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Current News             Issue Archive             Article Archive E-Photo Newsletter   Issue 71   4/9/2004

Photo-London Kicks Off May 19-23

Photo-London is the first annual art fair in Britain solely dedicated to photography. Galleries and dealers from all over the world will be participating in the event, which opens with a gala private view on May 19 and regular public viewing from May 20th-23, 2004. Photo-London will be held at the Royal Academy of Arts at 6 Burlington Gardens.

Work on display will include photography from established and emerging contemporary artists, important post-war photography, vintage 19th and 20th-century masterworks, as well as film and video.

Fifty international galleries will show works by artists ranging from Julia Margaret Cameron, Man Ray and Bill Brandt to David Bailey, Cindy Sherman and Andreas Gursky.

Photo-London coincides with major photography auctions taking place in the capital and will be the centerpiece of the new annual London Photo Week, which will promote photographic exhibitions and special events in public and private art galleries, as well as retail shops, restaurants and bars across the city. Already scheduled for London Photo Week are a Bill Brandt retrospective at the V&A, World Press Photos at the Royal Festival Hall, Cecil Beaton Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery and Tina

Modotti and Edward Weston: The Mexico Years at the Barbican. London Photo Week is expected to raise awareness worldwide for photography.

Photo-London has been organized by PLUK magazine. For more information, visit its website at www.photo-london.com . Or email your questions to info@photo-london.com .

Cowan Auction Features Full-Plate Dag of San Francisco, Plus Cased Images, Civil War Imagery and Western Material

Cowan's Historic Americana Auctions is holding its Historic America Auction Sale on May 20-22 at 11 am near Cincinnati, OH at the Sharonville Convention Center at 11355 Chester Road. You can preview at the site, which is in Sharonville, from 9 am until the beginning of the sale itself. Or you can see the auction online.

There are more than 1,491 lots in the full three-day sale, although there are only a few hundred photography-specific lots. But that amount still makes Cowan one of the top auction houses for 19th-century American photography.

For photography collectors, the days that count are the first two days May 20-21, when Cowan's will auction off a huge assortment of early photography.

On the first day, offerings include numerous larger plate daguerreotypes (and other hard images), featuring a magnificent Robert Vance full-plate daguerreotype of San Francisco, c.1856. The daguerreotype was taken about May 15th or 16th, 1856 at the height of the activities of the city's second Committee of Vigilance. This striking image shows the front of Smiley, Yerkes and Company Auctioneers and Commission Merchants at the corner of Sacramento and Montgomery Streets. The black crepe and banner on the building reads, "The Great Man Has Fallen. We Mourn His Loss." and commemorates the assassination of muckraking newspaper editor James King of William.

On the evening of May 14th, King (who had legally changed his name adding "of William" to distinguish himself from another James King) was gunned down by rival newspaper editor and local politician James P. Casey. Casey, editor of the Sunday Times, was incensed when King's Evening Bulletin ran an article accusing him of election fraud and being an ex-convict; his response was the cold-blooded shooting of King as he walked down a San Francisco street. When King died a few days later, the city rose up in arms. A mob of vigilantes removed Casey from the sheriff's office and lynched him from an abandoned liquor warehouse.

San Francisco's Committee of Vigilance was first organized in 1851, in response to lawlessness accompanying the Gold Rush boom. This group--reputable businessmen and other citizens--saw it as their reasonable duty to suppress crime when local law enforcement failed. Ne'er do wells and criminals were rounded up and forced to leave the city, and in some cases faced the ultimate penalty: public lynching. In both 1851 and 1856, the Committee's actions proved successful in bringing order to what had become a virtually lawless city. T. J. L. Smiley, whose building is depicted in this daguerreotype, was a charter member of the first Committee of Vigilance.

The estimate on this historically important daguerreotype is an obviously ridiculously low $30,000-$50,000. It is easily worth more than triple the high estimate.

Rounding out the first day, are numerous lots of Western material, including images by William H. Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan (Darien Expedition), Charles R. Savage, George Trager (the massacre at Wounded Knee), L.A. Huffman and many others. Images range from photographs of George Armstrong Custer to Indian and Eskimo portraits to Oklahoma land rush photographs. There are several especially strong albums of American Indian images, including an anonymous album containing prints of a Blackfoot sun dance ceremony. Other photo lots include a nice selection of images of Wild West Show performers, such as Buffalo Bill. Cabinets and cdvs of important photographer's studios and promotional cards round out the Western category.

On the second day, the Civil War takes the foreground. As usual, Cowan's has assembled a stunning array of both hard and paper images relating to this conflict. Both the north and south are well represented in tintype, ambrotype and cdv format. For larger paper image collectors, an archive of nine oval albumen images showing the activities of the First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery at Battery Rodgers outside of Washington, D.C. and a group of large images of the 50th New York Engineers building a pontoon bridge are especially compelling.

