It’s funny how quickly people get bored with the internet. Scrolling through one site, move on to the next one until finally you decide to walk away because you’re not finding what you’re looking for. The internet has billions of places you can go to find vintage photographs, but what if you want to take a day off from the internet? Are there places you can still find old photographs while not hooked to your devices like a droid in Star Wars? Yes.
The most common place? Antique stores. You’d be surprised how many people drop off old photographs at Antique and junk shops. Why? 1) The person is clearing out a house for a neighbor who passed away and nobody wanted the photos 2) Family didn’t want them 3) Moving and don’t have time to deal with them 4) Got them in the custody battle and don’t want them – whatever the reason. Take the time to look, I found two TinTypes and snagged them. One word of advice – Take the time to look at the photos because the owner just figures all the photos they have are old, but sometimes people are able to get money out of scans.
Garage/yard sales are another place, and for the same reasons you see the photographs in Antique stores. As weird as it sounds, when a business goes out of business and decides to sell everything – go. You’d be surprised what you find. Even if its a furniture store, there are times when picking around you’ll find photos from when the store first opened 50 years earlier. Flea markets is another one to poke around at.
Another great place to go is the theater. The world of stage holds decades of photographic history showing thousands of actors and singers who made us laugh and cry. The catch is you won’t get to keep these photographs. If your theater is anything like the historic theater in my city; you can copy the original but that’s it. One thing I’d recommend is you donate a copy of the restored/colorized photograph(s) if the theater offers to give you photographs to work with – that will help you professionally.
I currently have photographs of my late grandfather when he was in the navy, as well as photographs my grandmother almost got rid of when she moved into assisted living – she has asked that I am the soul owner of these photographs. Helping a family member, or friend with moving or even just packing could lead to receiving old photographs because sometimes they would rather you have them instead of antique stores or they end up in the trash.
You could also go to your local newspaper. Might be the same kind of deal as with the theater, or they might let you keep the photograph. Could depend.
Good luck on your search!