This picture comes to us from Shorpy, which is a very fine web destination.
I beg you to click on the picture to enlarge and then spend some time staring at this young man’s bedroom wall. Several of the commenters at the Shorpy post have spent some time figuring out who is who in the selection of baseball cards behind him. There are so many things I love in this photo, from his dirty white pants to the canopy above his bed, the short broom on his desk, the mysterious note on the bed. I admire crisp, simple modern design, but staring at this room makes me want to wallpaper my studio in postcards, keepsakes, and — of course — baseball cards. This student was expressing himself through the art of careful, personal curation. He’s making a “what I like is what I’m like” statement with this room, something that is usually associated with the facebook generation, but is actually just a habit of privileged young people of all eras. Whether it’s picking out outfits, rearranging your bookshelves, making a mix tape, or gluing baseball cards to your wall, we have all, at some point in our lives, tried to find ways to viewed as the human embodiment of all the beautiful or interesting (or powerful or funny or obscure or…) things we have collected. By that standard, this kid might be the most beautiful person I have ever seen.