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Current News             Issue Archive             Article Archive E-Photo Newsletter   Issue 101   2/5/2006

AIPAD, America's Largest Photography Show, Runs Next Week At 72nd Armory, NYC

The Photography Show, which is hosted by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), has moved to the 7th Regiment Armory, Park Ave. at 67th St., New York City and will run this coming week from February 9-12 (Thursday-Sunday). With its selection of top dealers and concentration of key collectors, it is still arguably the most important such multi-dealer art photography exhibition in the world. It is a not-to-be-missed event for all photography collectors and curators.

The new venue has allowed AIPAD to expand the average booth size dramatically and keep the show all on one level in a more prestigious location. A number of AIPAD dealers who have not exhibited in the recent past, particularly contemporary art photography dealers who had a need for more space, will now be showing at this revamped event. Eighty-three international photography dealers and galleries will exhibit contemporary art photography and 19th and 20th-century vintage material--most in booths that are now expanded up into 12 x 20 ft. or 12 x 24 ft. size.

Other changes in the 26th running of this show include going back to a four-day schedule from the previous five-day version. The show will officially kick off February 9, Thursday night from 6-9 p.m. with a benefit reception/opening for Inwood House, an organization that helps troubled teenagers. Tickets are $50 each. To purchase tickets or learn more about Inwood House, please contact: Jamila Baucom, Public Affairs Coordinator, Inwood House, 1-212-861-4400, ext 232; fax: 1-212-861-3791; email: jbaucom@inwoodhouse.com ; tickets can be purchased on line at http://www.inwoodhouse.com . Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

I Photo Central dealers Charles Schwartz, Ltd. and Vintage Works, Ltd. will be exhibiting at this year's venue.

Charles Schwartz will be in booth 104. He will be showing some exciting cased images, including a 1/2 plate ambrotype of a pony express stop and Wells Fargo Office in Vacaville, CA, and a gold miner's archive, which includes his portrait daguerreotype by Vance in its original case, a single-page letter written to his brother, his tin gold mining pan and six gold nuggets. Schwartz will present six large W. Eugene Smith exhibition prints measuring 21 x 15-1/2 in., including "The Spinner" from the Spanish Village series and "Ile de la Tortue, Haiti". In addition he will feature a series of important Samuel Gottscho photographs of New York City and a collection of five photographs by Shinzo Fukuhara, who was considered the father of modern Japanese photography. Charles will also show one of the earliest William Henry Jackson photographs (circa 1867) of Omaha, NB, which was the home of Jackson's first studio.

My own company, Vintage Works, Ltd., will be located in booth 315. I expect that my walls will be among the highest valued ones at the fair with well over $1.5 million in images, and another $2.5 million-plus in the bins and portfolios.

Here is some of what we are bringing: Three major vintage Steichens; a unique Man Ray of Kiki (among about six Man Rays that I am bringing); probably the most important and beautiful whole plate by Southworth and Hawes that is currently on the market; a fabulous, early and unique salt print by Charles Negre of a model on bed (plus about seven others by Negre); a rare and probably unique salt print by B. B. Turner; numerous rare 19th-century Roger Fenton, Auguste Salzmann, Louis De Clercq, Paul Berthier, Gustave Le Gray, Captain Linnaeus Tripe, Hippolyte Bayard, Edouard Baldus, Charles Clifford, Eugene Cuvelier, Thomas Eakins, Colonel Jean-Charles Langlois and Leon-Eugene Mehedin masterworks (some will be hidden away in our portfolios, so please ask to see them); an important group of carte-de-visite gems by Julia M. Cameron (plus many of her large prints, as well); two extremely early daguerreotypes by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey; important American salt prints; a unique Horst vintage print of Barefoot; two of the finest vintage Francois Kollar images that I have seen on the market; an apparently unique vintage portfolio of NY Photo League member Sol Libsohn's work in Newark, NJ from 1964; important published vintage 20th-century work by Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Brassai, Edouard Boubat, Robert Doisneau (we have three major collections of his images in vintage or near vintage prints; please ask to see these), Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ilse Bing, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Peter Henry Emerson, Walker Evans, Lewis Carroll, Jean Dreville, Andre Kertesz, Brett Weston, Willy Ronis, Sherill Schell and Clarence White. We will also feature the contemporary work of Marcus Doyle, Joel D. Levinson, Charlie Schreiner, Ted Jones and Ray Bidegain.

During the show, you may reach me on my mobile phone at 1-215-518-6962.

