Name: **Dan Swenson
**Description of image: **An occult bookstore, with books stacked to the cieling
Originally posted to: **pythons
**Impression cloud of rebloggers: Quite a few people were into tattoos, while there was one White Stripes fan Tumblr. Not surprisingly, there were other images of full bookshelves on offer.
It’s been a little while since the last installment of Behind the Notes, during which time Blake Andrews posted some of his thoughts about Tumblr, on the same day that I wrote down some of my own observations about how Tumblr has changed the way we look at photographs. Let’s dive back into David Karp’s wild and wooly creation, and take a look at an image that has already rung up more than 30,000 notes. Dan Swenson took this image on a trip to Boston, where he’d spent a year as a child. Like Joe Gerhard’s bed image, among others, it doesn’t take too much effort to see how this image could be incorporated into a lifestyle-based fantasy. One person commented when reblogging: “I would love just a room like this in my house.” Perhaps some heavy wish fulfillment here, though Swenson also notes that “there are some hardcore book nerds on Tumblr.”
What’s the story behind this photo?
I lived in Boston for a year as a child, so one summer my family took a vacation to visit all the old spots I grew up in, since I had no memory of the places. I believe this was the Derby Square Bookstore in Salem. We were walking around Salem, and I had to stop in to see the sheer amount of books. I took a few quick photos inside, and this one seemed to resonate with people.
Is it part of a larger project?
Nope, just a memory from a vacation.
Why do you think people responded to it?
I don’t know, really. I guess it seems like a unique place. Maybe it represents what people want their book collections to look like. I think it’s incredible that if you did want a book deep in the stacks, it would not be so easy to get. There is organization in the store, just a major lack of care in cleanliness and shelving. It’s sort of like the bookstore version of a pack rat’s car. I wish I would have talked to the owner, to see if he had a personal relationship with each book.
Also, I think there are some hardcore book nerds on Tumblr.
Have you had any personal response as a result?
I’m very interested in the virality of things. I usually try to figure out why something resonates enough with people to actually be shared, or in Tumblr’s case, be a representation of yourself. I think it was posted on boingboing, and I’ve seen it on Pinterest quite a bit, but this is definitely the first time someone has personally asked me about the photo.
How do you feel about having thousands of people who you probably don’t know looking at this image?
I like it. I like ‘making’ things that people can enjoy. The more eyes the better. It’s not my favorite image by any stretch of the imagination, I guess that would be my one complaint. It’s cool to have that many eyes on something of yours. You no longer need a gallery space to have your stuff seen.