Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, Elkhorn WI 8-14-11

WOW!!! Two flea markets in one weekend! For being new at this, I sure am loving it!

Elkhorn was an amazing find. The dealers at Grayslake told me about Elkhorn. They said it was probably 5 times the size of Kane County.  I knew I had to go!!!

Elkhorn is right outside of Lake Geneva, WI.

This project is at times very intense because not only am I a shopper, I am wanting something more personal from these people. I want their stories. I want their photograph. Some are more willing than others to talk. Some will lead the conversation. Some will stand still while I ask them questions.

Bob had on this shirt that I just had to see up close. Although I was not interested in coins,  he was still willing to talk to me briefly.

Bob Hanson: Richfield, WI
Bob sells coins. I really know nothing about mint, but this man sure does! Bob has been doing this for 35 years now. It was a hobby turned career.

As I walked around looking for people who had interested things, & interesting faces I came across an older gentlemen... He had a look on his face & I couldn't tell weather he was grumpy or bored.

Jim McMillan: Beloit, WI

The stuff Jim had was really cool, but I clearly can't afford precious time hauling furniture back to my car. He did have this super rap kitchen table & chairs from the 40's! 15 years ago, his brother & sister-in-law turned him onto selling at flea markets. He's pretty happy doing what he is doing.

Some people totally freak at the idea that someone wants to photograph them. "Oh ME!? Like this?!" is usually my first response. But I mean, this is true America. These are REAL people. These are not country clubbers, or socialites like we all wish we could be. These are true Americans!
JoAnn is a prime example.
JoAnn Andersen: West Bend, WI
I love when I can just photograph people while they just talk, and get the story they are telling me out of their mouth and onto film/digital prints. I like asking how they got into doing this, and how I should avoid becoming someone who sells because I am a compulsive shopper (they usually laugh & start to loosen up- other times, they just think I'm being a b****). JoAnn told me she bought an old farm house and wanted to furnish it authenticly, and over time she just acumulated all this extra stuff! So for the past ten years, she has been selling at flea markets. She told me the worst part about selling are the really hot days (much like today was!).

DONT WORRY!! I did end up photographing some really cool things I found, but didnt buy!!

FLAWLESS. $400 sadly it was sold. I WOULD HAVE PAID FULL PRICE.

 So after seeing Nancy smoking in her picture, I was really open to not having people stop their business while I photographed. This next dude, who wasnt really interested in talking, was smoking right before I took this picture, but he put it out right before. I wish he would have left it in his hand, but what can I do!

Unknown American Man

Now here is a couple I was completely wrong about. These two were sitting together, just staring off when I walked up. All of their stuff was super super suuuuuper nice. Normally, these people are really either really overpriced. or are foreign & the stuff is old family heirlooms they are trying to part with.
Terry & Brunhilde Bucki: St. Charles, IL/Lake Genva, WI
The reason I put two locations is because they reside in St. Charles but own a bed & breakfast in Lake Geneva called The Sheldon House. Turns out, they were not over priced, and Brunhilde was the only "foreign" one. She met Terry, while she was an inturpretor for a client he was working with. I got to know them very well. They are really sweet, honest people. I even got to know about their dog, Starbuck, who I feel awful for. Poor thing should have been named CARIBOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I broke the ice by buying a pretty cool glass head!

Glass Head $10

I could have talked to them for so much longer but I saw this shopper who caught my eye & had to polietly excuse myself because I saw someone who needed to become famous =]

Larry Schwartz: Waukesha, WI

The suspenders, the shirt, the belt, the hat... OH! And that GLORIOUS mustache. Seriously! I mean what's NOT amazing about this. HE is the poster child for this project! His story is even perfect too! Larry promised himself, he would retire at the ripe young age of 55 years young. And he did. He worked hard to the bone to achieve that goal and now keeps himself busy by doing random things for people, like cutting down trees, fixing cabinets... ya know.

I had only bought a few things so far & I was really anxious to find my next... well, whatever you want to call what I'm buying- I was out on a mission to find & buy it. But this time, an object didn't catch my attention.

Richard Rohan: Green Bay, WI
I mean seriously... Richard was a old man version of who I really am. I WOULD be that person playing dress up, while selling at a flea market, eating a sammich. Richard does this every time. He told me he even crashed a friends wedding (groom paid him to, bride & her family didnt know) dressed up in some old fast food chains costume. ALL in good nature!
I wish I would have gotten that head thing...

Four Eyed Man bottle opener $25 (didn't buy)
There was a slow part of my day, where I just wanted to photograph and not talk much... I was pretty hungry, hot and tired... but I did meet Laura, a sweet lady!
Laura Burger:Wauwatosa, WI
I hope one day I can meet Laura with her identical twin sister at one of their Estate Sales.

I mean why not buy a banjo. Your alligator shoes aren't hiding you in a crowd! These gals were funny.