Regular hours for the show are the following: February 10-11, Friday and Saturday, from 12 noon-7 p.m.; Sunday from 12 noon-6 p.m. The ticket price is $30 for a three-day pass or $20 per day. The price of admission includes an exceptional 360-page catalogue.

AIPAD is cosponsoring a special panel symposium with the Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled 'Collaboration: Collector and Curator' on Friday, February 10, which will be offered free with museum admission and will be open to the general public. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Met. The symposium will run from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at Fifth Ave. and 82nd St. The panel members will discuss the mutually beneficial relationship between museums and collectors, and how that relationship enriches both parties. The moderator is Philip Gefter, The New York Times; and panelists include Malcolm Daniel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Pierre Apraxine, Gilman Paper Co. Collection; Anne Wilkes Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Manfred Heiting, collector; Sandra Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Carla Emil, collector; Philip Brookman, Corcoran Museum of Art; and Julia J. Norrell, collector.

AIPAD has let me know that there are still rooms available at the New York Hilton with an AIPAD group rate of $249, plus tax. For New York, that isn't bad at all. The reservation number is 1-800-HILTONS and mention "The Photography Show" rate.

Additional information about the Photography Show 2006 can be found at the newly redesigned AIPAD website at http://www.AIPAD.com , or by clicking on the banner ad from the I Photo Central website at http://www.iphotocentral.com .

Hallmark Collection Acquired By Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Through a combination of gift and purchase, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, has acquired the Hallmark Photographic Collection, one of the premier collections of American photography and the basis of several major books on the subject including the landmark "An American Century of Photography, From Dry-Plate to Digital, 2nd edition, which was published in 1999. The collection will form the foundation of a new photography department at the museum, which will be headed up by Keith Davis, the current curator of the Hallmark photography collection. Davis will split his time between what he terms "somewhat reduced Hallmark duties" and his curatorial responsibilities at the museum.

Begun in 1964 with a purchase of 141 prints by Harry Callahan, the collection grew to over 6,500 works by over 900 artists, from 1839 to the present. Most are American images or by American photographers.

Hallmark and the Hall family have been long-time major supporters of the museum and had a desire for the collection to benefit the greater Kansas City region, so this is apparently a perfect fit. The museum has a major campus transformation project currently underway that includes the addition of the new 165,000-sq. ft. Bloch Building (opening in 2007), the renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building, the reinstallation of its varied collections and the expansion of the museum's sculpture park. The $200-million project will increase museum space by 71%, providing new galleries and support space. The new photography department will take advantage of this expansion immediately. A special exhibition of 31 representative works from the Hallmark Photographic Collection will be on view at the museum from now until April 16.

Another major announcement about other projects related to the collection will be made this spring.

Getty Sponsors Conservation Symposium On Baryta Layer

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and Paul Messier, Inc. recently produced a full-day symposium on "Understanding 20th-Century Photographs: The Baryta Layer Research". This symposium discussed many of the newest methods to date and provenance photographs.

Giacomo Chiari, chief scientist at GCI, opened up the symposium by giving an overview of the types of ongoing research and their potential benefits. He noted that it should be possible to determine how much light and what type would be damaging to a given paper, to map fungi and other types of mold that are not visible to normal light, to date and provenance prints more accurately, and to determine exactly what process was used to make a print (an Atlas of this latter work is well underway at the Getty and will be available in the future).

Paul Messier then reviewed the current state of research in relationship to optical brighteners added to photographic papers.

Utilizing Messier's extensive library of dated photographic paper--the largest in North America, results indicate that, to date, no papers made prior to 1950 have tested positive for optical brighteners, and that only about 1/3 of the papers from the latter part of the 1950s tested for brighteners. The survey found peak use of the brighteners in the periods 1960-1964 and post-1980. Brighteners can be detected using an Ultraviolet Lamp, commonly know as a black light (use of UV protected eyewear is recommended when using a black light). In the post-1980 period 78% of fiber-based papers tested showed brightening agents. The survey also concluded that brighteners were mostly found in the emulsion side of papers produced prior to 1960. After 1960, brighteners were predominantly found on both the emulsion side and paper base.

Messier also briefly discussed ongoing work on analyzing the actual paper fiber by type and even by tree species and percentage of mixed fibers to further help date papers. As one example that can be tested, the existence of bleached Kraft paper in photography papers is a relatively recent phenomenon, coming into prominent use in the 1960s and 1970s. This is something that conservators can easily test for. Messier is currently working with the New York Museum of Modern Art on expanding the fiber analysis database.

