something found


it’s apparent i collect many things, but i don’t purchase all of them. here is a series that numbers close to two hundred or so pictures of found gloves. walking new york affords many wonderful visual opportunities and the chance to happen upon many things. i have been taking pictures of gloves for more than ten years. i use an automatic contax film camera and am quite obsessive about where I get my film developed. in paris, no less. my wife used to take regular trips and I would have her drop off the film once a year or so. she has not been in some time so i have about twenty rolls that need to be developed. patience is a virtue.

a many years ago in the new york times, the editorial page published a pictorial of found gloves. this was way before flickr and fffound and the countless online image banks, so to see that someone else shared “my” collection was disheartening. i have learned over the years that nothing is your own. so much is in the air. i have enjoyed spotting the odd glove and am now happy use my iphone to capture them when i don’t have my film camera. whereas not long ago i had to have my camera and all the elements needed to be just so.

this past weekend i was at the beach and the weather was bright, clear and cool. snuggling under the comforter and having a chat with my nine-year-old daughter was a wonderful thing. the conversation was about conventions. not a doll convention but about what i have come to believe about the practice of life—conventions or customs. i told her about my custom of only using my film camera or of always wearing a tie to church. i asked if she’d seen many other men wear a tie. she said she always wears a skirt, is this is a convention or a custom? and i told her that many conventions that i abide by are no longer the norm. shining my shoes for instance. so few people do this themselves, much less have shoes that need to be shined. i wanted her to understand that the customs and rules we follow are changing everyday and she should be aware of this. i tend to talk to my daughter like she is eighteen. I remember visiting the whitney to see the john currin exhibition. she was three or four and we had a discussion about one of his paintings. she doesn’t understand a word you’re saying, my wife said. is that bad? I hope not. i do know she felt it even if she didn’t understand it.







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  1. Your words remind me of my grandfather and his brothers who shared some of the same conventions. They fought in Europe for many years during WWII. After the War, they returned home and were hard-working, principled. They acted with values; their families were important to them. I had an enormous amount of respect for them – “The Greatest Generation.” I wonder who among us might fill their shoes.

    Comment by annkent — 15/10/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  2. I love your blog so much. This post reminded me of a short New Yorker article from 2004 that proposes a theory of lost mittens:

    Comment by I'm Revolting — 02/11/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  3. Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve been pretty discouraged lately about the idea that I can never have my own idea, my own writing, my own whatever to go out into the world. Your comment on “it’s the air” and yet you still keep on with your glove collection cracks open my hoping, my courage a little wider a little–thanks.

    Conventions and customs? They’re so blended in my life. I admire you for parsing them out with your daughter; it’s a good conversation even if she doesn’t necessarily understand. What she does understand is that her father is talking to her on an adult level and that she’s worth being talked to by her father. Better than anything, I say.

    Comment by Elizabeth — 08/11/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  4. I once lived in an apartment complex in Atlanta where latex gloves would magically appear in strange places around my building. A bush here, hedge there, even an occasional spotting on a stair. When it was just the one, I found it odd, but after a few times, it became creepy. On a call home to my mother I informed her of my glove sightings, and she found it humorous to tease me and say I “imagined” them (although I later took a quick snap with my Canon Rebel should evidence ever really be needed).
    My last find occurred during a walk with the dog, and it was a small clear sandwich bag filled with mismatched dice. I think I took the bag, but I can’t remember. Now whenever I see a loose glove I always give a quick glance left to right as if a mischievous glove dropper may be lurking about.

    Comment by VoteAudrey — 09/11/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  5. I just discovered your blog and am loving it. I’m a big collector myself, and I’ve been taking photographs of lost gloves for years as well! Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    Comment by Hannah — 14/11/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  6. Nice post. Ivan Chermayeff is an avid collector of found work gloves such as these.

    Comment by Joseph — 25/11/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  7. [...] another explanation to consider. i mentioned previously that i take photo after photo of found gloves. as my daughter grew, she became my spotter. “dad,” she’d say, “there’s a good [...]

    Pingback by AMASSBLOG » art direction — 22/12/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

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