ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Master framer Richard Laugharn pays the bills by creating hand-milled, custom-finished wood frames for A-list art halls, including the Phoenix Art Museum and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. But his true passion is for framing amateur or “vernacular” photographs.
Every few days, Laugharn, 53, scours eBay and the Internet for extraordinary snapshots of ordinary people, places and things taken by amateur photogs. He shells out anywhere between $5 to $150 for the images and builds thematically-appropriate frames for them.
The collector has 75 vernacular pieces hanging in his Tempe studio, and another 50 in an adjacent room. Laugharn’s Phoenix home displays another 75 photos, each of them foreign but poignant, like a little girl showing off her new Sunday dress. Or a vacation photo of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Or a fanciful snapshot of the country.
Laugharn will unload some of his found treasures at the fourth Annual Vernacular Photography Show and Sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at Fine Art Framing, 2010 E. University Drive, Tempe. Among the prints are a 1968 photo of the moon taken in space by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders and a 1935 shot of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird car traveling 304 mph. Pieces range in price from $80-$400.
“It is an innocent celebration of something worth noting. It is like pointing at something,” Laugharn says of his framing habit.
Check out photos from the upcoming show on fineartframing.net.