You can reach Wes Cowan by phone at 1-513-871-1670 and by email at info@historicamericana.com . Phones can still be reserved for the sale and you can bid on line at eBay Live Bid. You can visit the company's website at: http://www.historicamericana.com or go to http://216.23.34.58/public/lot_sale_view_frame.asp?sale_id=39 to see the full online catalogue for the sale.

One tip: Wes does not include all of the photography in the sale in the photography category (!), so if you do "Browse the Auction by Category" area, please realize that you need to check out other categories, such as "Civil War", "Wild West Shows" and "Western America", besides the "Early Photography" section to see more of it. In fact the full-plate daguerreotype of San Francisco is under "Western America".

"a Century of Fine Photographs: 1840s-1940s" Now Online

The online version of "A Century of Fine Photographs: 1840s-1940s--The Alex Novak Collection" sale has gone up on the Phillips de Pury website at http://www1.icollector.com/catalogs/view_catalog_noframes.cfm?catalogid=3431&cl=Upcoming . Because this URL is so long, it may break in transmission and you may have to cut and paste it together. Or you will also be able to go to that site by simply clicking on the banner ads for this auction on the iphotocentral website or on the logo in the calendar listing of the event on iphotocentral.

To order the printed catalogue and to leave bids, you should call the photography department at 1-212-940-1245. The catalogue is likely to become a highly sought-after collectible in short supply.

Phillips headquarters is at 450 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011. The preview times for the auction are April 15-21, Thursday-Wednesday, from 10 am-5 pm. Part I of the auction itself will be held Thursday evening, April 22, starting at 7 pm; Part II will be held the following morning Friday, April 23, beginning at 10 am.

Swanns Auction On May 20th

Swann Auction Galleries' Thursday, May 20 sale of Photographic Literature & Photographs will offer classic publications such as Camera Work, Steichen Supplement, 1906 (estimate $7000/8000); Coburn's Men of Mark, 1913, and Hosoe's Killed by Roses, 1963 (each $4000/6000); and Frank's The Lines of My Hands, 1972 ($3000/4000).

The sale features a rare Carleton Watkins album Yo-Semite Valley: Photographic Views of the Falls and Valley of Yo-Semite in Mariposa County, California, with 51 albumen photographs, 1863 that you may have seen on a segment of the Antiques Roadshow visit to Charlotte, NC.

Another western highlight is a portrait of the Wild Bunch by John Swartz, circa 1900 ($50,000/75,000). There is also a period Civil War album with 97 crisp carte-de-visite portraits ($12,000/18,000).

Classic 20th-century works range from Charles Sheeler's photograph of his painting View of New York, 1930s ($7000/10,000) to Ansel Adams's Grand Tetons and Snake River, Wyoming, 1942/printed 1970s ($18,000/ 22,000) to an Avedon portrait of Judy Garland, 1951 ($12,000/18,000).

Also of note is a rare suite of three installation photographs of Kazimir Malevich's retrospective exhibition in Berlin, 1927 ($15,000/25,000).

Contemporary works include Bernd & Hilla Becher's Industrial Facades, with 12 silver prints, 1978 ($20,000/25,000) and Larry Clark's Teenage Lust, with 81 photographs, 1981 ($20,000/25,000).

The preview will be held from 5/15, Saturday, 10am-4pm; 5/17, Monday-5/19, Wednesday, 10am-6pm. The actual auction hours are on Thursday, 5/20 at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm.

Swann Auction Galleries is at 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY, 10010; phone: 1-212-254-4710 ext. 29; email: dkaplan@swanngalleries.com .

Bonhams & Butterfields Holds Sale On April 19

Bonhams & Butterfields is having its Fine Photography sale on Monday, April 19th at 3pm. There are more than 200 lots in the sale.

Highlights include an Edward Curtis, "The North America Indian", volumes 16 &17 of approximately 145 small-format photogravures (estimate $17,000-19,000). Diane Arbus's prints are expected to do well, particularly "Russian Midget Friends in Living Room on 100th St. N.Y.C." ($3,000-5,000) and Untitled (3), 1970 ($3,000-5,000). The three Harry Callahan's--"Eleanor (Silhouette)" ($2,000-3,000), "Chicago" ($1,000-1,500), and "Eleanor, Port Huron" ($3,000-4,000)--have had good interest according to the auctioneers.

The always-popular bromoil transfer print by Prof. Rudolf Koppitz, "Bewegungsstudie (Movement Study)", 1926 is estimated at ($40,000-60,000). This print has been in the same Bay Area family, who were avid art collectors, since the beginning of the 20th century. It may have been purchased during the time when Koppitz--along with other European photographs--had their work included in several exhibitions held at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco in 1926 and 1927.

