zondag 27 april 2008

Andre Zucca gay Paris Collaboration Photography

Andre Zucca's photographs of gay Paris at war paint an uneasy portrait of city collaboration From The Times April 18, 2008

Charles Bremner in Paris
An unusual warning has been added to a Paris exhibition that has shocked some visitors and media, despite the absence of sex, violence or religion.

The photographic show has caused offence by depicting the French capital in the Second World War as a sunny place, where people enjoyed life alongside their Nazi occupiers.

Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor, ordered a notice, in French and English, to be handed out at the door of the municipal exhibition of colour photographs that have stirred ghosts that Paris preferred to forget. The 270 never-published pictures avoid the “reality of occupation and its tragic aspects”, says the warning.

In the French collective memory, early 1940s Paris was a black-and-white hell of hunger, Nazi round-ups, humiliation and resistance. Films and books have in recent decades modified the cliché. The breathtaking colour series by André Zucca, a French photographer, show as never before a gay Paris that got on with life without great hardship.

Well-dressed citizens shop on the boulevards and stroll in the parks; young people crowd nightclubs; bikini-clad women bathe in the fashionable Deligny pool. The terraces of familiar cafés are crowded and commuters with briefcases march into the Métro.

The differences are the absent traffic, the Wehrmacht uniforms and red swastikas hanging from the grandest facades. In one sinister picture – taken in the street beside the gallery – an old woman wears a yellow Star of David, the insignia that Jews were forced to display. According to critics, the organisers at the Paris Historical Library neglected to make it clear that Zucca, a respected prewar photographer, was working for the German propaganda machine.

Pierre Assouline, a writer, said in Le Monde: “In the shadows of these same streets, they were dying of hunger and cold. Raids and torture were taking place. Here we see only relaxation, joie de vivre, the nonchalance of a kind of happiness.” Christophe Girard, the deputy mayor in charge of culture, said that he found the exhibition “em-barrassing, ambiguous and poorly explained”.

Jean Derens, the director of the library, rejected the criticism, saying that everyone knew the photographer was a collaborator: “If there is a visitor who is unaware of the nature of the occupation, it’s sad, but that does not mean that everything has to be reexplained every time.” He said that the critics were not content with his leaflet, which states: “Zucca portrays a casual, even carefree Paris. He has opted for a vision that does not show . . . the queues . . . the rounding-up of Jews, posters announcing executions.” The library praises the skill of Zucca, “who played on colours like an aesthete” and chronicled the occupation privately, using rare Agfacolor film supplied by the Wehrmacht. The sunny aspect of the photos stemmed from the need to shoot the early colour film in bright light, it adds.

The exhibition reminds viewers that Paris was relatively comfortable under the Nazis because Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, decreed that the capital should be “animated and gay” to show off the “new Europe”. Theatres and cinemas were kept busy; Edith Piaf sang, and Herbert von Karajan conducted.

The collection, restored to the original colour with digital techniques, was bought by the city from Zucca’s family in 1985. The photographer was arrested after the 1944 liberation but never prosecuted. He worked until his death in 1976 under an assumed name as a wedding photographer west of Paris.

— The exhibition is open every day except Mondays, 11am to 7pm, at the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris. Lees meer ...

woensdag 16 april 2008

Nico Jesse Dutch Eyes in Berlin, London, Paris & Rome Photography

...to Jesse, photography was always a means of rendering human relationships visible...

Jesse, NicoMenschen in Berlin. Fotos von Nico Jesse. Einleitung von Franz Tumler. Im Bertelsmann Lesering. Gütersloh / Sigbert Mohn Verlag / 1960 / s. p. (120 S.) / geb. (HLwd.) / 24x19.7cm / s/w-Tiefdruckabb. / - / HCA mono / Buch / Photographie - Monographie - Deutschland, Berlin - 20. Jahrh. - Tumler, Fra

See also Leonard Freed in Berlin ... & Old Berlin ...

zaterdag 12 april 2008

William Klein & the French Goddess Citroën DS 19 Photography

Unanimite. Photographs by William Klein. Société Anonyme André Citroën/Delpire Publicité, Paris, n.d. (c. 1968) 20 pp. Stiff wrappers. Saddle stitched. Additional printed promotional card laid in. Color photographs.
Citroën--producers of among the most avant-garde auto designs ever marketed on a mainstream basis--always prided itself on its collaborations with artists, which over the years included Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Jean-Paul Goude, and Marc Riboud. For this late sixties catalogue, Klein honed in on the futuristic, aerodynamic design elements that made the DS (pronounced 'Déesse'--Goddess!) one of the most unique cars ever made. This early DS film is wonderful as well... Starting a 1957 Citroen DS 19 ... Read more ...