Messier also discussed the use of dating photographs utilizing photography paper companies' logos and names. I am working on a joint project with Messier and his group to present this material.

Dusan Stulik, senior scientist at GCI, and a team of scientists and conservationists from the Getty, California State University and the Nuclear Reactor Research facility at the University of California Irvine studied trace elements in the baryta layer of photographic emulsions using about 580 paper samples from the Messier photography paper library, and then discussed the results of their research at this meeting. The scientists utilized several technologies, including X-Ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF), plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and neutron activation analysis (NAA).

In addition, Renaud Duverne, Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques (Paris) discussed his additional research on structural measurements (thickness of the layer, etc.) and particle size analysis of the baryta coating.

All these new techniques lead the scientists to feel that there are profitable lines of inquiry that could lead to additional methods to both date photographic papers and even to provenance images, given that most photographers tended to stick with one or two photography papers for the bulk of their work. Their testing database will need to be expanded, as well as the library of photographic papers, but already testing exists through these methods that would allow conservators to match chemical and physical markers of many baryta-coated black and white photographic papers to determine age and specific type of paper, and perhaps confirmation of provenance of a specific photographer.

According to Stulik, standards for XRF use calibration will be made available to all potential users of the new provenancing methodology to facilitate an easy comparison of data, regardless of type of XRF used, or of experimental parameters. Conservators should contact GCI and Stulik about this. GCI is also making available a traveling laboratory to train conservators at other sites in the world.

Anne Cartier-Bresson, director of the Atelier for the Restoration and Conservation of Photographs of the City of Paris (ARCP), was the guest lecturer. This part of the program was open to the general public and it was a very nearly full Getty Lecture Hall for the presentation. Cartier-Bresson, not only detailed her work in Paris, but reiterated other speakers calls for a more unified approach to identifying and solving conservation issues.

The upshot is that while the technology is not there to test all papers, the database of information continues to growth and expand to several areas of study. Institutions are beginning to work more closely together, at least to develop standards. This will mean more reliability and specificity in testing and determining the age of photographic papers, matching papers to specific photographers, and determining other important characteristics of 20th-century photography prints, including the specific process of the print (especially of "alternative" processes), the paper's ability to handle light (what type and how much), optical brightener fastness, and "invisible" mold and fungi growth.

If you have or know of properly dated and provenanced photographic paper supplies, particularly prior to 1950, and would like to donate or help this project, please contact Paul Messier at pm@paulmessier.com and Dusan Stulik at dstulik@getty.edu .

Learning About The Photography Resources On I Photo Central

The I Photo Central website at http://www.iphotocentral.com offers some of the most extensive information for photography collectors anywhere on the Internet.

Many of you enjoy this email newsletter, but do you know that you can search all 101 newsletters online at http://www.iphotocentral.com/news/news.php ? Since we cover most of the photography auctions' main action, you can not only find out how much something sold for at auction, but sometimes even who it sold to. Whether it is a market study, a conservation issue or a book review that you missed, just search for it with the key word search.

I Photo Central's Special Exhibits section not only has great images on display by theme or photographer, but the exhibits often are accompanied by some of the most detailed research available on certain subjects and photographers. Extensive biographies and a discussions of their work can be found in the Special Exhibits on Laure Albin-Guillot, Andre Kertesz, the Auradon brothers, Eugene Atget, Geza Vandor, Jan Bulhak, Louis De Clercq, Robert Doisneau, Krzysztof Pruszkowski, Maurice Georges Chanu, Ted Jones, Ray Bidegain, Joel D. Levinson, Marcus Doyle, Charlie Schreiner and Lisa Holden. Major articles on the history of stereoviews and three dimensional photography, the autochrome and early color processes, the photography of the Crimean War, the paper negative, abstract photography, 20th-century Czech photography, the Japanese ambrotype, and even the movie Gone with the Wind are all available to you at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/showcase/showcase.php . The dealers of I Photo Central are constantly updating, changing and adding new exhibits, so return often.

On the Calendar of Events page you will find one of the most complete international calendars of photography collecting-related events broken up by specific type (auctions, museums, galleries, seminars, book-signings, etc.). And it is completely sortable by city, state, country, etc. You can access it by clicking on: http://www.iphotocentral.com/calendar/calendar.php . Never miss another event, no matter where you go.