This old heater, makes me realize how lucky I am. Not only is it gorgeous, but it really makes a great conversation piece. Kendal would have LOVED this I'm sure!
I guess I may have a thing for photographing cute old grandpas because Jim was my first, but not last early bird special model.

Dean Ferber: Hales Corners, WI
I mean, he was just cute. He was totally a hoot. I asked him what he'd grab if the market set on fire, and don't say your wife/husband because everyone says that, usually because they are standing right there... He laughed & said I wasn't going to! I want my clock {because} it's expensive & my wife is cheap. LOVE!

Hardware is really common but it just makes me miss Savannah & it's historic glory
Why I wasn't carrying $600 in my pockets is beyond me for this banging @$$ stove!
Now right here is my favorite shot so far. Maybe in general. I'm telling you, I have the hots for old grandpas or something.

James Filut: Milwaukee, WI
James was my favorite of the day. He had a million stories to tell me. I asked him about all of his blocks for the letterpress. He told me he wasn't interested really in printing, but just started selling blocks because they were easy & made great money. I asked him if I could sit with him and chat for a while and he was very pleased. He wanted to show me his hat, and the Civil War medal on the top. He counted out the 13 stars & told me it was for the Confederate army. I mean... he was just too cute. He wanted to tell me all about where he has sold, and details of everything. I mean... I must have spent 30 minutes talking to him. He was honestly the sweetest guy ever. But his wife, Helen, was just so sweet. She thought she knew me. Kinda precious...

James & Helen Filut: Milwaukee, WI
They have been married for over 60 years!!!!!! I liked the photos so much, I asked for their address so I can send them prints when I get back to Savannah. I can't wait!!!!!!  I don't wanna tell you all the stories yet. Some of this is left for me. <3

I found this birdhouse made out of barnwood, and a 1972 license plate, and some thread. Not worth $10, but I really wanted it... I kind of regret it now. OH WELL... I'll put it outside.
Birdhouse $10

Now the next dude, yall may have seen before.

Tom Cerny: Waterford, WI
Better known as "Hippie Tom" on episode 23 of American Pickers, Tom was so interesting to me. I love the show, but hadn't seen his episode. Everyone in the world seemed to know him, and I was only able to briefly shoot him. I was able to talk to handsome friend who lived on the farm with him, named Jeff Purcell. Jeff seemed to really love what he was doing with Tom, and really enjoyed life in general!

Jeff Purcell: Waterford, WI 
Now I LOVED this photo of Jeff & Tom, but it was more like a snap shot & not a portrait. What I really wanted to do was photograph Tom's hands. All of his cuts and wounds were wrapped in duct tape... Like a true modern hippie. Jeff was such a sweet guy. He invited me up to the farm if I ever wanted. He was really truly just a happy guy. It was sweet. At 26, he is back at school, studying geology. He recently returned from a trip to I believe Switzerland, studying glaciers with a professor. I don't know why, but I love that.

So I saw this guy had a ton of Chicago street signs, exit signs... lots of signs. He even had this baller CUBS sign, but he wasn't willing to part with it for less then $300 but kept it out to draw in customers and show them smaller "No Parking During Cubs Night Games" signs and what not. I asked him how much the "Photo Enforced" sign was. He said normally $50, but since I had my camera around my neck, and I was clearly into photography... only $25. I said great! Now lets bargin. Since I'm pretty how much!? "$#!*, you got me there. Can't go lower than $15." SOLD
Photo Enforced (Chicago) sign $50/$25/$15

Beautiful, industrial desk- SOLD
I love that this old suitcase had vintage travel stickers on it, but it was in such great condition for such a low price... I decided to pass, skeptical it was a replica.

SUPER close to buying a gar of bullets to go next to my jar-o-babies... but it was way too heavy.
PBR Tray: $30- paid $10


  1. Hey there! My folks sent me over because you took a photo of my dad (Dean, from Hales Corners) -- and because they knew I'd dig your blog!

    PS I posted at (one of my) blogs: http://www.inherited-values.com/2011/09/in-praise-of-that-6-degrees-thing-people-other-flea-market-finds/

  2. Love that you reblogged me! thanks! i love your blog as well. lots of stuff to see!!! thanks again!

  3. Hi there. My name is James Filut. Fom Texas, undoubtedly related to the one you have pictured there as my dad's family moved to Texas from Milwaukee just after WWII. That and there are not very many Filuts out there. (he looks like my Grandfather. Pretty cool.) Thanks!

  4. this is specialty of flea market that they have antique stuff and if you are searching of any flea market you can search by flea market directory in US
    . here you get all the information about any flea market .

  5. I had so much fun looking through all these photos! I once went to a flea market where someone make things out of tree stumps. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. When we get our tree stumps removed in our backyard we are going to call that lady up and see if she'll make stools out of them for us!

    Tara | http://www.abbotttreecare.com

  6. Hi James! Is there any way to find out if this is a relative of yours? I'd love to show him this photograph as it has been published in some small college publications