Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Rosa Parks, Selma March, 1965

Steve Schapiro: Rosa Parks, Montgomery, 1965

December 1, 1955 - The birth of the modern American civil rights movement occurred as Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of a municipal bus. Her arrest resulted in a year-long boycott of the city bus system by African Americans and led to legal actions ending racial segregation on municipal buses throughout the South. Her quiet courageous act changed America, its view of black people and redirected the course of history.

"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free. "

- Rosa Parks

After her arrest, Parks she called local labor organizer E. D. Nixon to bail her out. The next day, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, more than 40 other black ministers and a white minister named the Rev. Robert Graetz formed the Montgomery Improvement Association. They organized the bus boycott that began on Dec. 5 and lasted until December 20, 1956, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling integrated the public transportation system.

More: Official website of Rosa Parks

Monday, November 29, 2010


Earlier this month, we posted our thoughts on the record Fall art auctions, and the corresponding "bargains" for photography by comparison.  Two articles on the photography market have recently been published that are worth noting.

Artprice.com states "Strong demand and an abundant offer: having earned a legitimate place in the history of art, photography has become a dynamic medium with a rapidly maturing and increasingly demanding market. Today the photography medium accounts for 7% of total global auction revenue generated from contemporary art and its auction revenue total has grown 1,300% since the end of the 1990s (+1,270% between 1998 and 2008) in a market traditionally dominated by painting, sculpture and drawing."

Read the full article here.
The Financial Times has a very informative article in today's edition, which has already been posted on several photography sites today. In case you missed it, we have it posted below.

By Francis Hodgson
©The Financial Times

Richard Avedon’s “Dovima with Elephants”

When a photograph sells at auction for $1m, the market can surely be considered healthy. The oversize print of Richard Avedon's "Dovima with Elephants", which made €841,000 ($1.12m) at Christie's in Paris last Saturday, was just one of 13 prints in that sale to achieve more than €100,000 (all prices quoted include premium). And the event achieved the still-rare accolade of being a "white-glove sale", one in which every lot finds a buyer.

This came only a matter of days after Andreas Gursky's "Frankfurt" made more than $2m in the contemporary art sales at Sotheby's in New York. It was the second Gursky to top $2m this year, following his "Pyongyang IV", which well exceeded its estimate to reach £1,329,250 in the equivalent sales at Sotheby's in London.

All this gives a pretty clear indication of a market suffering no stress at the top end. High-ticket photographs of the type so often described as "iconic" are continuing to do well, and prices are well on the way to surpassing their pre-recession levels for these items. Such photographs have become strongly branded decorative objects, safe to display in corporate buildings while still retaining a hint of daring.

It was reassuring in that context to see that Christie's did well enough with its October 7 sale in New York devoted to Joseph-Philibert Giraud de Prangey, a connoisseur's daguerreotypist, a brilliant 19th-century pioneer but undeniably obscure. Even the largest daguerreotype is tiny by the showy standards of the giant prints of today; they look fantastic but you can't exactly identify them from across an atrium. Heartening to see that such difficult objects to exhibit can still find good buyers, and the sale's total proceeds of approximately $3m showed a growing awareness of the importance of good early photographs.

The range of general photographic sales, with their more modest prices and less fierce levels of competition between high rollers, remain the domain of specialist collectors; they are still to recover pre-recession confidence levels and there are certainly bargains to be had in the general sector.

A couple of tendencies to note: the Avedon image (a 1955 fashion shoot displaying a Dior dress, and now bought by Dior) echoes a strengthening market for pictures from the magazine world. Philippe Garner of Christie's has nurtured the Gert Elfering collection, over several sales and several years, for example, which has resulted in something above $10m in sales. The most recent auction in the series, this summer, sold 67 prints by the late Jean-Loup Sieff, a magazine photographer if ever there was one, hitherto barely noticed by the market.

A continuing trend is the presence of great photography across different saleroom sectors – the record for Cindy Sherman, for instance, was broken not at a sale devoted to photographs but at Philips' contemporary art sale, also in early November, with her "Untitled #153" (1985) achieving $2,770,500.

Photographs appear in books, too. The saleroom habitat of specialist dealers in photographic books has traditionally been Swann's. But Christie's photobook sales in London now seem a regular fixture in the calendar, and Sotheby's London book department continues to host a remarkable number of interesting early photographic books. Let the buyer beware, certainly. But let the buyer also have a good time. Photographs are never out of season.

See our Art Price Index for photography 1985-2010


Monroe Gallery of Photography is pleased to premiere Stephen Wilkes' "Central Park, Day Into Night"; the latest in his new series of Day Into Night photographs. The just-opened exhibition of  photographs with a winter theme or setting, "'Tis The Season", features a 22 x 34 print of the image, and Monroe Gallery will debut a spectacular 34 x 54 print size at Photo LA January 3 - 16.

    Central Park, Day Into Night, 2010

The current issue of Venu Magazine has an extensive and wide-ranging interview with Stephen Wilkes.

"'Sometimes I do get to places,' once remarked Ansel Adams 'when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.' That person for our time - who thinks, feels, and "clicks" Ellis Island, the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina, Eric Clapton, Ruth Madoff, Carlos Santana, or day transferring into night in New York - is Stephen Wilkes".

To read the full article and interview, follow this link and scroll to pages 42 - 51.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


As December looms, some of the art-world action heads to Miami, Florida. Art Basel Miami Beach takes place December 2 - 5, 2010.

Below is the official press release. And, here a link to a related article from the New York Times that calls the Fair "that bacchanal disguised as the Western Hemisphere’s most prestigious art fair".

"Art Basel Miami Beach is the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas. As the sister event of Switzerland's Art Basel, the most prestigious art show worldwide for the past 41 years, Art Basel Miami Beach combines an international selection of top galleries with an exciting program of special exhibitions, parties and crossover events featuring music, film, architecture and design. Exhibition sites are located in the city's beautiful Art Deco District, within walking distance of the beach and many hotels.

An exclusive selection of more than 250 leading art galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa will exhibit 20th and 21st century artworks by over 2,000 artists. The exhibiting galleries are among the world's most respected art dealers, offering exceptional pieces by both renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers. Special exhibition sections feature young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art. The show will be a vital source for art lovers, allowing them to both discover new developments in contemporary art and experience rare museum-calibre artworks.

