"Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again," writes Susan Sontag in On Photography. The nine snapshot collectors featured in OPP devote their weekends to the avid pursuit of such privileged moments at the Chelsea flea market, where one vendor becomes slightly huffy when a potential buyer doesn't realize he's holding a photo of King Leopold III. Unlike several of the obsessive filmgoers in last year's Cinemania, whose movie madness warranted an entry in the DSM-IV, the photo buffs in Shepperd and Philbrick's slim, bare-bones doc speak coolly and lucidly about their passion. "It's the unfinished storywhat happened just before, what happened just after," notes middle-aged Peter about the poignant narrative a snapshot provides. Plummy-voiced Leonie reveres the subjects in her treasured pics as "these strange, magical, frozen people." Excavated from flea market bins and then neatly assembled in frames, albums, or plastic containers, the frozen people are reanimated by their collector's returning gaze.
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