Question: Is there ever a good time to bust out your grandfather's ill-fitting maroon-and-gold varsity jacket? The answer: Not really. So often, many of our most prized possessions are relegated to attics, storage spaces, or the darkest depths of a little-used hall closet—because, let's face it, there aren't very many occasions to display a favorite childhood stuffed animal in your perfectly curated adult home. Yet these keepsakes tend to be invaluable to their owners. It's this exact conundrum—and the desire to visually tell other peoples' stories— that spurred NYC-based still-life photographer Shana Novak to found The Heirloomist. It all started with Novak's grandmother: "She kept the most fascinating family objects, and she had a story for every single one," says Novak.
What began as a personal project—artfully photographing her own special mementos—eventually grew into a full-on business that made its debuted earlier this year and has had Novak shooting everything from the family silver to vintage video equipment. Her favorite heirlooms, though, are the pieces that only have obvious meaning to their owners. "As an example, one of my first commissions was a pair of jeans that saved someone from being burned in a fire," says Novak.
Interested in getting a custom print of your own (or for someone you love)? Prices start at $650—including printing, framing, and shipping—and Novak will collaborate with you through every step of the process, from the photography style to the frame. Then proudly display your treasured item where everyone can see it.