Top-quality exhibitions in the museums of South Florida and special programs for art collectors and curators also help make the event a special time for encountering art. And every year, a greater number of art collectors, artists, dealers, curators, critics and art enthusiasts from around the world participate in Art Basel Miami Beach - the favorite winter meeting place for the international art world."

Concurrent with Art Basel Miami Beach is Art Miami: "Known as Miami’s premiere anchor fair, Art Miami kicks off the opening day of Art Week — the first week of December when thousands of collectors, dealers, curators, and artists descend upon Miami to experience the string of contemporary and high-energy fairs that the city is known for. Distinguished for its depth, diversity and quality, Art Miami showcases the best in modern and contemporary art from 100 international art galleries and prominent art institutions."

Both Fairs include photography, and there are also several photography exhibits taking place throughout Miami during the run of the fairs. We'll be posting noteworthy developments on our Twitter feed.

Next: The 20th Anniversary Edition of Photo LA, January 13  - 16, 2011.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Evergreen Trees  at -51 Degrees Mt. Tremblant, Canada, 1944

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Evergreen Trees at -51 Degrees Mt. Tremblant, Canada, 1944

Please join us Friday, November 26, from 5-7 as we celebrate the opening of "'Tis The Season", an exhibition of 50 photograph with a winter theme or setting. The annual tree lighting on the Plaza, which kicks of the holiday season, will begin at 4 PM Friday with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Clause in the Fire Department;s antique truck. A choir will take the stage at 4:30, followed by local Girl Scouts singing favorite holiday songs from 5:15 to 5:45. Mayor David Coss will flip the switch on the Plaza holiday lights at 6. Santa Fe's Sol Fire closes out the evening with a concert ending at 7; and Girl Scouts will be selling cookies, hot chocolate, and hot cider. Monroe Gallery will be hosting a public reception and preview of the exhibition from 5 - 7 PM.

Christmas reflections, Boston, 1955

Verner Reed: Christmas Reflections, Boston, 1955

Santa Fe has receives a few recent dusting of snow, and this week the temperatures have plummeted, a perfect prelude to this exhibition. As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere and the days grow short, this exhibition looks to the beauty of ice and snow. Winter photography, especially in the colder parts of the world, is a specialized niche. Photographers have to take care of their cameras and guard against frostbite and hypothermia. They often venture into remote wilderness searching for the perfect winter landscape. Their reward is stunning imagery.

Red Coat

Stephen Wilkes: Central Park, February, 2010

"Another great show opens Fri 5-7PM @ Monroe Gallery Santa Fe - 50 photographs with a winter theme"

"'Tis The Seasnon is an aptly named exhibituion of more than 50 photographs, all with a winter theme." -- Santa Fe Reporter

Incident in a Snow Storm, New York, 1948

Weegee: Incident in a Snow Storm, New York, 1948

"Tis The season continues through January 30, 2011.

View the exhibit on-line here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Alfred Eisenstaedt: Old African American sharecropper Dave Alexander saying his evening prayers as he kneels at bedside at home, Mississippi, 1937

From Sarah Josepha Hale, "Editor's Table," Godey's Lady's Book, 1858


"All the blessings of the fields,

All the stores the garden yields

All the plenty summer pours,

Autumn's rich, o'erflowing stores,

Peace, prosperity and health,

Private bliss and public wealth,

Knowledge with its gladdening streams,

Pure religion's holier beams --

Lord, for these our souls shall raise

Grateful vows and solemn praise."

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Delta and Pine Company African American sharecropper Lonnie Fair and his family praying before having their meal. From an assignment for a test issue of Life magazine, 1936.

"We are most happy to agree with the large majority of the governors of the different States -- as shown in their unanimity of action for several past years, and which, we hope, will this year be adopted by all -- that the LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER shall be the DAY OF NATIONAL THANKSGIVING for the American people. Let this day, from this time forth, as long as our Banner of Stars floats on the breeze, be the grand THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY of our nation, when the noise and tumult of wordliness may be exchanged for the laugh of happy children, the glad greetings of family reunion, and the humble gratitude of the Christian heart. This truly American Festival falls, this year on the twenty fifth day of this month.

Let us consecrate the day to benevolence of action, by sending good gifts to the poor, and doing those deeds of charity that will, for one day, make every American home the place of plenty and of rejoicing. These seasons of refreshing are of inestimable advantage to the popular heart; and if rightly managed, will greatly aid and strengthen public harmony of feeling. Let the people of all the States and Territories sit down together to the "feast of fat things," and drink, in the sweet draught of joy and gratitude to the Divine giver of all our blessings, the pledge of renewed love to the Union, and to each other; and of peace and good-will to all men. Then the last Thursday in November will soon become the day of AMERICAN THANKSGIVING throughout the world."

Sarah J. Hale (1788-1879)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


There is a great FREE daily Photography newsletter that we highly recommend. Below is one excerpted article from La  Lettre de la Photographie.

Sign up for free here


 18.588 € Viviane Esders, Paris: Andréas Feininger, The Photojournalist (Denis Stock), New York, 1955

Viviane Esders opens the Photography Auction Season in Paris. Viviane Esders’ modern and contemporary photo auctions held at the Hotel Drouot on November 9 included 245 lots. Nearly half found buyers for a total of €310,047 (fees included) and more than 40 lots surpassed the high estimated price. The highest bidding took place for lot 91, Andréas Feininger’s Icone “The Photojournalist (Denis Stock)”, New York, 1955, which sold for €18,588. Lot 137, “Sifnos”, Greece, 1960, by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a vintage print estimated at €4,000 sold for €11,153. Lot 176, “Yves Saint Laurent’s Dress”, Vogue, Paris, 1970, by Jean-Loup Sieff, sold for €7,807 or Lot 179 “East 100th Street”, 1966, by Bruce Davidson, estimated at €2,000 – 3,000 sold for €9,294. Among the contemporary prints, was Lot 214, a 2005 self portrait by Kimiko Yoshida that sold for €15,490 or lot 226 “Naomi Campbell”, Vogue, USA, Los Angeles, 1990 by Peter Lindhberg, sold for €15,490. Catalogue www.viviane-esders.com or www.yannlemouel.com Viviane Esders’ next auction: " Picasso et ses amis" Étude Blanchet et Associés Hôtel Drouot Thursday December 9th at 2pm. Catalogue http://www.blanchet.auction.fr/

Several sales took place at “Paris Photo”, poor timing given the major exhibition openings taking place throughout Paris for the Photography Month. Among the most remarkable sales, that of Millon 1 Associés that took place on November 18 at 3pm in the hall of 3 Rossini Street. Several photographic collections from the XIXth and XXth centuries were on sale. Lot 19, “Cranes and Drills”, two hard-mounted albumin prints measuring 34.5 × 24.5 cm dated ca. 1870 and estimated at €600 – 800 sold for €5,000.

