know. Remind me what you’re selling, again?
Ditto for the gratuitous boom-boom shots. “Selling my shirt to help pay for my new boobs,” they seem to be saying. I’m all for self-improvement, I guess.
Rest in Peace, Toonces
Our penultimate cat-egory deals with love lost.
I can empathize; I lost my beloved dog Arrow the same year “Toonces” died (according to the memorial in the seller’s listing). But … making a cardboard cut-up and dressing it in different outfits?
Though I must admit this last scarf works beautifully with Toonces’ coloring …
JUST USE YOUR BIG-PERSON WORDS ALREADY
Which brings me to the last category in our taxonomy of online-classified photos: Words. Yes, photos of words! Because sometimes a picture really can’t say it all.
Though, honestly, this description of the “built-in panty with 3 hooks and 2 rows to keep everything in place” kind of terrifies me …
And what’s this about a drill? Metal housing, you say? Stored in dad’s barn?! Well, they can’t say that at Sears.
Editor’s note: It is HBlog’s policy to properly attribute others’ work whenever possible. But because some of the images in this post are more than two years old — and because they were gleaned from a variety of online classified sites whose listings are by definition temporary — it was impossible to locate the authors of many of the images presented here. Please note that the copyright belongs to the original owners/creators, and that the images are reproduced here only for the purposes of commentary. If you are the owner/creator of one of these images and want me to remove it, please drop me a note. Or if you can explain any of these photos. Yes … if you can explain any of these photos, I’d welcome a note about that too.