Four wheels in photographs: a snapshot

Shape, movement and light: just three of the many, many words that explain the love affair between photographers and the automobile. The first pictures taken by Jacques-Henri Lartigue as far back as 1910 reflect a passion for the object and its design, an interest in the people who design and build it, and a love of speed and motor sport. The world of automobiles and industry offers photographers an endless wealth of subjects, images, views and angles.

The exhibition of advertising photographs at the Paris Museum of Advertising, which is running until March 2007[1], highlights three pictures, taken by Jean-Paul Goude and André Martin in particular, offering an unusual vision of the automobile. The selection is representative of the photographer's vision of the motor car, the ideal object to illustrate shapes and forms and a symbol that expresses of all kinds of creativity.

Spotlight on style

"In the world of automotive photography, it is important to make the distinction between so-called advertising photographs that are used in catalogues or on posters and the photographs that illustrate communications materials, such as press kits and magazines," explains Patrick René, who is in charge of events in PSA Peugeot Citroën's media operations unit. "Advertising photographs are taken both in studios and outdoors and are usually the work of the agency's creative staff. Photographers can give full vent to their creativity when taking press photographs."There are always two possible approaches. The first consists in highlighting every aspect of the object itself. "Photographers like the Swiss Peter Vann1 often work in this way," explains Olivier de Serres, author of many works about the automobile2. "They simply photograph the car, with a minimalist decor."Enthusiasts tend to bring out the beauty of the car and highlight every one of its component parts using close-up shots. "With prestige vehicles, the car itself is the star, right down to the tiniest detail," explains Henri Beinert, a freelance photographer who regularly exhibits at the Schlumpf Collection in the "Cité de l’Automobile"3. "We take the time to seek out colours, shapes and reflections. I have been known to wait half an hour for a cloud to pass in order to find the right reflection on the bodywork." In this case, the image may be of an almost clinical precision, or, on the contrary, extravagantly stylised.

Life at the wheel, wheels come to life

The second approach consists in placing the vehicle in a spontaneous or carefully prepared context. From the famous holiday trips photographed by Doisneau to the speeding racing cars immortalised by Jacques-Henri Lartigue as far back as 1910, the goal is the same: to capture a moment or illustrate a dream in which the motor car plays an important role, but not necessarily the leading role. Some of Robert Doisneau's finest pictures illustrate the everyday life of workers in the Renault factory on the lle Seguin4, while Henri Cartier-Bresson is remembered for his images of the strikes at the Citroën factory on the Quai de Javel in 1938. Even the people who bring unfinished cars to life are a source of fascination for photographers.More recently, the Brazilian Sebastião Salgado, who has become one of the greatest photographers in the world, visited the PSA Peugeot Citroën style centre in the 1990s and took a surprising series of portraits of men and women at work. The automobile is almost entirely eclipsed by the look of concentration on their faces and the busy hands, hard at work.Amateur photographers will be reassured by the fact that some of the best pictures are flukes. "Jacques-Henri Lartigue's photograph is now thought to be a masterpiece, but to begin with it was considered to be quite poor," concludes Patrick René. "The history of photography shows that control does not always produce the best results." Arnold Odermatt, a lieutenant working in the Swiss police force, is another example of an inspired amateur. For years, he photographed his colleagues at work and road accidents (see his book "Karambolage"). Odermatt approaches this difficult subject with his Rolleifleix almost like a landscape artist. His work was discovered by the world of professional photography in the 1990s and he has since become one of the leading lights in Europe.

[1] "Advertising photography in France, from Man Ray to Jean-Paul Goude", November 8, 2006 to March 25, 2007, Paris Museum of Advertising (www.museedelapub.org).
1Photographer for Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche, etc.
2Latest publication: “Citroën DS: au Panthéon de l'automobile”, Anthese, September, 2005.
3www.collection-schlumpf.com. Henri Beinert's work was exhibited at the "Salon des Artistes de l'Automobile" in December, 2006.
4"Le Renault de Doisneau", Robert Doisneau and Claire Stoullig, Somogy - Editions d'Art

donderdag 10 april 2008

the Photobook Photography Auction April 2008 Christie's Sotheby's

Top 10 Sotheby's :

1. $1,609,000 / $600,000 - 900,000 Pace MacGill Gallery Edward Weston, Nude, 1925 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*

2. $645,800 / $600,000 - 900,000 Pace MacGill Galelry Paul Strand, Rebecca, 1923 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*

This exceptionally open, intimate portrait of Rebecca Strand is one of more than a hundred that Paul Strand made of his wife between 1920 and 1932. The series was so strongly influenced by Alfred Stieglitz's celebrated extended portrait of his wife, Georgia O'Keeffe, that Strand's parallel project, pursued in close contact with his friend and mentor, may be considered an implicit act of homage.