One of the best resources for even experienced collectors, dealers and curators is the I Photo Central section on Collecting Issues and Resources. This is a series of lengthy, detailed and practical articles on the following topics:

• On Connoisseurship And Print Values: A Discussion

• Photography Price Gyrations: Le Gray, A Case Study

• The Insider's Guide To Buying Photographs

• The Insider's Guide To Selling Photographs

• Risk Management And Insurance For Private Collectors, Dealers, Gallery Owners And Museums

• Certificates Of Insurance And Why You Need To Get Them When You Loan Out Work

• Sample Photography Collector's Vintage & Contemporary Fine Art Insurance Policy

• Sample Photography Dealer's Vintage & Contemporary Fine Art Insurance Policy

• Determining The Vintage Of A Print

• Vintage Character And Dating Prints After 1953

• Responses To Our Question On The Vintage Issue After 1953

• The Ins And Outs Of Photography Appraisals

• Basic Core Photography Collecting Books And Other Media By Category

We are constantly updating and adding to these articles, which can all be found at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/collecting/collecting.php .

And remember that we now have incorporated a "Printer Friendly" version of each page. Just click on that indication at the upper right of each web page to pull up a page ready for your printer without color and properly spaced.

Of course, the core of the site is the 6,000-plus photographs for sale that can be accessed through one of the easiest-to-use search pages on the Internet. Just go to http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/search.php to find a range of interesting images that you can purchase from I Photo Central's dealers. If you want to look at our list of photographers whose images are currently for sale, just go to: http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/photographer_list.php , or just click on the "Search by Photographer" button on the general Search Images page. There is often considerable biographical information on the photographer listed with the actual photograph for sale.

New Photography Books

By Matt Damsker

LOOKING AT ATGET.

Published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 125 pages; with essays by Peter Barberie, Beth A. Price, and Ken Sutherland. ISBN Nos. 0-87633-189-4 (cloth); 0-87633-190-8 (paper); 0-300-11137-1 (Yale cloth). The Publishing Department, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19130 USA. http://www.philamuseum.org .

When the Philadelphia Museum of Art became home to the Julian Levy Collection of more than 2,000 photographic treasures in 2001, there was no doubt that the centerpiece of Levy's great holdings was a trove of 361 works by Eugene Atget. These images reflect a key art-historical moment of the 1930s, in which Levy--photography's most prescient collector--and Berenice Abbott partnered in preserving and promoting the contents of Atget's studio, staking their futures on the eventual recognition, not only of Atget, but also of the photographic medium as a worthy art form.

We all know how that played out, and this book and its accompanying exhibition beautifully document the Abbott-Levy project, which brought Atget's vision to a world that was still waking up to photography's possibilities. Abbott, who would find her own fame as a photographic visionary, printed many of these shots herself, rendering superb fidelity from the master's negatives, while Levy found an audience of Atget collectors that has never ceased to grow. In the end, of course, such careerist details matter less than the sheer richness and curiosity of Atget's eye as he documented a Paris of high and low aspiration. His images fused the noble statuary of Versailles and Paris with the trees, leaves, and transient nature of the living world, and captured the rough details of streets, shop windows, prostitutes in their doorways, as well as the domestic textures of salons and other interiors.

As Peter Barberie notes in his essay, "Atget's photography was remarkable for the scope and depth of its subject matter, but his career was similar to those of dozens of other photographers who worked in Paris during his lifetime…Yet Atget took his work most seriously. His photographs manifest a daunting ambition to record countless things." Indeed, Atget's influence on the modernism of Abbott and so many other photographers, whose strategy was to initiate an aesthetic conversation through an abundance of sheer visual information, is profound. It is revelatory to see, in these remarkable photos, how the details of time, place, and texture can combine for so much in a single frame.

LUKE SWANK: MODERNIST PHOTOGRAPHER.

By Howard Bossen. Published 2005 by University of Pittsburgh Press, accompanying the exhibition of the same name at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, through February 6, 2006. 248 pages; 141 plates; 64 illustrations; ISBN No. 0-8229-4253-4; clothbound, $65. University of Pittsburgh Press, Eureka Bldg., Fifth Floor, 3400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA; phone: 1-412-383-2493; fax: 1-412-383-2466; email mes5@pitt.edu .

Another artist championed by New York's Julian Levy Gallery, Luke Swank died fairly young in 1944 and has been all but forgotten since his shining moment among modernism's photographic pioneers of the 1930s. But thanks to Howard Bossen, a journalism professor and adjunct curator at Michigan State University, the Swank Rediscovery is in full swing, with a long-overdue exhibition (guest curated by Bossen) at the Carnegie Museum of Art--and this fine accompanying book. If anything, Bossen proves that Swank is much more than a curiosity, and arguably the equal of his modernist peers--from Abbott to Walker Evans--in his own way.

