Garage Sale Culture: Resourceful

July 19, 2008

Resourceful by David McGowan

Resourceful, photo by David McGowan

David writes:

Michelle is a single mom with her daughter, Brynn. She hard-working, a resourceful builder and recycler, and unemployed in Michigan. While waiting for HR departments that are slow to respond, she spends much of her time working in her shop. Michelle builds frames, tables, signs with clever quotes, repurposes barn wood, builds frames for mirrors, refinishes end tables, cabinets, bed frames—you name it. She gives them all a “shabby chic” flavor before sending them off to consignment. At the moment this is her main source of income.

To maintain life as they know it, everything in their home has a figurative price tag on it until Michelle finds steady income. She’s reluctantly willing to part with her childhood brass bed frame, particularly sentimental since her mom passed away.

This photo is just the first of the series titled “Resourceful“, and that’s just one of the series to be found in David McGowan’s Garage Sale Culture at humanfiles.com (check out his Garage Sale Culture Part 1 slideshow!). He explains:

I have a simple but timely idea to examine Michigan’s economy through “Garage Sale Culture.” Currently there’s a boom in garage sales in Michigan, a percent of which can be attributed to people unloading goods to make ends meet. Sellers are also seeing the opportunity to move items in an economy that is reluctant to pay retail prices. There are moving sales as the result of job loss or mortgage foreclosures. Folks are selling luxury items (boats, trucks, etc.) because of soaring gas prices. These are the people I want to meet.

I’m envisioning the heart of the work to be portraiture—images that are in the moment but deliberate, that incorporate the goods being sold, or show the yard sale in progress. I’m not necessarily looking for impoverished, tug-at-your-heartstrings images, but more of common people facing unusual choices. The idea is to create a series of faces that represent the stories we hear on the local news every night, and perhaps marks the state of our State during the summer of this election year.

So click through and check these out, and do yourself a favor and bookmark humanfiles.com.

One Response to “Garage Sale Culture: Resourceful”


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