There are a number of nude photographs in the sale particularly by Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, and Brett Weston. Some of the more provocative images are Andres Serrano's cibachrome print, "Budapest (Prostitute and Client)", 1994 ($5,000-7,000) and Robert Mapplethorpe's "Self-Portrait" from the X Portfolio ($3,000-4,000). The sale ends with a portfolio of 15 prints of Baja California by Brett Weston ($8,000-12,000) and a splashy dye-destruction print by Sandy Skoglund, Fox Games ($12,000-18,000).

Bonhams & Butterfields is located at 220 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco, CA, phone: 415-503-3259. The preview is from April 16-18, Friday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm; and the auction (Session II - Fine Photographs) will be held on April 19, Monday, starting at 3 pm. For further information email: judith.eurich@bonhams.com .

To view the catalogue online, go to: http://www.butterfields.com/areas/prints/7525k/FinePhotographs1.htm .

New Photography Books

By Matt Damsker

NINETEENTH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHIC CASES AND WALL FRAMES.

SECOND EDITION. By Paul K. Berg. Published by Paul K. Berg; 2003. Library of Congress Catalog Control No. 2002096025; ISBN No. 0-9659670-1-8. 584 pages. For pricing and purchase information, contact Paul K. Berg, P.O. Box 8895, Newport Beach, CA 92660 USA; email: paulkb@cox.net . Suggested Price: $85.

Ever since his retirement from the practice of radiology, California's Paul K. Berg has spent the better part of three decades researching and codifying previously hard-to-find information on 19th-century thermoplastic and non-thermoplastic photography cases and wall frames. Fortunately for collectors, the good doctor's singular pursuit paid off with the 1995 publication of this book's first edition.

Not surprisingly, the second edition is more than a superficial update; it qualifies as a major revision, not only via the addition of hundreds of new case illustrations, but also due to its enhanced features. Most notably, Berg has introduced a beautifully printed, glossy, eight-page full-color section. In it, he vividly reproduces examples that span the 19th century, providing a superb cross-section of cases and frames in all their deeply hued, finely filigreed and imaginatively graphic glory. Obviously, there's a huge difference to viewing an essentially gray-and-gray photograph of say a hand-painted, papier mache and mother-of-pearl case and being able to see its richness and texture in full color.

That enhancement alone would be worth the price of Berg's new edition, but there is much more. This time, Berg provides a helpful new flow chart that upgrades the collector's efficiency in locating cases and frames of specific materials, shapes, designs, and themes. He also delves into the history of the miniature case, the arcana of Union case hinges, and the derivations of thermoplastic case design. And where the first edition prefaced the main body of the book with not much more than a list of case manufacturers, the second edition offers detailed reference material about case sizes, along with summaries of the various case manufacturing companies, die sinkers and engravers, and patents related to miniature cases.

In addition, there is a revised price guide, which should prove invaluable to collectors venturing into this specialized realm. Berg's attention to the rarity factor and the pricing of the cases and frames he surveys is clearly a matter of great expertise. He also cautions collectors: "Rarity should not be directly equated on an equivalent basis with price. Price is based on supply vs. demand, condition, and rarity. Prices may vary by regions and obviously are adjusted by a dealer's buying price and expectations...The impact of computer bidding (Ebay in particular) has impacted prices considerably since 2000. Many cases now appear on this web site and prices of the more common cases have declined noticeably."

Indeed, Berg's case reference numbers are probably the most quoted by dealers and sellers on Ebay and elsewhere on the Internet, while many auction houses, such as Sotheby's, have relied on "Nineteenth Century Photographic Cases and Wall Frames" as a key reference. With the publication of this earnestly researched and impressively expanded second edition, Berg's stature as an important contributor to the art and science of photography collection seems assured.

HERE AND THERE AT ONCE: AN IMAGINATIVE JOURNEY

THROUGH LIFE, DEATH, AND HOPE.

By Lee Conaway Addis. Published by Via Press; 2003. Library of Congress Control No. 2002117686; ISBN No. 1-885001-16-9. 120 pages; 98 black-and-white reproductions. Purchase information: Via Press, 3033 East Turney Ave., Phoenix AZ 85016; 1-800-284-2669; or Lee Conaway Addis, P.O. Box 1000, Cottonwood AZ 86326; 1-928-634-9670; www.leeaddis.com . Price: US $50.

Arizona-based photographer Lee Conaway Addis may be a bit of an eccentric, new-age mystic, but his images have all the old-fashioned, decisive-moment bite and balance of the best black-and-white documentarianism. Addis began taking pictures, credibly enough, back in 1956, as an 18-year-old Air Force recruit with a newly purchased Agfa Super Solinette 35mm folding rangefinder.