Strand's long artistic apprenticeship to Stieglitz, begun through visits to Stieglitz's gallery in 1913, came to an end with the suite of portraits he took of Rebecca in 1922–23. Whereas his earlier attempts appear strained because their long exposures required a headrest—the "iron virgin" of the studio practice—in 1922 Strand photographed his wife in bed. The removal of the former constraint and the new, supine position allowed Strand to reject the upright format of traditional portraiture and to frame boldly, solely to the dictates of his desire. The artist's freedom and his model's relaxation, intensified by their deep emotional bond, resulted in a portrait of extraordinary sensitivity and immediacy—a fresh but assured response to svelte formal elegance.

3. $493,000 / $150,000 - 250,000 Anonymous August Sander, Werkstudenten, 1926 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*

4. $457,000 / $70,000 - 100,000 Anonymous Richard Avedon, Marilyn Monroe, May 6, 1957, New York City *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*
By Laurie Boeder :
It's not sexy. Not nude. Not glamorous, flirtatious, outrageous, audacious, or playful.
It's just sad. Lovely and sad.
Richard Avedon's indelible portrait of an actress whose public persona has slipped in a weary moment provides a glimpse of what it cost Marilyn Monroe to be Marilyn Monroe. The pretty shoulders are slumped, yet still tense. The light and the energy have gone out of her. She stares at something invisible and inevitable in the middle distance. She seems both resigned and apprehensive, as if she sees her own future.
The heartbreaking photo, "Marilyn Monroe, May 6, 1957" sold in a Sotheby's auction in New York this week for $457,000, far above the pre-auction estimate of $70,000. It was taken at the end of a long shoot in which the actress smiled, flirted and posed in her usual sex-kitten persona (although the shots, some of which are seen in
this montage, have a whiff of desperation about them.)
Then Avedon pointed the camera at her one last time. Maybe she was just tired. But because we know the tragedy to come, the portrait takes on power. It remains one of the most famous Hollywood portraits of all time.
5. $325,000 / $200,000 - 300,000 American Private Hans Bellmer, La Poupée (The Doll), circa 1935 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*

6. $313,000 / $60,000 - 90,000 Pace MacGill Gallery Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #53, 1980

7. $301,000 / $150,000 - 250,000 Anonymous László Moholy-Nagy, Photogram, 1920s *RECORD FOR A PHOTOGRAPH BY THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*

8. $289,000 / $50,000 - 70,000 American Private Dorothea Lange, San Francisco Waterfront, 1933

One of the 20th century's most gifted photographers, Dorothea Lange's documentary activity began in the early 1930s, when she gave up commercial portrait photography and went into the streets to record labor unrest and the effects of unemployment during the Great Depression. Her best known work was done during a five-year period from 1935-39, when she worked for the Resettlement Administration (later Farm Security Administration), portraying hungry migrant workers, sharecroppers, and tenant farmers without jobs and homes. In this portrayal of striking laborers, Lange concentrated on gesture and expression to convey the disillusionment of the time.

9. $265,000 / $50,000 - 70,000 Anonymous Bill Brandt, Van Gogh's Room in the Asylum of St. Paul-de-Mausole (St. Rémy), 1950 *RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION*
10 $265,000 / $150,000 - 250,000 American Private Carleton E. Watkins, Tasayac, Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite, 1865-66

Pioneer in the digital manipulation of photographic images Michael Najjar augmented realities 1997-2008 Photography

Michael Najjar augmented realities 1997-2008

German artist Michael Najjar is fascinated by scenarios for the future of mankind. In his large-format photographs and video works, he creates a simultaneously exciting and disturbing picture of human beings as artificial, technological beings.
In his latest series, bionic angel (2006-2008), now to be shown at the Hague Museum of Photography for the first time in its entirety, Najjar goes a step further: based on ideals of beauty derived from Ancient Greece and the Italian Renaissance, the artist has constructed a new image of mankind that is refined and ethereal, transcending everyday reality.

