She’d had more fun at the New York Art Book Fair, where she worked a booth for a gallerist friend. “If I have extra money, I always love to support my friends who’re making art.” Beneath the zines were some copies of vintage porn: , which Collins said she’d bought for color inspiration. I love old smut magazines.” I’d assumed that her home would be kitschy and colorful, like the settings in her photos. “I’m either working or I’m lying in bed the entire day.” But it’s also a Steve Jobs Zen thing. I can’t live in a space that has a fixed aesthetic.
Petra Collins’s Instagram account, which has three hundred and eighty-six thousand followers, is full of portraits of young women that seem to allude to the fact that they were created by a young woman. They could be stills from a vintage movie—an impression heightened by the fact that Collins often shoots on film instead of with digital cameras. Girly totems abound: flowers, stickers, glittery nail polish, the color pink.
It’s been said before, but the camera can lie, especially where beauty is concerned. The images come from a variety of sources, reflecting Collins’s complicated career, which straddles the worlds of art, fashion, and advertising.
, the online publication for teen girls started by Gevinson, where they made a stir: they seemed to be a window into the inner world of adolescents.
Actually, Collins had already left that world behind.
“I felt like I’d discovered dinosaur bones,” she said.