Two albumin prints by Eugène Atget “Paris, Place du Caire” and “Angle du boulevard de la Madeleine et de la rue Caumartin” was purchased for €13,500 (not including fees).

Furthermore, Christophe Goeury remarked that buyers were particularly interested in complete albums including “Indes et Ceylan” with 173 albumin prints by several photographers including Bourne that sold for €4,500 or that of Emile Gzell with 200 albumin prints from different countries in Asie that sold for €37,000. Or that by Guillaume Benjamin Duchenne (de Boulogne) on “Mechanism and Appearance of Human Passions” sold for €16,500 (fees excluded). Full results on http://www.millon-associes.com/

Following that of Million, the sale organized at Drouot Montaigne by Serge Plantureux, Binoche and Giquello on Thursday, 18 November, was themed “Chinese Prints, Looking East”. There was a remarkable interest for Alfred Laurens’ Saint Petersbourg album (lot 80) ca. 1870 comprised of 50 albumin prints. Estimated at €6,000 – 8,000, it sold for €62,000. Lot 98, an album by Konstantin Shapiro comprised of 30 albumin prints illustrating Gogol’s “Memoirs of a Madman” estimated at €3,000 – 3,500 sold for €20,000 fees excluded. Lot 146, “Study of a Nude, II”, Moscow, 1930, by Alexandre Grinberg, estimated at €3,000 – 3,500 sold for €22,000. Lot 204, Man Ray, “Mr. Seabrook’s Fantasies”, Paris, 1930, sold for €3,500. Lot 133, “Nude Study”, 1925, by Vladimir V. Lebedev, a vintage silver print estimated at €800 sold for €3,200. Results: http://www.binoche-renaud-giquello.com/

At its Parisian headquarters in the Charpentier Gallery, Sotheby’s Auction House reached a record-breaking figure for a photography sale totaling 2.704 million Euros ($3,671,722). There were also two record-breaking sales for photos by Joseph Sudelka and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Lot 89, Joseph Sudelka, Still Life (no title) ca. 1952, vintage print, estimated at €18,000-23,000, sold for €300,750 ($400,295) (fees included). Lot 88, another untitled vintage print by Joseph Sudek (vase and dead rose), also from 1952 sold for €228,750 ($310,549) (fees included). Lot 55, “Portrait of the Eternal” ca. 1935 by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, a silver vintage print estimated at €70,000 – 90,000, sold for €228,750 ($$310,549) (fees included). Lot 11, “Notre Dame de Paris, 1923” by Eugène Atget, a vintage albumin print estimated at €40,000 – 60,000 sold for €168,750 ($229,093) (fees included). Edward Weston’s series of nudes, some previously unseen, did not find a buyer at the estimated €50,000 – 68,5000 (without fees). Furthermore, Simone Klein, Director of the Photographic Department for Europe, emphasized the emergence of German photographer Heinz Hajek-Halke’s work of which 11 of the 12 works sold. The vintage print “Monumental Erotica” from 1928-1932 sold for three times its estimated value at €34,350 (fees included). Full Results on www.sothebys.com

The next day, the Christie’s auction at its Parisian base at 9 avenue Matignon offered 65 photographic items and a portfolio from the Richard Avedon Foundation. 65 were sold, generating a total of €5,467,250 fees included. With the highest price being attributed to lot 16, “Dovina with Elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, August 1955”. This signed exhibition print from 1978 (216.8cm x 166.7cm) originally estimated at €400,000 – 600,000 ($547,908 – 821,862) sold for €841,000 ($1,151,976) (fees included). The next major sale was “Andy Warhol and Group” from October 1969. Three unique signed, dated, and noted prints mounted on isorel estimated at €80,000 – 120,000 sold for €301,000 ($412,301). Then “Andy Warhold, artist, New York City, 20 August 1969”, silver print (150cm x 121.5cm) from 1993 estimated at €80,000 – 120,000 sold for €169,000 ($231,491) (fees included). Or “Stephanie Seymour, model, New York City”, a signed and numbered print from 1992 (155.2cm x 122cm) estimated at €120,000 – 180,000 sold for €265,000 ($362,989). There were also a few notable sales of Richard Avedon’s portfolio and album works during his career. “The Beatles Portfolio” from 1967 sold for €445,000, “Avedon Paris” for €169,000. The “Minneapolis Portfolio” (11 silver prints) edited in 1970 sold for €169,000 while “Family”, 1976, 69 prints made with Rolling Stone Magazine sold for €205,000 (fees included).