Michael Najjar's creative process is based on current scientific ideas in the field of genetic engineering. He uses these with great artistic freedom to visualise new visual worlds in which fact, fiction and pure fantasy tumble and interweave. The resulting images can be chilling representations, fascinating interpretations or entertainingly imaginative guesswork. The forthcoming exhibition will include eight series, all dating from the 1997-2008 period but all at first sight quite different in concept and execution. The earliest is entitled ¡viva fidel! - journey into absurdity and could easily be taken for a traditional black-and-white photo-documentary on Cuba. However, the digital manipulation that permeates the images casts doubt on the truth of the photographic account. In the years since then, Najjar has chopped and changed 'reality' ever more heavily. In his latest series, bionic angel, the process goes so far that the viewer wonders what if any role photography has played in generating such sophisticated, almost otherworldly, images. But these too are photographs, created with the use of flesh-and-blood models and the help of a team of stylists, make-up artists, lighting specialists and image manipulators.

Michael Najjar (b. Landau, 1966) can be regarded as a pioneer in the digital manipulation of photographic images. He himself calls his work 'hybrid photography': a new visual idiom created by the marriage of analogue and digital technology. Advances in technology have created new opportunities for manipulation which are increasingly casting doubt on the authenticity of images and make it essential always to question their 'truth'. In his information and apocalypse series (2003), therefore, Najjar investigates the extent to which the concept of photographic truth now has any meaning at all in times of war and ideological struggle.

For netropolis, on which he worked from 2004 to 2006, Najjar photographed twelve major world cities (including Tokyo, New York, Mexico City, Dubai and Shanghai) from all four points of the compass from the tops of their highest towers.. He then used an ingenious logarithmic program to superimpose the resulting images. The result is a series of optical illusions which Najjar sees as expressing the increasing complexity of our urban infrastructure.

Taken together, these series reveal that the leitmotiv of Michael Najjar's oeuvre is the dramatic moment of metamorphosis, the technology-driven transformation now taking place both in individuals and in society as a whole. He does not necessarily consider processes in the field of genetic engineering and cosmetic manipulation in ethical terms, but merely regards them as a logical future development.

From 6/4/2008 To 30/6/2008 The Hague Museum of Photography Stadhouderslaan 43 2501 Den Haag netherlands Lees meer ...

woensdag 9 april 2008

Nikita Khrushchev Fidel Castro Andy Warhol Twiggy by Magnum Photographer Burt Glinn Photography

Magnum Photographer Burt Glinn Dies At 82 April 09, 2008 by Daryl Lang ...

Burt Glinn, a prolific documentary and commercial photographer who was one of the first American members of the Magnum Photo agency, died early Wednesday morning at his home in East Hampton, N.Y.

Glinn was 82 and died of kidney failure and pneumonia, according to Magnum director Mark Lubell.With a background in photojournalism, Glinn's willingness to take on corporate work set him apart from some of his early Magnum peers.

It led him to a long and productive career covering current events and culture for magazines, augmented by lucrative ad shoots for some of the world's biggest companies.

Friends remembered him as a workaholic with a good sense of humor.

"He was good at most everything he took on," says fellow Magnum photographer Elliot Erwitt.

"He was one of the pillars of Magnum.

"In an interview last year with the ASMP Bulletin, the publication of the American Society of Media Photographers, Glinn said he was grateful for his long career.

"[I]t was a great, great thing for me to have lucked into the idea of photography as a career," Glinn said.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1925, Glinn served in the Army from 1943 to 1946 and later studied literature at Harvard University.

He began working for Life in 1949.

Along with Eve Arnold and Dennis Stock, Glinn was among the first Americans to join the fledgling Magnum agency in 1951.

He would later serve as Magnum's president twice.

Glinn was an early advocate for photographers maintaining the copyrights to their images and served as president of the ASMP in the 1960s.

In 1956, Glinn covered one of his first international assignments, the Sinai War.

On New Year's Eve 1958, Glinn rushed to Cuba to cover the takeover of Fidel Castro.

His photos from 1959, and from another visit to Cuba four decades later, were collected in the 2002 Umbrage Editions book Havana: The Revolutionary Moment.

In 1959, he shot a famous photograph of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, seen from the back, visiting the Lincoln Memorial.

Glinn established himself in the 1960s as a color documentary photographer for magazines like Holiday, Look, Life, Paris Match and Geo.

In addition to news, he covered politicians and celebrities.

A 1965 portrait of Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and Chuck Wein appearing to emerge from a manhole is among his most recognized photographs.

