Aluminum Collection ©Dale Niles


For over 4 years I have been photographing Andrea’s eclectic collections. I had no idea of the depth of the items when I ask if I could photograph them. When I first ask Andrea about doing this project she presented me with an envelope that contained a sheet of notebook paper filled, front to back with a list of her collections. And so began an interesting discovery of the collector’s world. When I have mentioned the extent of what she has accumulated I am often ask if she is a hoarder. Absolutely not! All items are categorized and neatly put away in her attic until she determines which one is to brought out for display. Andrea actually lives a simplier life than most. Her furnishings are minimal. She has no cordless phones, no computer and no television but she is one of the most well read people I know.


Starting with bottle caps and matchbooks as a child the collections have exploded into so many different directions. There are dollhouses which have been painstakingly set up by scale, making sure that every element is correct and coordinating. Setting up the dollhouses is a large project because when they are brought out they are displayed all over her house. They are painstakingly set up by scale, making sure that every element is correct. There are hundreds of Barbies and dolls of all sizes either being displayed naked or impecably dressed with coordinating accessories.

There are wetters, corn holders and a wide assortment of shoe shine boxes. Other categories included pressed aluminum trays, bed pans, aluminum ice trays,assorted boxes,old framed photos of people that she does not know as well as swizzle sticks, darning eggs, flattened and twisted forks and spoons and broken eyeglasses. There are a wide assortment of buttons, damaged coins, broken keys, bed pans and urinals (pre-plastic). She has items that some people may not even be able to identify such as soap savers (from her kitchen utensil collection). And list goes on and on.

Andrea can see something special in each of her collections. She feels that it is a way to connect with people, past and present and of course there is always the thrill of the hunt. She searches estate sales and second hand stores looking for treasures. She has friends as well as employees of the second hand stores that assist her with additional finds.

The breadth of all that Andrea has seems endless and she has added new collections to the list since we have started our venture. Her collections are a time capsule of items.

I have learned alot through doing this series as well as establishing an enduring friendship.


“Collecting is a curious vice, it changes your whole life— your whole way of looking at the world.” –

Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr.



I am a self taught photographer. I have taken photos for over 40 years, from film to digital, from wet darkroom to the digital darkroom of the computer.

Photography is one way that I am able to reconnect with myself. I am quite eclectic in the subjects I choose to shoot, anything is fair game.

My wish is that my imagery creates an intimate conversation that takes the viewer to a place of quiet contemplation because it is my visual representation of conversation and feelings.

Photography creates a legacy of all things that I am privileged to experience in my time here. The fragility of life is a catalyst for me to do what I can to preserve it one frame at a time and in doing so I hope that it says that I too existed.

I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in small North Carolina towns, I currently live in Fayette County, Georgia.

Nancy McCrary

Nancy is the Publisher and Founding Editor of South x Southeast photomagazine. She is also the Director of South x Southeast Workshops, and Director of South x Southeast Photogallery. She resides on her farm in Georgia with 4 hounds where she shoots only pictures.

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