Once in a while, you find a really great one. One for the books. A collection so good it's like no other. This one was hiding in an impressively long display case from some turn of the century department store—not this last turn but the one before that—in a densely packed vintage-and-antiques spot that caters mainly to the film industry in Atlanta. I was traveling with the Pottery Barn photo crew, shooting at a lake up in the mountains where Deliverance was shot (you can imagine the flavor of jokes and such that were flying around on that shoot), for a Summer lake story. And this place was great because they rented, and that helps the budget, and they were just filled to the rafters with amazing stuff. But this farm, once we spied it under glass in its long, dark case, was stunning. I asked if I could buy a couple of the buildings, but it was only available as a complete collection, by stipulation of the person who had been its previous owner ... and maker. So I let it go.
But then I began to have visions; to lose sleep. I envisioned a huge sheet of steel, powder-coated white, mounted to a wall, and in my mind I embedded magnets into the bottoms of the barns, and coops, and stables and outbuildings. I covered the magnets over with felt to ensure a smooth ability to slide across the powder-coated steel, and mounted (with a satisfying magnetic thwup) those buildings to the steel wall. I followed suit with all the animals, and tractors and wagons, and fences. And when I was done it was the whole of the farm, in all its antique, hand-made glory, but existing on a vertical plane. And you could have a bird's eye view of the whole scene just by walking up to the wall. Now this was before Inception, people—and before the opening titles of Game of Thrones, with its turned-on-its-side pass through Vaes Dothrak, the "city" of the Dothraki. So, just saying: it was a matter of vision. As in being seized by one.
That was to be the first collection when I opened a shop one day. And you know what? So it is. It's not the only collection, not by far, but in my mind it's the first. It's not fully mounted, vertically, to a powder-coated sheet of steel, but we did do this with a portion of the many accessories:
We (photographers Nathan Kirkman, Anna Knott and the GLH photo crew) liked it so much we're going to have the image printed in a limited edition—that'll be coming soon. But in my mind it's like I had it when I was losing sleep, before I went ahead and bought the whole huge collection, and it was a world-at-90-degrees. Maybe a hotel will find the collection and want it that way in the lobby. Maybe some super cool office space. Or the amazing home of a collector somewhere. Until then, we're keeping it safe, intact, just like the fellow before us. You can visit it at the shop, we'd love to see you.
For purchase details, visit the farm's page in the Collections & Objects Shop.