Working with writer Laurens van der Post, Glinn produced two books, A Portrait of All the Russias (1967) and A Portrait of Japan (1968).

As he built his reputation as a commercial photographer, Glinn shot ads and corporate work for the likes of Pepsi and Pfizer, major banks and manufacturers.

But he also continued to shoot documentary work, including a photo essay on medical science in the 1990s.

Amsterdam-based photographer Shirley Barenholz, who worked as Glinn's assistant in the 1990s, remembers him as quiet, good-humored and willing to help younger photographers.

"He had an amazing way of giving his knowledge and his greatness in photography, to give it to people like me who had just started out," Barenholz says.

Even in his commercial work, Glinn considered it his role to find the key elements in a real scene, rather than invent a picture, which he thought of as less believable.

"My work is to react and to organize – or recognize the organization in – a totally fluid, always changing, anarchic world," Glinn said in a January 1987 PDN article.

dinsdag 8 april 2008

Mirror of Venus by Wingate Paine Francoise Sagan Federico Fellini Photography

Wingate Paine, 1915 – 1987, was a member of a Mayflower New England family with ties to law, banking and the ministry. He broke from those traditions and became a Marine captain, connoisseur of French wine, devotee of Hatha-Yoga and finally a gifted photographer and filmmaker. Described as his “visual valentine to feminine beauty,” Paine’s series of female nudes were published in his 1967 book Mirror of Venus. This 1960s classic was printed in ten editions and features text written by Federico Fellini and Françoise Sagan. Paine later abandoned photography for sculpture. Mirror of Venus represents the culmination of his photographic career. See also Christie's Fine Photobooks auction ...

donderdag 3 april 2008

Sally Mann Feminine Personal & Macabre Photography

In the swarm of artistically minded boomers who matured in the 1970s, there were thousands who hoped to become filmmakers or photographers. Many of the photographers--working with sophisticated cameras that can produce an occasional striking image almost without human intervention--won a brief success. But three successive decades have drastically winnowed their numbers, and only a few now stand in the ranks of mastery that include such predecessors as Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans.

Tall among them is Sally Mann. After she completed college, Mann, 50, returned to her hometown in Virginia. There she and her lawyer husband have raised a family, and Mann has carried out the duties of wife and mother with the fixed concentration visible in all her art. Till the children left home, she focused her camera on her immediate periphery--the encircling mountains, her rural and small-town neighbors, her parents, her handsome husband and her son and two daughters.

It was her photographs of the children, published in 1992 as Immediate Family, that brought Mann's work to the attention of a wide audience. Mann recorded a combination of spontaneous and carefully arranged moments of childhood repose and revealingly--sometimes unnervingly--imaginative play. What the outraged critics of her child nudes failed to grant was the patent devotion involved throughout the project and the delighted complicity of her son and daughters in so many of the solemn or playful events. No other collection of family photographs is remotely like it, in both its naked candor and the fervor of its maternal curiosity and care.

In this decade Mann has ventured from home more frequently. First, she turned to pictures of her surroundings. More recently, she has taken her incomparably truthful large-frame camera farther south, into Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. From the heart of the Old South's dark history she has returned with eloquent images--devoid of human presence--of the rivers and thickets that continue to harbor our whole country's greatest mystery: how human beings, in the midst of such fecund natural beauty, have continued to be so relentlessly inhuman.

Few photographers of any time or place have matched Sally Mann's steadiness of simple eyesight, her serene technical brilliance and the clearly communicated eloquence she derives from her subjects, human and otherwise--subjects observed with an ardor that is all but indistinguishable from love.

Reynolds Price is the author of more than 30 books, including Kate Vaiden, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986

Read more the family photographs of Sally Mann ... & L.P. Polhuis family album ...

Lees over Sally Mann ...

dinsdag 1 april 2008

Thomas Wedgwood 'the world's oldest photo' Photography

Sotheby's: 'Leaf' photo early as 1790 by Ula Ilnytzky Associated Press

NEW YORK - Sotheby's auction house is selling a primitive photograph that could be a much earlier work than originally believed. If so, Sotheby's says, it would be one of the most important discoveries in the history of photography.

"Leaf," to be sold at Sotheby's on April 7, is a photogenic drawing - a cameraless process in which an object is placed on silver nitrate-coated paper or leather to form a negative image.

It had previously been attributed to William Henry Fox Talbot, considered the father of photography along with Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre. It was thought to have been made in 1839 at what is widely accepted as the dawn of photography.