Finally on Sunday, November 21 at 2pm, Ader Nordmann auctioned off 338 lots of vintage, modern, and contemporary prints totaling €332,000 fees excluded. One sale confirming the enthusiasm for albums combining lots 57 and 58 in one album of 121 nudes on albumin paper dated 1890 and an album with prints and Japanese photographs reached €35,000 fees excluded. A sale that revived post-war humanistic photography with €6,500 (fees excluded) for a later print of Henri Cartier Bresson’s 1932 “Derrière la Gare St Lazare”. €1,900 for “Les Premières Neiges du Luxembourg” ca. 1955, an unsigned vintage print by Edouard Boubat (lot 201). Lot 230, “Regards d’acier”, a signed and dated vintage print by Josef Koudelka reached €5,000. Man Ray’s photogramme, lot 149, a photographic print from the movie “Fernand Leger, le ballet mecanique”, 1924, auctioned for €27,000. Or €5,700 for François Kollar’s “Fernande Kollar in the Mirror” (lot 148), a vintage color slide on a silver leaf background. A unique item measuring 25 × 20 cm dating back to 1955. And €12,000 for a 1975 silver print (30 × 40) “Silvana Mangano” by François-Marie Banier. Catalogue on http://www.ader-paris.fr/

For memory, the Piasa sale on Friday 19 November at 3pm in the hall 5 at the Hotel Drouot. Little interest was manifested for the 331 lots on auction, explaining why only 1/3 found buyers. Results on http://www.piasa.fr/

One more thing, Helmut Newton, “Domestic nude V: In my livingroom, Chateau Marmont, Hollywood, Los Angeles, 1992” has been sold for 225,850 € at Bukowskis, the swedish auction house in Stockholm on the 17th of november 2010.

Bernard Perrine, correspondant de l’Institut de France

Related: Thoughts On The Record Fall Auctions

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 1963: Death of the President

On the 6:25 from Grand Central to Stamford, CT, November 22, 1963
Carl Mydans: On the 6:25 from Grand Central to Stamford, CT, November 22, 1963

By the fall of 1963, President Kennedy and his political advisers were preparing for the next presidential campaign.

Senator John F. Kennedy Campaigning with his Wife in Boston (Time, Inc.)

Carl Mydans: Senator John F. Kennedy Campaigning with his Wife in Boston , 1958

Although he had not formally announced his candidacy, it was clear that JFK was going to run and he seemed confident—though not over-confident— about his chances for re-election.

At the end of September, the President traveled west speaking in nine different states in less than a week. While the trip was meant to put a spotlight on natural resources and conservation efforts, JFK also used it to sound out themes -- such as education, national security, and world peace -- for his run in 1964. In particular, he cited the achievement of a limited nuclear test ban, which the Senate had just approved and which was a potential issue in the upcoming election. The public’s enthusiastic response was encouraging.

A month later, the President addressed Democratic gatherings in Boston and Philadelphia. Then, on November 12, he held the first important political planning session for the upcoming election year. At the meeting, JFK stressed the importance of winning Florida and Texas and talked about his plans to visit both states in the next two weeks. Mrs. Kennedy would be accompanying him on the swing through Texas, which would be her first extended public appearance since the loss of their baby, Patrick, in August.

On November 21, the President and First Lady departed on Air Force One for the two-day, five-city tour of Texas. JFK was aware that a feud among party leaders in Texas could jeopardize his chances of carrying the state in 1964, and one of his aims for the trip was to bring Democrats together. He also knew that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt—particularly in Dallas, where UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after making a speech there. Nonetheless, JFK seemed to relish the prospect of leaving Washington, getting out among the people and into the political fray.

The first stop was San Antonio. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John B. Connally and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough led the welcoming party and accompanied the President to Brooks Air Force Base for the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center. Continuing on to Houston, he addressed a Latin American citizens’ organization and spoke at a testimonial dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas before ending the day in Fort Worth.

A light rain was falling on Friday morning, November 22, but a crowd of several thousand stood in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform had been set up and the President, wearing no protection against the weather, came out to make some brief remarks. “There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he began, “and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.” He went on to talk about the nation’s need for being “second to none” in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and “the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.” The warmth of the audience response was palpable as the President reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.

Back inside the hotel the President spoke at a breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, focusing on military preparedness. “We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom,” he said. “We will continue to do…our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.”

The presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands. The First Lady was presented with a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were already seated in the open convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining, the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another car in the motorcade.

The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Crowds of excited people lined the streets waving to the Kennedys as they waved back. The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza. Bullets struck the President’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The Governor was also hit in the chest.

The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away. But there was little that could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Governor Connolly, though seriously wounded, would recover.

The President’s body was brought to Love Field and placed on Air Force One. Before the plane took off, a grim-faced Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment and took the oath of office, administered by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Hughes. The brief ceremony took place at 2:38 p.m. Less than an hour earlier, police had arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a recently-hired employee at the Texas School Book Depository. He was being held for the assassination of President Kennedy as well as the fatal shooting, shortly afterward, of Patrolman J.D. Tippit on a Dallas street.

On Sunday morning, the 24th, Oswald was scheduled to be transferred from police headquarters to the county jail. Viewers across America watching the live TV coverage suddenly saw a man aim a pistol and fire at point blank range. The assailant was identified as Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner. Oswald died two hours later at Parkland Hospital.

That same day, President Kennedy’s flag-draped casket was moved from the White House to the Capitol on a caisson drawn by six grey horses, accompanied by one riderless black horse. The cortege and other ceremonial details were modeled on the funeral of Abraham Lincoln at Mrs. Kennedy’s request. Crowds lined Pennsylvania Avenue and many wept openly as the caisson passed. During the 21 hours that the President’s body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda, about 250,000 people filed by to pay their respects.

John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin, November 25, 1963 with Ted Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Peter Lawford, and Robert F. Kennedy in background.
Stan Stearns: John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin, November 25, 1963 with Ted Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Peter Lawford, and Robert F. Kennedy in background

On Monday, November 25, 1963 President Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral was attended by heads of state and representatives from more than 100 countries, with untold millions more watching on television. Afterward, an eternal flame was lit at the grave site by Mrs. Kennedy and her husband’s brothers, Robert and Edward. Perhaps the most indelible images of the day were the salute to his father given by little John F. Kennedy, Jr. (whose third birthday it was), daughter Caroline kneeling next to her mother at the President’s bier, and the extraordinary grace and dignity shown by Jacqueline Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy laid to rest, Arlington, 1963
Bob Gomel: John  F. Kennedy Laid to Rest, Arlington National Cemetery, November 25, 1963

As people throughout the nation and the world struggled to make sense of a senseless act and to articulate their feelings about President Kennedy’s life and legacy, many recalled these words from his inaugural address which had now acquired new meaning:

"All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Art Price Index 1: Photography 1985-2010

From the Financial Times:

"The mainstream of the photography market [central 80%] peaked in September 2008 then fell by 21% in the 18 months to March 2010. The top 10% of the market, where prices routinely climb steeply in good times, also peaked in September 2008, but by March 2010 this top sector had almost halved. All sectors of the market are now recovering fast and the long-term growth of 7% - 8% once again seems like a good bet."

