"When Gloria Baker Feinstein held an estate sale, before a move made necessary by health issues her husband was experiencing, it was an emotional event. The items on sale offered a record of a lifetime’s travels and the raising of two children. But it felt as though she was selling more than children’s toys or serving bowls. It was like giving away the actual memories associated with them.

So she did what perhaps many a photographer would do to make sense of such moments: She photographed the items as they left the sale. And by recording their sale, she created new memories.

Ms. Feinstein had planned to record each item as it left the house with the camera on her iPhone. But her first buyer, who bought two snow globes from Kentucky captivated her. ‘She was so fantastic herself; I couldn’t not make a picture,’ Ms. Feinstein said. ‘I got derailed right away by what was offered to me. That’s what I love about taking photographs.’

What followed was a ‘parade of really, really interesting people’ and a collection of lovingly made, color-saturated portraits called ‘Estate Sale.

In each portrait, too, there seems to be a magical dynamic between the object and the person buying it. ‘You know how people say their dog resembles them?’ said Ms. Feinstein, alluding to the odd and wonderful way that everyone seemed to match what they bought.

Ms Feinstein found the act of photographing her family’s belongings, and their new owners, cathartic.

‘Any time we have to maneuver our way through the good and the bad, it’s easier with a camera,’ she said. ‘I deal with life’s ups and downs by making pictures. It’s how I make sense of the world.’

And while Ms. Feinstein posed each buyer in front of the backdrop she’d set up, she told the story of the object’s being bought. When a man buying a doll bed learned that it had been made for Ms. Feinstein when she was a little girl, he told her that he planned to fix it up and give it to his granddaughter. ‘It made the whole circle make sense,’ Ms. Feinstein said."


- The New York Times Lens Blog