Over the years, the graphic designer John Foster and his late wife, Teenuh Foster, of St. Louis, Missouri, assembled notable collections of outsider art, folk art, and vernacular photography. Through a lively Instagram account (look for “@accidentalmystery”), John routinely shares photos and descriptions of favorite pieces from his holdings, as well as wide-ranging observations about art, connoisseurship, and aesthetics. Here, with a nod to this issue’s purity-authenticity theme, he shares a couple of gems from his trove with brutjournal.
by John Foster
For many years, I’ve been collecting what is known as “vernacular photography.” In 2005, Accidental Mysteries, an exhibition of photos from the collection my late wife, Teenuh, and I had amassed up until that time went on view at the Sheldon Art Galleries at the Sheldon, a large cultural center in St. Louis, Missouri. From there, the exhibition traveled to other venues in the United States.
Describing and helping to define just what is meant by the category label “vernacular photography,” in an essay in that show’s accompanying catalog, titled “Everybody’s Photography,” Edward M. Gómez wrote:
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