Sotheby’s Classic Photograph Auction

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Jan 21, 2006
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Years ago visited the Gallery for Fine photography in New Orleans. Would say that 90% of the images at Sothebys were hanging on the walls plus many more by Helmut Newton and Jock Sturgess. Adams moonrise at the time was selling for 15K. Don't know if the gallery is still around ( believe it was on Royal street just down from the Blue Dog Gallery) but it's well worth an hour of your time examining the actual prints. When there, I picked up a couple of monographs from Newton and Gibson.
 

Butlerkid

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Didn't see anything that impressive. I think these images were breaking expectations in their time, but not in mine. Even priced in the $XXX's, my money would stay in my pocket. Guess that says more about me and my lack of appreciation of someone else's definition of "historical" photographs.
 
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Jan 21, 2006
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If I had the funds there are a number of images that I would love to acquire. Use to spend most of my Saturday mornings visiting the photography galleries around town and was fortunate to see Elton Johns Photography Collection while he was here in Atlanta. It’s was considered to be one of the largest private collection in the world with over 7000 images . Believe that he recently donated his collection to the Londons Victoria and Albert Museum.
 
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I would wager that there are a lot more people participating at Nikon Cafe that appreciate old cars than appreciate old photographs. That explains in my mind why most people wouldn't give those photos a second look. Many of them are history-making photos and many of them are fabulous even though they aren't history-making.

Ignore the price the market is willing to pay for the photos; the price of a particular photo has nothing to do with whether the photo speaks to you. Photos made by people no longer alive tend to increase faster than those made by people still alive hopefully for obvious reasons even though the photo doesn't get better (or worse) over time. High prices of old photos are also driven by investors hoping to buy a photo today and sell it for a higher price in the future.

If you pay attention to the aesthetics of the photos and the technical capabilities and limitations at the time they were made, you might be able to appreciate them more. Also consider paying attention to what you can learn about your own photography by studying the photos being offered at that auction.
 
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Jun 19, 2007
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Summerville, South Carolina, USA
I was able to see a large showing of Ansel Adams prints at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Maybe a couple of dozen images. The smallest print was 16x20 inches. This was in a time when they actually put some light on them, so that you could see them! I could also get in close for a good inspection of the images. For me, it was inspiring. Nothing like seeing them online, or in a book.

If I had the money, I would be a collector.
 
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Nov 7, 2017
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Why does seeing the prices on Eggleston's always annoy me? I'm totally fine with the market deciding what a painting or a left-handed pitcher or a classic car or front-row concert tickets or a photo is worth, but that tricycle gets me every time. :)
 
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Nov 7, 2017
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I've loved that image because of how the tricycle frames the background ever since I first saw it decades ago. I've never seen another one like it.
That's really interesting to me Mike. I've seen some of your threads, where you walk us through the BTS of how you imagine and then execute a shot. I'm not saying your photos should be pulling in six figures, :), but I can't understand how someone with your skill and eye/imagination looks at the framing in that photo and finds it to be exceptional. May very well be my lack of 'an eye', which I can accept.

I've stared at that tricycle more than a few times in the past, and when I posted the other day, and again now. I just don't get it. And that'll have to be OK.

Art appreciation is about an emotional reaction to me that I can't very well describe. Moonrise rings that bell every time, for example.
 
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Art appreciation is about an emotional reaction to me that I can't very well describe.
The only way I can describe that reaction is that I know something is art for me if it moves me and I know that it's not art for me if it doesn't move me. Unlike so many of the artists, the critics and the curators that understandably depend at least somewhat on others agreeing with them, I really don't care if the rest of the planet agrees or disagrees with me about a particular work.
 

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