Price: $310.00

    Code: 2228

    Directed by Lorca Shepperd and Cabot Philbrick
    2004, 53 minutes
    Purchase: $310 Classroom Rental: $125

    Other People's Pictures is a documentary about collectors who share an unlikely obsession - snapshots that have been abandoned or lost by their original owners and are now for sale. The film is set at New York City's Chelsea Flea Market where every weekend, dozens of collectors sift doggedly through piles, boxes and bins of cast-off photos, ready to pay anywhere from a few cents to hundreds of dollars for a single snapshot.

    While some collectors look at the snapshots as found art, others search for images that reflect events and themes in their own lives. One collector, Drew, explains that when he was a teenager, his mother joined a cult and got rid of all their family photos. As a result, he recreates family albums for himself with pictures of strangers that he buys at the flea market. Another collector, Dan, is Jewish and lost many family members to the Holocaust. He collects what he calls ‘banality of evil' snapshots: average, everyday photographs of Nazis. A third collector, Leslie, searches for suggestive photographs of men hugging, playing or sitting on each other's laps. He admits it's impossible to know whether these men were gay, but he feels that in some way he is rescuing a little piece of queer history.

    Many of the film's subjects find that collecting ‘other people's pictures' helps them confront the darker aspects of human existence - familial trauma, social injustice, historical atrocity. Others simply appreciate the beauty, humor and mystery of these scavenged images. The uninitiated ask: Why buy someone else's family photographs? In Other People's Pictures, nine collectors try to answer this question as they hunt for the images that feed their fantasies and quiet the voices in their heads.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Screening, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2005
    * Winner, Finalist – Best Documentary Short, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2005
    * Winner, Best Documentary, Ozone Film Festival, 2005
    * Honorable Mention, Northern Lights Documentary Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Screening, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2004
    * Winner, Best Documentary, New Orleans Film Festival, 2004
    * Winner, Best Documentary, Coney Island Film Festival, 2004
    * Official Selection, Silverdocs International Film Festival, 2004


    "After seeing this eye-opening documentary, sensitive viewers will undoubtedly examine common 'snaps' in an enjoyable new way. For viewers interested in snapshots as a cultural, historical, and artistic phenomenon." - Booklist

    “A fascinating documentary. Critic’s Pick.” – New York Magazine

    “Highly successful… Other People’s Pictures present its subjects with warmth and sympathy… the effect is to invites the audience to understand and appreciate their unusual hobby.” – The Journal of American Culture

    Other People’s Pictures is highly recommended for library, curricula, and special collections that emphasize popular culture and history as well as group psychology…. The film follows various collectors and provides insights into their collecting, revealing individual - and certainly deeper collective - motivations for assuming ‘other people’s pictures.’ Nothing is presented in a “throw away” fashion [in the film], but every topic will necessarily lead to deeper wonder or understanding about people in general.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

    “…a sweet introduction to a little-known world of eccentric collectors.” – New York Post

    “…square dealing and respectful… contains enough material for a dozen films.” – The Onion

    “…offers a quick but satisfying peek at life – just like the best old snapshots do.” – Washington City Paper

    “…enough to make your fingers itch for a box of wrinkled photos…” – Time Out New York

    “There haven’t been many films that made me laugh and cry, but this is the latest one.” – Newwest.net

    “An eloquent look at the power of the unassuming snapshot and the people who feel a sense of responsibility toward them.” - Leonardo Reviews