More with charts here.

Related: Thoughts on the record fall auctions 

Friday, November 19, 2010


Eighty-Five years ago, on November 20, 1925, Robert F. Kennedy was born.

The Kennedy campaign travels through the Watts section of Los Angeles on the last day before the primary, 1968
Bill Eppridge: The Kennedy campaign travels through the Watts section of Los Angeles on the last day before the primary, 1968

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Capetown, June 6th 1966

Robert F. Kennedy Campaign, California, 1966
Steve Schapiro: Robert F. Kennedy Campaign, California, 1966

 "On this generation of Americans falls the full burden of providing the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity." (Speech, Law Day Exercises of the University of Georgetown Law School, May 6, 1961).

Bobby Kennedy campaigns in IN during May of 1968, with various aides and friends:  former prizefighter Tony Zale and (right of Kennedy) N.F.L. stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, and Deacon Jones
Bill Eppridge: Bobby Kennedy campaigns in IN during May of 1968, with various aides and friends: former prizefighter Tony Zale and (right of Kennedy) N.F.L. stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, and Deacon Jones
The Robert F. Kennedy Center

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851) and the Invention of Photography

On November 18, 1787 Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was born, and he would later create a process that would revolutionize the art world.

©Malcolm Daniel

Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On January 7, 1839, members of the French Académie des Sciences were shown products of an invention that would forever change the nature of visual representation: photography. The astonishingly precise pictures they saw were the work of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), a Romantic painter and printmaker most famous until then as the proprietor of the Diorama, a popular Parisian spectacle featuring theatrical painting and lighting effects. Each daguerreotype (as Daguerre dubbed his invention) was a one-of-a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper.

Daguerre's invention did not spring to life fully grown, although in 1839 it may have seemed that way. In fact, Daguerre had been searching since the mid-1820s for a means to capture the fleeting images he saw in his camera obscura, a draftsman's aid consisting of a wood box with a lens at one end that threw an image onto a frosted sheet of glass at the other. In 1829, he had formed a partnership with Nicéphore Niépce, who had been working on the same problem—how to make a permanent image using light and chemistry—and who had achieved primitive but real results as early as 1826. By the time Niépce died in 1833, the partners had yet to come up with a practical, reliable process.

Not until 1838 had Daguerre's continued experiments progressed to the point where he felt comfortable showing examples of the new medium to selected artists and scientists in the hope of lining up investors. François Arago, a noted astronomer and member of the French legislature, was among the new art's most enthusiastic admirers. He became Daguerre's champion in both the Académie des Sciences and the Chambre des Députés, securing the inventor a lifetime pension in exchange for the rights to his process. Only on August 19, 1839, was the revolutionary process explained, step by step, before a joint session of the Académie des Sciences and the Académie des Beaux-Arts, with an eager crowd of spectators spilling over into the courtyard outside.

The process revealed on that day seemed magical. Each daguerreotype is a remarkably detailed, one-of-a-kind photographic image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper, sensitized with iodine vapors, exposed in a large box camera, developed in mercury fumes, and stabilized (or fixed) with salt water or "hypo" (sodium thiosulphate). Although Daguerre was required to reveal, demonstrate, and publish detailed instructions for the process, he wisely retained the patent on the equipment necessary to practice the new art.

From the moment of its birth, photography had a dual character—as a medium of artistic expression and as a powerful scientific tool—and Daguerre promoted his invention on both fronts. Several of his earliest plates were still-life compositions of plaster casts after antique sculpture—an ideal subject since the white casts reflected light well, were immobile during long exposures, and lent, by association, the aura of "art" to pictures made by mechanical means. But he also photographed an arrangement of shells and fossils with the same deliberation, and used the medium for other scientific purposes as well. The journalist Hippolyte Gaucheraud, in a scoop that appeared the day before daguerreotypes were first shown to the Académie des Sciences, wrote of having been shown the image of a dead spider photographed through a solar microscope: "You could study its anatomy with or without a magnifying glass, as in nature; [there is] not a filament, not a duct, as tenuous as might be, that you cannot follow and examine." Even Arago, director of the Observatoire de Paris, was reportedly surprised by a daguerreian image of the moon.

Neither Daguerre's microscopic nor his telescopic daguerreotypes survive, for on March 8, 1839, the Diorama—and with it Daguerre's laboratory—burned to the ground, destroying the inventor's written records and the bulk of his early experimental works. In fact, fewer than twenty-five securely attributed photographs by Daguerre survive—a mere handful of still lifes, Parisian views, and portraits from the dawn of photography.

Source: Daguerre (1787–1851) and the Invention of Photography
Thematic Essay
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Related: The Daguerreian Society

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We reported on the numerous record-setting and exuberant sales in this Fall's art auctions on our Twitter feed, which scrolls on the right side of this page. Now that the dust has settled, the "experts" are trying to make sense of the extraordinary results.

The just-completed Contemporary sales totaled over $1 BILLION dollars in sales (with Andy Warhol accounting for over $200 million alone); the Impressionist/Modern sales about another half - BILLION; and almost as an afterthought a Qianlong-dynasty vase sold for $85.9 MILLION dollars.

The Fall photo auctions in New York brought in $16 million.

We are often asked, "what does the broader art market have to do with the photography market?". In our judgement, a lot. It wasn't long ago that the argument existed whether photography was "art" or not. At least we are beyond that phase!

Two observations:

Richard Prince’s “Marlboro Man" (Untitled, Cowboy), below, set a record for a photograph when it sold for $3,401,000 at Sotheby’s in New York in 2007. Prince’s “Cowboy” series consisted of old Marlboro cigarette print ads that he re-photographed. And the Marlboro man was based on a LIFE magazine cover of a photograph by Leonard McCombe of a real cowboy.

The $63.36 million realized on last Monday at Phillips, de Pury by Andy Warhol's “Men in Her Life?” was done in silk-screen technique: the dark black and white picture endlessly repeats a photographic image published in LIFE magazine on April 13, 1962.

