Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ongoing - Second Hand Living

For a several years I've been working on a project loosely based on the second-hand economy. One of my hobbies is buying and selling antiques. I eventually decided to turn my camera on some of the more interesting people I have met.

This is Joe Pick.

I first met Joe at a yard sale he was having on the south shore of Massachusetts. The sale advertised tons of merchandise to pick through. I showed up and was amazed at what he had on his lawn. Boxes and boxes of, stuff. Photos, books, magazines, trinkets, buttons, electronics. There was also furniture and artwork. It was overwhelming. I ended up at a few more of his sales and began asking him about his business. It turns out he is a one man clean out team.

Joe is called in when a home needs to be cleared fast. Sometimes it is because the owner passed away and the family is selling it, sometimes it's a foreclosure, and sometimes it is an older couple that has finally decided to downsize. Joe is usually brought in after the bulk of the items have either been moved or sold off at an estate sale. What is left, the 'stuff' accumulated by people over the years, is Joe's responsibility.  The majority of what is left is basically trash. Broken items, old papers, moldy books. However a lot of that 'stuff' still holds some value. It is literally a case of one man's trash is another man's treasure. Most of it will only sell for a few dollars but it adds up fast when you are cleaning out a few houses a week. Joe used to sell off the remainders from his clean outs at his epic yard sales. But he has moved away from that practice and now uses more traditional retail outlets like antique and collectible shops.

This small series is from an antique farm house on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The house had been sold by the older owners and needed to be cleaned out. Most of the major items had already been sold at an estate sale, so whatever was left was up to Joe to deal with. When I was there two women were looking for some items for their new up-cycled furniture store.

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