By 1991, he had moved up to a Leica M-4 rangefinder with a Summilux 1.4 fast lens. Now, his peripatetic lifestyle--which takes him all over the rural U.S., Mexico, India, Ireland, and eastern Europe--results in a portfolio of arresting gelatin-silver prints, all of them naturalistic and shot in available light with high-speed film. To appreciate his art, you do not have to embrace his philosophical point of view, which invokes the theory of quantum mechanics to suggest that two of anything "could mysteriously occur simultaneously in different places at once." (And it is hard to know how seriously he is when he affirms that he and all of his "found images" are due to be transported, "at many times the speed of light," from Earth to a planet 7,200 light-years away.)

"Here and There at Once", with its portentous subtitle about life, death and hope, is nonetheless a rather breezy, handsomely bound collection--its images crisply reproduced on fine paper stock. Addis often labors in the realm of the snapshot, but he knows precisely when to snap, resulting in images that crackle with the energy of life, as in a photo of passengers crammed onto a bus in Mexico. From the sleepy man with his eyes closed in one corner to the watchful toddlers on the other to the scowling teen in the center of the frame, an entire working-class culture seems on display.

By comparison, an image of an open, empty crypt with the photographer's shadow looming above it seems all too staged, yet the composition has a haunted edginess to it all the same. Images of beautiful, smiling, raggedly dressed children in Romania exude hope and Inner Light, while a toothless, emaciated old man in a hospital bed somewhere in the U.S. stares gamely at us, his deep, dark eyes far from death. With its background of folded white bed linen, it is a photo worthy of Richard Avedon.

Shot from directly above, a photo of a beggar curled on a cobblestone street in Mexico is rich with texture and information--the man's rumpled clothing, his torn hat, the church leaflet in his hand, the weathered details of the ground and an almost unnoticeable scrap of newspaper in the lower right corner. Through all this, the man's alert profile activates the image.

If Addis spends a bit too much of his film on static shots of graves, shrines and road signs, he more than makes up for it whenever he captures the human or animal form in its endless variety. Crying children are comical and poignant all at once; laughing donkeys and bony black dogs on the streets of Mexico are like cartoons come to startling life; a naked Hindu strolling past bicyclists and moped riders somewhere in India is a matter-of-fact echo of Adam in the Garden. Deeply compassionate and endlessly curious, Lee Conaway Addis has a great talent for making us see the world freshly through his eyes.


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.)

Edward Curtis Shows On Exhibit in Europe

Parts of I Photo Central member Christopher Cardozo's important collection of Edward Curtis images is traveling to several European institutions in two different shows.

The first show, entitled "Sacred Legacy, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian" after Cardozo's new book of the same name, is currently on exhibit at the Palazzo Magnani, Corso Garibaldi, 29, Reggio Emilia, Italy 42100. The Palazzo Magnani's website with map and directions is at www.palazzomagnani.it . The exhibit runs from April 15 to June 30, 2004.

The second exhibition, entitled "Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Selections from the Collection of Christopher Cardozo", is traveling extensively through Spain.

The venues for this second show include: Centro Cultural Gaya Nuño, Plaza de San Esteban, 2, 42002 Soria, Spain, from April 7 to May 23, 2004; Museo de América, Reyes Católicos, 6, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain, June 17 to September 5, 2004; Sala De Exposiciones De Caja Duero, Palacio De Garcigrande, Pza. de los Bandos, sn, 37002 Salamanca, Spain, October 1 to November 7, 2004; Centro Cultural Capitol, Calle Sancti Spiritu, sn, Cáceres, Spain, November 11 to December 19, 2004.

Special Spring Clearance Sale Continues On I Photo Central; Hundreds of New Images Posted

You can now see a Special Spring Clearance sale on I Photo Central brought to you by our photography dealers. These items are available at special sale prices (from 20 to over 60% off the regular list price) for only a limited time, from now until only June 21st. Many of the items regular list prices were reduced earlier by over 20%, so the actual net reductions may be well over 40% to 80% in many instances. These are all final prices, so no other discounts apply. Shipping/insurance may also be added. After June 21st prices will revert on these items to the original list price.

There are some great deals, so check them out soon at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/sale/sale.php .

If you want to do further sorts on the sale list, you can go to the Search Images page at http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/search.php and put SpringClearanceSale2 into the key word field. Then you can also use the other search fields, such as price range, country, etc. When you have all your choices made, simply hit the Search button (not the Show All Images button). When you put in the key word, you must have the capital letters in properly and no space between the words or the number "1". Also make sure you do not have any extra space after the key word. This way if you are bargain hunting, you can put in a range from $1 to $500, or if you want to focus on the top end, just put in a range from $1,000 (or $2,500 or $5,000) to No Limit.

Our dealers have posted up nearly 100 new images in the last month--many for the Spring Clearance Sale, so if you have not checked in the last few days, you have not seen everything. I will personally be posting up over a hundred new photographs on Monday, so be sure to check the site then.