The prices for the "masters" of photography are a fraction of the prices for the masters of art. 

Photography's impact, relevance, influence, and relationship to the broader fine art field is still in its infancy.

Monday, November 15, 2010


John Loengard: Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1967

Georgia O'Keeffe
Born on November 15, 1887

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe was a major figure in American art from the 1920s.

Georgia O'Keeffe visited Northern New Mexico in 1917 and fell in love with it then. But it was not until 1934 that she decided to make Ghost Ranch her summer home. She would spend her summers hiking, exploring and painting the area and in the winter go to New York. One summer she convinced the owner to sell her a small part of Ghost Ranch, which was a house and 7 acres. After her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, died, Georgia made Abiquiu (about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe) her permanent home.

Georgia O'Keeffe may be the most photographed artist in history, given the artistic ardor of her photographer husband, Alfred Stieglitz. Beautiful at every age and serene in the camera's gaze, on the occasion of Georgia O'Keeffe's 80th birthday in 1967 Life magazine dispatched photographer John Loengard to her home in New Mexico to document a day in the life of the pioneering American artist.

Georgia O'Keeffe died on March 6, 1986

Related: The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

               Image and Imagination: Georgia O'Keeffe by John Loengard

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Mick Rock Exposed: The Faces of Rock 'n' Roll

Mick Rock's photo career began with him sneaking his camera into rock shows; it ignited when he started shooting a practically unknown David Bowie in 1972 and then went on to document the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. Since then Mick's become a legend himself, shooting a who's who of rock, punk, and pop icons and capturing the images of stars right as they became part of the pop firmament. Exposed collects 200 of his best photos across nearly 40 years, including unforgettable images of Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Blondie, Queen, Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Killers, Lady Gaga, U2, and many more. Featuring a revealing introduction, narrative captions, and an illuminating foreword by playwright Tom Stoppard, Exposed is a gorgeous visual celebration for music fans.

Michael David Rock was born in west London and earned a scholarship to Cambridge where he studied modern languages, graduating in the late sixties. It was the expressive seduction of subversive poets of yore rather than finite imagery that encouraged Rock to explore his own creative expression. "I discovered the lives and works of the great Bohemian poets, like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Nerval. They were my heroes".

"London in the late sixties and early seventies was a hotbed of creative interchange. The prevalent hippie philosophy united all manner of artists, musicians, film makers, models, designers, actors, writers, and photographers into a unique and fertile community. My timing was excellent. Curiosity and circumstance drew me into the flame of rock ‘n’ roll." -- Mick Rock

Rock became intensely interested in the artists and performers at the cutting edge of their time who were not afraid to cross the line. This was the atmosphere in which Mick Rock began his collaborations with the artists of the new decade. The first band Rock photographed was the Pretty Things in 1969; soon he was photographing the likes of Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Queen, Roxy Music and Iggy Pop, emerging artists who would rapidly become international stars. “They were all special people to me. They weren’t “stars” when I first met them. To me, they were free spirited visionaries. I was in the right place at the right time, you can't plan that. That's just something you can't prescribe in life.”

He was soon traveling back and forth between London and New York, on tour with emerging artists such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop and capturing the music scene in all its decadent glory. Rock was instrumental in creating many key rock 'n' roll images of the time, such as Lou Reed's Transformer, Iggy Pop's Raw Power and Queen's Queen II, leading to his being called “The Man Who Shot The Seventies”.

In 1977, Rock moved permanently to New York, and quickly immersed himself in the burgeoning underground new wave scene, capturing the nihilistic spirit of the music of the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads. As rock and roll has evolved, Rock has continued to capture the essence of the fresh and new. Mick Rock has been instrumental in creating many key visual images of the last three decades. His photographs have been called as significant as Andy Warhol’s paintings in constructing the images we hold in our minds of the larger-than-life figures of our popular culture. Rock’s accomplishments extend beyond photography and include art direction, music video production and three Grammy nominations.

In recent years, Rock also has published several books, including A Photographic Record. Recently released is his retrospective of the Glam Rock scene titled Blood & Glitter; a retrospective of Syd Barrett photographs titled Psychedelic Renegades; Moonage Daydream, a co-collaboration with David Bowie of the Ziggy Stardust era; and Killer Queen, with a foreword written by Queen guitarist Brian May.

“Many years ago, I noted in my diary: ‘I am not in the business of documenting or revealing personalities. I am in the business of freezing shadows and bottling auras.’ I still like the sound of that” -- Mick Rock

Mick Rock's photographs have helped define the image of rock 'n' roll, and have been featured on numerous album covers and in solo exhibitions around the world. Monroe Gallery is pleased to represent Mick Rock's iconic photography, and was instrumental in his re-emergence in the late 1990's - organizing his first gallery exhibition in New York in 1997.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Just published by Taschen:

Steve Schapiro, Taxi Driver

You talking to me?

Blood and guns in post-Vietnam America

Taxi Driver has long been regarded as a cinematic milestone, and Robert DeNiro's portrait of a trigger-happy psychopath with a mohawk is widely believed to be one of the greatest performances ever filmed. Time magazine includes the film in its list of 100 Greatest Movies, saying: "The power of Scorsese's filmmaking grows ever more punishing with the passage of time."

Steve Schapiro—whose photographs were featured in TASCHEN's Godfather Family Album—was the special photographer on the set of Taxi Driver, capturing the film's most intense and violent moments from behind the scenes. This book—more than a film still book but a pure photo book on its own—features hundreds of unseen images selected from Schapiro's archives, painting a chilling portrait of a deranged gunman in the angry climate of the post-Vietnam era.

This edition is limited to 1,000 copies, numbered and signed by Steve Schapiro. Also available in two Art Editions of 100 copies each, with a signed and numbered original photographic print.

Steve Schapiro is a distinguished journalistic photographer whose pictures have graced the covers of Vanity Fair, Time, Sports Illustrated, Life, Look, Paris Match, and People, and are found in many museum collections. He has published four books of his work, American Edge, Schapiro's Heroes, The Godfather Family Album and Taxi Driver. In Hollywood he has worked on more than 200 motion pictures; his most famous film posters are for Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver, Parenthood, and The Godfather Part III.

