Obsession and Curation Make the World More Interesting It’s Our “Speaking of Design” Feature!

The freaky sheep that started it all, captioned "The last thing you will ever see."

On the web, everyone’s a curator. How much fun are collections like this and this? Or in the editorial realm, compendia such as this? How did we collect things before the internet? Or, more importantly, whom did we show them to, and how?

Tumblr and Pinterest seem to be leading the charge in the visual curation genre, along with all the humor aggregator sites like Pleated Jeans or All My Faves. I don’t know how individuals keep up with their own feeds—I signed up for Pinterest at a friend’s behest a year or so ago, and I haven’t posted one thing, though I get notification of people following me every week or so.

Penguin Parody, captioned “Another piece for the house.”

My deepest pleasure lies in the kookier personal collections in which you get a sense of the collector’s (sometimes offbeat) personality. My new favorite in this category is http://nickholmes.tumblr.com/, which I wandered into for about three hours when my friend Dan posted a picture of this freaky sheep on his Facebook. Apparently this Nick Holmes is an aspiring actor, which must give him plenty of time to scour the internet for (mostly) smartly funny or curious imagery as well as, I think, make some of his own (the Penguin book cover parodies appear to be of his creation, because I can’t find them anywhere else).

Example of animal image, captioned “Adapt.”

Some of the pictures and GIFs will be offensive to delicate sensibilities, but moving through them to find the gems is well worth it. With respect to psychoanalyzing Mr. Holmes, I’ll tell you that he loves cute yet bizarre photos of animals; captioning pictures of strange-looking people in sometimes compromised positions; interesting sexual configurations and double entendres; and unclassifiable oddities.

Example of human oddities, captioned “No.”

He’s frequently very witty in his captioning of the images and is definitely a cultural commentator (if of very few words). Because the images are completely without context, you find yourself filling in the blanks about how the pictured situations came to be. I find this very satisfying. And the sequencing of the images tells a story too, just like I read about in college in John Berger’s Ways of Seeing.

Almost daily I thank the gods for the internet’s ability to allow people to showcase their interests and passions for the benefit of others, from the decorous to the truly strange. Have you come across any collections that you find really worthwhile?