When I was a young lad I remember cutting pictures out of magazines. I would acquire old holiday brochures and cut out pictures of exotic locations (in the 1950s exotic locations were places like Cornwall or North Wales). I would beg old copies of my fathers' "Mechanics Illustrated" and cut out pictures of electric powered cars. I would scissor attack my brothers' copies of "The Eagle" and clip out complex cut-away diagrams of the workings of the Queen Mary. I can't remember what I did with all these pictures, knowing me they will have been filed away in an envelope somewhere. It was the image that was the meaningful thing and it was the acquisition that was important process. Having a picture of St Ives was the next best thing to going there, having an explanatory image of a model racing car was the next best thing to owning one.
We never really change do we? I am still in love with images and I still have this need to acquire them. The paper magazines have been replaced by digital content but I still copy and save. I still file image after image away in some digital envelope somewhere on my hard drive. Thus, when I was browsing eBay the other day and I came across someone offering a disk of "14,000 High Quality Vintage Photos" for £4.99p (post free) I couldn't resist temptation. It has now arrived and I can waste endless hours browsing through the collection of old advertising posters, vintage postcards and pictures of faded film stars. It's cheap and harmless fun and it keeps me from brooding on the meaning of life. It does however tempt me to dig out that box of small cigars I have tucked away somewhere. How fascinating that the suggestive power of advertising can work even 100 years after the advert was first published.