Sunday, June 10, 2012

More Finds at the Local Antique Shop - Fiction Story Based on Orphan Photos

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenI just read an interesting fiction book called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. For me, it was an entertaining light read. Aimed at a young adult market, the book is a fantasy that mixes supernatural and mystery. It focus on the relationship between a boy and his grandfather, who was full of fanciful stories from his past that left his family wondering about their veracity. Despite the fiction genre, the story prompted me to think about how family legends grow from untested stories and we are left to pick out the truth among the tall tales.

The aspect of the book that I found most interesting was a use of "authentic, vintage found photographs." The author seems to have used real, unusual pictures to mold his characters. Fitting in with my "More Finds at the Local Antique Shop" theme, the book is a perfect demonstration of how imagination can be stirred by abandoned orphan photos.

Author Ransom Riggs thanks those private collectors who contributed images for him to complete his first novel. He writes about the images at the end of the book, "They were lent from the personal archives of ten collectors, people who have spent years and countless hours hunting through giant bins of unsorted snapshots at flea markets and antiques malls and yard sales to find a transcendent few, rescuing images of historical significance and arresting beauty from obscurity - and most likely, the dump. Their work is an unglamorous labor of love and I think they are the unsung heroes of the photography world."

I look forward to Mr. Riggs next book and hope that he sticks with this writing method. Here is another Cultural Heritage Collaborator to add to our list. A fiction writer steeped in a love of primary sources can be a great friend to archivists. Such a person can sing the praises of cultural heritage resources and help the world realize their beauty and value.

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