In honor of the mountains of snow lining New York City streets this week, I pulled a few favorite snowy scenes from my collection of vintage photos.
I’ve picked these up from antique malls and flea markets since college, and every couple of months I’ll take out a few and set them around my desk. I like the anonymity and the everyday-ness of the snapshots; they always give me a little jolt when I’m feeling out of ideas.
I like this set of snow-themed pictures for the way they incorporate human scale. In the first, a snowbank towers above the road (a lot like the pile encasing our car today). The sky and the trees seem similarly grand. In the second photo, footprints trace a path (of the photographer?) from a nearly-buried building to the edge of the foreground. Trees in the middle distance look like scratches from a pencil, with cliff and sky above. The third is crowded with mostly single-story houses and just a smattering of snow on the ground, but clouds loom overhead, with power lines tracing a path to the horizon. In the final two pictures, the buildings look made for snow, with gabled roofs perfectly coated in white.
What else were these photographers doing in the snow? Were they looking cute in a wool sweater? Did they have to shovel their car out before taking the picture? Was there a cup of hot cocoa in their future that day?
Today I’ll venture out and get an eyeful of Brooklyn in the snow. Plenty of hot cocoa packets wait in my pantry for later.
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