But Sotheby's says research by a leading photo expert suggests otherwise, that several early photo experimenters could be the authors, including Thomas Wedgwood, James Watt and Humphry Davy, who worked in the medium decades earlier. If that theory is true, it means the photo could have been made as early as 1790.

"When we thought it was Talbot," said Denise Bethel, Sotheby's director of photography, "we gave it a $100,000 to $150,000 estimate. Now with this other possibility . . . it's certainly far more valuable."

Sotheby's catalog lists "Leaf" as "Photographer Unknown." But the auctioneer says an inscription of the initial "W" on the corner of the photo could point to Wedgwood or Watt as possible authors. Wedgwood died in 1805; Watt in 1819.

"Leaf" was among six similar anonymous works that were sold individually at Sotheby's London in 1984. It was purchased by a dealer for $776, and only later attributed to Talbot.
Art sales: buyers focus on 'the world's oldest photo'
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 01/04/2008

Colin Gleadell reports on US photography salesMarket news: Takashi Murakami’s Panda video
A 200-year-old faded picture of a leaf, stylish shots of glamorous fashion models, an array of long-lost freak-show snaps - all could make big money at next week's photography sales in New York, where more than 1,000 lots convey the enormous diversity of taste for which this market now caters.

Sophisticated: Mouth for L’Oréal (1986) by Irving Penn
The most intriguing is the picture of the leaf. Bought in London in 1984 for about £6,000, it was thought by the buyer, New York dealer Hans P Kraus, to be a photogenic drawing (an image traced by solar rays of an object placed on light-sensitive paper) of c.1839 by William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the founding fathers of photography. As such it would now be worth between £50,000 and £75,000, according to Sotheby's photography expert Denise Bethel.

But independent scholar Dr Larry J Schaaf, who has written the sale catalogue entry, thinks it might have been made more than 20 years earlier, possibly by Thomas Wedgwood, a member of the Wedgwood china family, who first started experimenting with primitive forms of photography in the 1790s. This would make it the oldest photograph in existence.

No examples of Wedgwood's photographs are known to have survived, so this, says Bethel, might be "one of the most important discoveries in the history of photography". As such, she adds, "the sky could be the limit" in terms of prices, so no price guide has been given. The record for a photograph was set two years ago when Edward Steichen's The Pond-Moonlight (1904) sold for £1.4m.

The leaf picture is part of the sale of the Quillan collection, formed by an investment group during the late Eighties to "represent photography's achievements from its beginnings to the near present". Especially strong on 19th-century photographs, it also includes rare experimental 20th-century works and just touches on celebrity pictures with Richard Avedon's understated 1957 portrait of Marilyn Monroe (£35,000 to £50,000).

A connoisseur's collection, it is the centre-piece of Sotheby's sales which focus on the traditional collecting areas of 19th- and classic modern 20th-century works.

Christie's, on the other hand, leans more towards what it calls the "high style and sophistication" of the later 20th century. They open with the third in a series of sales from the collection of former photographer and gallery owner Gert Elfering, whose interest lay in the style and glamour of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar over the past 50 years.

Thick with works by Helmut Newton and Irving Penn priced in tens of thousands of pounds, the auction also includes works by lesser-known artists such as the now famous portrait of France's First Lady Carla Bruni by Michel Comte (up to £2,000).

The relative sparseness of 19th- and early-20th-century work in Christie's sales is due to a dwindling supply, says Philippe Garnier, the auction house's head of photography, but is also "symptomatic of a broadening market".

The success of the first sale of works from the Elfering collection in 2005 saw a "shifting of the balance of power in the marketplace," says Garnier. "Fashion photography, which was once marginalised because of the commercial context in which it was produced, has become recognised as being at the very heart of post-war photography."

Phillips de Pury & Co's sales also brush with fashion, but are marked by a collection of previously unknown, unique prints by Diane Arbus, the one-time fashion photographer who became celebrated for her quirky, voyeuristic images of people on the fringes of society.

Once owned by Charlie Lucas, the manager of Hubert's Museum, the freak-show venue in Times Square that closed down in 1965, the photographs of giants, midgets, sword-swallowers and contortionists presage her later, more famous work. Estimates at the sale range from £10,000 to £60,000.

Phillips is hoping to sell as much as £4 million of mostly modern and contemporary photographs next week. The telling contest, however, will be between Sotheby's and Christie's, both aiming at over £7 million but with two very different sale agendas. While Sotheby's is relying on more traditional content with just 182 lots, Christie's has mustered more than 600 lots of "style and sophistication" to carry the day.

Zie voor de oudste foto van Nederland ...