These images speak strongly for themselves, echoing Atget's fascination with urban life and the monochromatic richness of stone, steel, and natural light, yet the largely self-taught Swank (born in Johnstown, PA) set himself apart with a lyrical flair for dramatic shadow and highlighting, resulting in shots that are wonderfully artful without seeming self-consciously arty. His brilliant images of workers toiling in an iron foundry, pouring molten metal while molten sunlight pours in from the high windows, are extraordinary, iconic, yet free of any workers-of-the-world rhetoric. Swank saw powerful form and complex geometry in his industrial images, and that was more than enough to validate the work. In contrast, his shots of clowns and tenting, crowds and vendors at a circus are high-keyed and affectionate, as are his portraits of migrant children, or of a little white boy giving a brotherly hug to two black friends in 1934. And the portraits of nudes or the still lifes of baskets become fascinating studies of shadow, line, and visual rhythm that are easily among the finest of their day.

Of course, as Bossen chronicles, Swank's untimely end meant that his famous, longer-lived contemporaries not only produced more work but refined their styles in a way that Swank was just beginning to do, while the market for their art only grew in the post-war era. Unfortunately, Swank's widow, Edith, held his prints off the market for decades after his death. But this book and exhibition will go a long way toward rectifying posterity's slighting of Swank. In a relatively brief time, he created a body of work that spans the seminal age of modernism, brilliantly capturing urban flavor, vivid iconography, and the human form. Indeed, his figures in the landscape are typically dwarfed by their surroundings, but their personalities resonate magically, often from a considerable distance. It is high time that we bridge the distance between Luke Swank and his rightful place in photography's canon.

FACES: PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP TRAGER.

Steidl Publishers, co-published with the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, and the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University. 124 pages; 48 tritone plates. ISBN No. 3-86521-131-3. Steidl, Dustere Strasse 4, D-37073 Gottingen, Germany. Phone: +49 551 49 6060; fax: +49 551 49 60 649; email: mail@steidl.com ; website: http://www.steidl.de .

PhilipTrager's famed photographs of dancers and architecture form the basis for this study, for these "Faces" are not merely portraits but images of dancers cropped from the shoulders up. The result is a striking study in artifice and sheer personality, as the dancers--many of them among the top performers in modern terpsichory--prove wonderfully expressive, their visages heightened by greasepaint as they emote in thrall to whatever music is moving them.

If anything, Trager is staking out the architecture of the human head and upper body, housing their soulful and muscular reserves of theatrical power. Thus, an image of Mark Morris, head uplifted, eyes closed in rapture, with his arm posed across his bare chest, becomes something Olympian yet wholly human at the same time. And a wild-haired Mark Dendy, a bug-eyed Rachel Rosenthal, a mugging, Chaplinesque John Kelley, or a sternly twinned Lucy Sexton and Anne Iobst become emblems of aesthetic ferment, foible, and fun. Great Asian performers such as Koma Otake--captured here in a tumble of leaves, as if the victim of some natural disaster--or Ko Murobishi, powerfully bald and otherworldy, like a Buddhist monk in prayer, appear as archetypes, while a spectral Pam Quinn seems David Bowie-esque.

These black-and-white images range from the sharply focused to blurred motion studies that convey great emotion within Trager's limiting frame, and the reproductions, on glossy stock, are first-rate and generously sized at 10.5 x 13.25 inches (26.5 x 33.5 cm). Few coffee table books are as compelling in their simplicity as this one, if only because it invites countless return perusals, for there are as many moods contained in these images as there are clouds in the sky, it seems. Trager enhances all of this with interspersed poetry and quotations--well-chosen words from the likes of Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, C.K. Williams, and Rainer Maria Rilke ("Disguised since childhood/ haphazardly assembled/from voices and fears and little pleasures,/we come of age as masks./Our true face never speaks.").


Matt Damsker is an author and critic, who has written about photography and the arts for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Bulletin, Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. His book, "Rock Voices", was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. His essay in the book, "Marcus Doyle: Night Vision" was published in the fall of 2005.

He currently reviews books for U.S.A. Today.

(Book publishers, authors and photography galleries/dealers may send review copies to us at: I Photo Central, 258 Inverness Circle, Chalfont, PA 18914. We do not guarantee that we will review all books or catalogues that we receive. Books must be aimed at photography collecting, not how-to books for photographers.)