Archive for April, 2009

Photographs — an investment?

Posted in Opinion on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Window Washers,Chase  Manhattan  Bank, NYC 1960's

Am I crazy?  Am I really suggesting photographs as an investment? .  I am talking about the work that Christie’s and Sothebys  photo experts love, but won’t offer for sale because they don’t meet their  financial  minimums.  The word nurture is not in their vocabulary. Elaine made an important observation. She knows about the ups and downs of the photography market. She has experienced it with me for over 50 years. Never try to paraphrase a writer, but this is roughly what she pointed out .

Now that the interest rates have lowered lower than a bass in Don Giovanni, an investment in an under $5000 photograph can give you a seriously excellent work. The hunt will  open the doors of photographic history which is always fascinating. These  prints will increase in value over the years..not in a crazy way of some of the  conceptual  contemporary work, but in a steady and realistic way.  I know., I live off the proceeds of my print sales.

There is one very large difference about this type of investment..it can bring you pleasure every day.  You can look at it in the morning; you can look at it at night; you can share the pleasure with your loved ones and friends. If it is  properly  prepared  and displayed it will last  longer than anyone now with their feet on the ground.

A good photographic gallery is the best place to get up close to this work…the actual print. The gallery people are surprisingly helpful with information about the history and era of the prints they show you. They will give you the same attention even with a modestly priced print. They want to cultivate people’s interest in photography.

A   first step  is to view the images  online. It has never been easier during the history of photography. My website is now approaching viewers from 50 countries. These viewers have the opportunity to be interested in my work… or not.  It would be boring if everyone liked the same genre. I am just happy they see the work. That is a first step. It is not the same as looking at an actual print.   You can look at a digital print: you can look into a silver gelatin print.

Try it, I think you will like it.

Have to stop now. I am washing the first prints of “Three Guys, Manhattan 2009” and they need me.

george


Sign here

Posted in Opinion on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

When I first started exhibiting my photographs I thought it odd that the galleries wanted prints signed on the back, but not on  the front . Evidently  this was the custom in exhibiting photographs.

Then I saw  some wonderful  Lartigue prints with his distinctive  graphic signature on the front, and realized that  it anchored the work. Now I do sign mine front and back. (Front in permanent ink; back in pencil) . It’s not a matter of ego; it’s a matter of authorship. You would not see a short story published without the author’s name below the title; you would not see a painting without the artist’s signature somewhere on the canvas.  At one time I thought that the signature would be a distraction from the work; now I think it adds substance, zimbel-signature not visual but historical. The image is always primary.

Today the issue has raised it’s pointed head again. I received a beautiful book which included one of my photographs “ Courtesy of…”   I was very pleased with the reproduction and placement until I realized that the title and my name were nowhere to be  found near the picture…A voice in my head said ” Go to the back of the book” ; another voice  said “Go to the back of the bus”. Sure enough, there were all the credits, I found myself flipping pages back  and forth in order to find out who shot what. A frustrating experience. It shouldn’t happen that way.

To quote my old friend  Jack MacAndrew of Prince Edward Island, “that’s the view from here”…..george


A letter to a collector

Posted in Opinion on Friday, April 17th, 2009

Fiction Dept 1960's {Vintage}Hello ****
When I was in NYC recently for the AIPAD meeting, I went to a workshop presented by The Center for the Legacy of Photography [George Eastman House].

It was titled “What makes a photographic print a masterpiece?” There were some very distinguished curators on the panel, and when all was said and done it had to do with the particular person’s love for a particular image. It didn’t matter if there were processing problems, even some stains. You could tell they really loved the particular photograph they were describing.

I realised that we have become intimidated by the word “pristine” …never my favorite. So, when I got back to Montreal I started to look at some of my battered vintage prints , most of them negativeless due to my fire in 1966. One I thought you would like to see is “Fiction Department 1960’s” and I am sending you a direct scan.

I seem to be busier than ever, even though I am mindful of the wreckage of the financial system..there are some advantages to not being a “high ender.”

Hope you are well and enjoying the new grass in Central Park.

Sincerely,

george


My photographic home

Posted in Opinion on Monday, April 6th, 2009

three-guys

New York City is my photographic home. That started in 1947.   The urban energy  makes my shutter finger twitch, the light is made for black & white, the people are made for a documentary photographer..enough text.

I made the photograph “Three Guys, Manhattan 2009 “ last week while in town for AIPAD…..george


New York Light is dimmer -Helen Levitt dies at 95

Posted in Opinion on Friday, April 3rd, 2009

helen-levitt.jpg

Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

I NEVER MET HELEN LEVITT, BUT I HAVE BEEN ON THE SAME PAGE AS HER, BOTH  PHILOSOPHICALLY AND IN BOOKS.

SHE KNEW THAT THE RICH STREETS OF NEW YORK WOULD KEEP HER BUSY FOR AS LONG AS SHE KEPT PHOTOGRAPHING, AND SHE KEPT PHOTOGRAPHING FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

SHE’S GONE, BUT SHE IS NOT GONE…THE LEGACY OF AN ARTIST.

george


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