Ordering information here.



On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected in the 44th American presidential election.

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson chatting with President-elect John Kennedy and his wife Jackie at the president's inaugural ball, Washington, DC, January 1961

On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Carl Mydans: On the 6:25 from Grand Central to Stamford, CT, November 22, 1963

On November 25, 1963, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin, November 25, 1963 with Ted Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, Peter Lawford, and Robert F. Kennedy in background

John F. Kennedy laid to rest, Arlington, 1963
Bob Gomel: John F. Kennedy laid to rest, Arlington, 1963

John F. Kennedy was the first American president to understand the power of the image and photography, and he also understood the opposite impact of the wrong image. As recounted in the book The John F. Kennedys: A Family Album (Rizzoli):

"John spend hours looking at photographs of himself and his family. That was neither narcissism nor pride to Jack Kennedy, but recognition of polities as a show of fleeting images. In the mostly black-and-white world of the early 1960s, the right picture in the right place duplicating itself forever was worth a great deal more than any thousand words. One enduring image, say a photograph of the young senator walking away from the camera through Hyannis Port dunes to the sea, might have the political impact of a small war. Selecting the right image at the right time was at the heart of winning the elusive twin goddesses the man pursued, power and history.

This photograph by Mark Shaw was said to have been John F. Kennedy's favorite photograph of himself

The man who would be president also understood the opposite impact of the wrong image. That same year, Life's sister magazine, Time, assigned one of its most talented young writers, Hugh Sidey, to write about Kennedy, to get to know him. On second meeting, Sidey and Kennedy were walking near the short subway that connects the U.S. Capitol with the Senate Office Building. They bumped, almost literally, into Kennedy's buddy Senator George Smathers of Florida, who was posing for a Senate photographer with a small claque of pretty young women from his state. All laughing, they pulled the handsome young senator from Massachusetts into the group and he smiled for the birdie.

Waving goodbye to the gigglers, Kennedy said to Sidey, "Get hold of that photographer and destroy the negative."

Sidey did it.

President Kennedy had learned the power of the image, of the visual, from his father, who was for a time a power in the movie business. Joseph P. Kennedy was the first, or among the first, to merge the creation and marketing of the celebrity trade, the tricks of public relations, to the business of politics and governing. With politics aforethought, the founding father had created an archive—still and moving pictures of his children—ready to be used to entice a nation into a cause in the same way they were pulled into movie theaters."

John Kennedy's campaign, presidency, and tragic assassination resulted in countless photographic images, many now considered to be iconic. In the mostly black-and-white world of the early 1960s, the right picture in the right place duplicating itself forever was worth a great deal more than any thousand words.

Related: 50 Years Ago: the Kennedy Nixon Debates

             Marilyn Monroe, Kennedys Recalled in White House Archive Sale

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marilyn Monroe, Kennedys Recalled in White House Archive Sale

By Katya Kazakina

©Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- An image of Marilyn Monroe in a skin-tight, pearl-encrusted dress flanked by President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, then U.S. attorney general, used to be kept in an envelope tagged “Sensitive material.”

Part of a lot estimated at $4,000 to $6,000, the photograph will be sold at Bonhams in New York as part of the 12,000-image archive of Cecil Stoughton, the first official White House photographer.

Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s election, the sale is expected to fetch as much as $250,000 on Dec. 9, 2010.

She is wearing an outrageous dress,” said Matthew Haley, historical photograph specialist at Bonhams, in a telephone interview. “We believe it’s the only picture where the three of them appear together.”

The actress, who died less than three months after the picture was taken, was romantically linked to both Kennedy brothers.

Kennedy was the first president to create an official position for a White House photographer.

Some images show Kennedy “playing golf, swimming, sailing, smoking cigars,” said Haley. “The next image would be of him addressing the Senate or the United Nations.”

Dark Day

The black-and-white Monroe photograph was taken on May 19, 1962, the day she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to Kennedy at the packed Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bill Ray: Marilyn Monroe Singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, Madison Square Garden, NY, 1962

Bill Ray: President John F. Kennedy at his birthday party after Marilyn Monroe Sang "Happy Birthday", Madison Square Garden, NY, 1962

Another print shows Kennedy and his children John Jr. and Caroline playing in the Oval Office. The black-and-white image bears an inscription: “For Captain Stoughton -- who captured beautifully a happy moment at the White House / John F. Kennedy.” The lot has an estimated range of $7,000 to $9,000.

In other pictures, the children are “making faces, playing or sitting at a conference table where you normally expect to see statesmen and ambassadors,” said Haley.

Stoughton was traveling in the motorcade on the day Kennedy was murdered in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. His documentation of the day includes the hospital where Kennedy was rushed.

Within hours of the assassination, Stoughton took a historic shot of Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony aboard Air Force One, with Jackie Kennedy, looking shell-shocked, by his side. The print’s estimated to take in $5,000 to $7,000.

“He didn’t even wait until he got to Washington to be sworn in,” said Haley. “Cecil was the only photographer present for the occasion.”

To contact the reporter of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at kkazakina@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Related: 48 Years Ago, Marilyn Monroe Sings "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy


Joe Rosenthal: Marines of the 28th Regiment of the 5th Division Raise the American Flag Atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, 1945

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

Eric Smith: Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC, 2006

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Ida Wyman: Welcome Home, Ernie, Brooklyn, 1945

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Related: Veteran's Day, 2009

Monday, November 8, 2010


Via Joe McNally's Blog

November 8, 2010
Joe McNally

Taught again this year at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops, as I usually do. I really enjoy my occasional visits to the Southwest. Over the last few years, I’ve regularly brought my classes to the Monroe Gallery, run by Sid and Michelle Monroe. Great people, and close friends. They are the real deal.

I am very determined about this (especially when I teach young shooters who’ve never had a whiff of dektol) as a way of acquainting folks with work that is really the shoulders upon which we all stand. Digital photo fever is at an all time high, which is a great thing. It’s just important to know where we came from.

