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Enticed by stories of car-sized vintage disco balls, taxidermy albino peacocks and optometry instruments, I recently set off with a couple friends to Brimfield, a small town about an hour outside of Boston, to visit the week-long antiques fair that takes place there three times yearly.

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Thanks to VW, who hooked up with one of our favorite current rides, a Volkswagen Touareg TDI, we had the perfect transportation to safely carry us through the unfortunate downpours (props to the powerfully thorough windshield wipers) and with ample room to cart home our purchases. We also came equipped with Nikon's as yet unreleased D5000, a robust prosumer model that my trip-mate, photographer (and de facto CH photo editor) James Ryang used to document the characters and scenes that make up the fair.

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With his expert eye, James' photos take in the sheer quantity of stuff we saw and frame them into a study of (mostly) early American design and the dealers and shoppers who love it. As James commented on the photo of the above cart-puller (one of many that we saw), "That's the story right there."

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From cast-iron lawn sprinklers to 8 x 10 view cameras, we learned that there are collectors for everything. He also captured the absurd contrasts that pop up in the often haphazard jumble of stuff—compositions that are easy to overlook in all the clutter.

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See lots more after the jump. Also, check James' blog for several we didn't publish here (as well as his other gorgeous personal work).

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Stay tuned for more from Brimfield, including a few profiles on some of our favorite dealers and what we took home with us.

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