And, I have to admit, there’s the curmudgeon in me who’s determined to avoid much of the rest of the chic, super heated bubble that constitutes the Santa Fe spa/art scene, which, at least occasionally, makes me chuckle. I mean, there are so many galleries on Canyon Road, and such a cacophony of art that it veers damn close to outright tragic. I’m sure this is my own demented imagination at work, but I can conjure a day for the cognoscenti down there beginning by putting down the lemon scented loofah, removing the cucumber slices from the eyelids, rinsing off the sea salt scrub laced with all natural oatmeal and tinged with the scent of free range apricots, and chugging through gallery after gallery. In those shops are mult-hued Kokopelli statues, intricately fashioned wind chimes, and fantastically bent pieces of metalwork, many of which, to me, look like the product of a welder having a seizure. It’s all okay. Art is many things to many people.

I prefer the simple white walls and the largely monochrome environment at Monroe. Their gallery is like an oasis of unflinching, heartfelt reality in the midst of the ephemeral, land of enchantment swirl. What hangs on those walls makes a connection. Some of it entertains the eye in a delightfully kinetic way. Other pictures stir memory, nostalgia, and an echo in your head and your heart. (Where was I when this happened?) Other images up there are like a punch in the gut.

What I truly believe about a powerful picture is that after viewing it, you are never the same. You have been changed, forever. You might not realize it at that moment, but you are. There’s been an interior, seismic shift in your emotional substrata. The plates tilted, just a little bit. These pictures linger, like a persistent thought. Or, like someone shouting to you in a rainstorm, it gets your attention, even if you can’t completely make out what it’s saying. Sometimes, they’re like a wound. Photographic scar tissue.

The Monroe’s concentrate their eye and their gallery on historically important photojournalism. Even a quick pass through one of their shows is like looking at your memory of the last 50 years, right there, in one place. Currently, they have a show of Carl Mydan’s work. Carl, a diminutive, gentlemanly sort, was a giant, and a tiger with a camera in his hands. Under that affable exterior was steel. How else could he have withstood the firestorm of ego and bluster that was General Douglas MacArthur to get the pictures that he did?

Also up this fall was the work of Bill Eppridge. (Very appropriate to look at Bill’s work during campaign season, and remember that once upon a time, images of politicians had some grit, and were the product not of “photo opps,” but of real access and relationships.)

Saw Bill at Photo East, still carrying a camera. Still crusty as ever. He’s earned the right to be crusty, I can tell you. He’s done it all, and his work remains a benchmark for all of us who have ever picked up a camera with serious intent.

I won’t make a history lesson out of this, but the story of the picture above, which was on the walls of Monroe, might not be so well known. What is well known is that Epp covered RFK’s run at the presidency, and grew close with the Senator. He was there in the hotel kitchen when he was gunned down, and made that awful, famous frame of the busboy cradling the Senator’s head as he lay dying. Given the dicey light, it was a thin negative.

The Time Life photo lab, now no more, was the stuff of legend. They pulled from this neg a master, elegant print and copied it. It was from this copy neg, derived from that one print, that many, many reproductions of that moment came.

When Bill’s tenure with LIFE ended, and the weekly mag folded, he was asked if he wanted the master. In the interests of storage space, they were taking 16×20 prints and cutting them down to 11×14’s, as hard as that may seem to believe. So of course, he said yes. They said, okay, where do we ship it? Bill said nowhere, and got on a plane. He took physical possession of this legendary print, but with a profound sense of ambivalence. The night of the assassination, he did his job, magnificently. But at that terrible moment, his job entailed photographing a man he had grown close to, dying in front of him. So the print did not go on his wall. He put it out of sight, behind his couch in Laurel Canyon, California home.

Wildfires came to the canyon, and destroyed almost everything in their path. Bill’s home burned to the ground, along with just about everything in it. Except the master print, charred, as you see it above.

Some pictures just stick with you. More tk….

©Joe McNally

Related: The Albuquerque Journal: Bill Eppridge: An Eye On The Times

The Historic Master Print of Robert F. Kennedy Shot

Joe McNally: Faces of Ground Zero

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Annual photography fair Paris Photo brings together, from November 18th to the 21st, one hundred international galleries and publishers presenting a panorama of the finest examples of photographic expression from the 19th century to the present day.

Paris Photo also turns the spotlight on the Central Europe scene, reveals new talents through awards and competitions and offers a rich programme of events and encounters.

The 14th Paris Photo edition coincides with the biennial “Mois de la Photo”, a month-long photographic event, turning the city into the photography capital of the world in November.

Related: The New York Times - "For November, Paris Is the City of Lenses"

Friday, November 5, 2010

JOE McNALLY: The LIFE Guide to Digital Photography

Time Home Entertainment Inc. recently announced the publication of The LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot like the Pros by Joe McNally. Just in time for the holidays, Joe McNally, one of LIFE's master shooters and the most recent in a long line of distinguished LIFE staff photographers, has prepared a fool-proof guide that covers tips of the trade; step-by-step instruction on focusing, lighting and composition; and features photos from his personal portfolio.

In The LIFE Guide to Digital Photography (256 pages; $29.95), McNally walks readers carefully through the dos and don'ts of shooting digital and concentrates on five fundamentals: light, the lens, design elements, color, and composition. He offers his expert advice on everything from shooting fireworks and family portraits, to telling a story with texture to choosing color or not — framing all discussions with his own personal experiences as a photographer.

Joe says: “The LIFE Guide is just that–a guide. It can take a newbie right from opening the box containing the new digital picture machine right through composition, light, lenses, and color.

I wrote this book for my alma mater, LIFE magazine. What a long strange trip photography is. I shot my first job for the magazine in 1984, and managed somehow to survive editor changes, shifts in format, style, and even the change of the physical size of the magazine to keep shooting for them right through the nineties. Just about 1995 they asked me to become their first staffer in 23 years, which also meant I became the last staff photographer in the history of the magazine, as it is no longer publishing. As I always point out, being the last in a series of 90 staff shooters at this illustrious picture magazine probably means that someone writing the history of this field will probably associate my name with the death of photojournalism:-)" --Joe McNally

Please join us Friday, December 17 for a holiday book signing with Joe McNally, along with a very special exhibit of his photography, during a reception from 5 - 7 PM. Or contact the gallery now to reserve a signed copy.


112 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Related: Joe McNally: Faces of Ground Zero