zaterdag 23 juli 2011

Affordable collectible Photobooks that are soaring in value Photography

Photobooks – affordable collectibles that are soaring in value
Rare editions now sell for tens of thousands, but collectors on a limited budget can invest in emerging photographers
W Magazine Sponsors Whitney Museum Opening Of William Eggleston Retrospective - Day 1
Photographer William Eggleston: his photobooks For Now and Before Color currently sell for about £40 but are expected to double in value soon and keep rising. Photograph: Jason Kempin/WireImage
At first glance they may look like overpriced coffee-table books, but photobooks are highly collectible works of art. In recent years, a boom in the market has seen prices skyrocket. At a dedicated auction at Christie's in London last year, signed early editions of influential photobooks such as Robert Frank's The Americans and Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment sold for £43,250 and £13,750 respectively.
The sudden surge in prices is thought to have begun with the publication of Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's lushly illustrated two-volume retrospective The Photobook: A History, in 2004. These books, along with Andrew Roth's 2001 work, The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century, attempted to reveal what Parr described as "the final frontier of the undiscovered". As a result, a canon of sorts was established and the values of the featured books soared.
According to Sven Becker of Christie's Books and Manuscripts, prices have risen so quickly in the last five years that values put on the more famous books have stalled. Higher prices will only be attained, he says, when the "books or copies are in perfect condition" or where they have "extraordinary things attached such as signatures and inscriptions".
Despite the scarcity of signed or inscribed books and the high plateau in prices on the seminal works, there is hope for the average collector with a modest budget. In fact, even if you're a complete novice, there is a good opportunity to combine learning about the art form with a sound piece of investing by collecting new editions.
Photobooks are expensive to produce and, while demand is too small to warrant long print runs or multiple reprints, it is large enough that the books remain desirable, soon become scarce and can eventually be very valuable. This means new editions costing between £20 and £60 can double or triple in price in as little as two to five years. In 10 or 20 years – and if the work of the photographer becomes particularly fashionable – the price may increase even more.
Jeff Ladd of the photobook blog 5B4, cites the example of John Gossage's book of gritty landscapes, The Pond. When the groundbreaking work was published in 1985, you could pick up a copy for about £20-£30, but it soon went out of print and became very scarce. Today it sells for £500-£600 via rare book trader Vincent Borrelli.
Similarly, photobooks by Bruce Davidson have become very valuable. Reprinted 2003 editions of  his 1980s book Subway (see below) cost £40 on release but now sell for anywhere between £200 and £300.
If you want to pick up some books currently on the shelves that might follow this trend,William Eggleston's For Now (Twin Palms, 2010) and Before Color (Steidl, 2010) can still be found for around the £30-£40 mark; they are expected to double in value relatively quickly and perhaps even increase beyond that in years to come.

You need to look after anything you buy very carefully. Martin Amis of, which sells rare and limited-edition books, says books must be in perfect condition. "Blemishes or damage can knock as much as 40% of the price," he says, "which is why you have to be careful with places like Amazon who don't always package books as well as they might."
Amis, a collector himself, recommends buying from stores that specialise, straight from the publisher or from dealers you know. Other online specialists include the excellent, based in Santa Fe. If you prefer to buy from a physical bookshop and can get to London, Photobooks International in Bloomsbury is a good place to rummage for used editions.
But one of the great things about photobook collecting is discovering the work of emerging photographers whose early books may become sought after. A good place to look is among the current boom in self-published titles.
Self-publishing in photography has a fine pedigree. Perhaps the greatest example is Ed Ruscha's 1963 work Twentysix Gasoline Stations (see below). More recently, Ryan McGinley's self-published 2000 debut The Kids Are Alright sold for £3,528 at Swann Galleries in New York.
"You can't go wrong if you are paying £7-£10 for something you like," says Becker, who believes these self-published books are "guaranteed to be collectible in the future".
To help you navigate the bewildering array, look at websites that collate the best of self-publishing, such as and Also, many established photographers, such as Stephen Gill, sell through their own sites. His Book of Birds, £19, or Hackney Flowers, £28, are available through Gill's own imprint Nobody and are worth a look for their uncommon detail as well as their potential collectability.
Finally, to make the most of collecting you will need to stay in the know and – most importantly – get to know what you like. Luckily, there are some excellent resources at hand. As well as Ladd's 5B4, there are blogs such as Marc Feustel's, Nathalie Belayche's foodforyoureyes and the Guardian's own photo blog by Sean O'Hagan, all of which cover in depth what's new, where to go and what to see. Add to this magazines such as the British Journal of PhotographyPhotoworks, and Foto8 and galleries such as the Photographers' Gallery in London and the Redeye network in the north-west and you will find many opportunities to learn.
Collecting photobooks is a wonderful way to discover more about photography and build a small alternative nest egg at the same time. The only downside is that you might incur the cost of installing a sturdy set of shelves.

Where to start
The Photobook: A History Volumes 1 and 2 by Martin Parr & Gerry Badger£49.95, Phaidon; £30.40, Amazon
Published in 2001 and 2004, Martin Parr and Gerry Badger's retrospective of the history of photobooks has become hugely influential in the used photobook market. It's a good place to start learning and may even become a collectors' item itself.

New editions and reprints likely to go up

William Eggleston – Before Color £40, Steidl; £28, Amazon
Elegant edition of the eccentric American photographer's early work in black and white before he dazzled in colour. Small run and sure to be worth more than the cut-price £27.66 on Amazon in years to come, a good place to start and a unique introduction to the work of Eggleston.
Bruce Davidson – Subway £40, Aperture; £35, Amazon
Previous editions of Bruce Davidson's study of the New York subway system and its passengers have shot up in price. Gritty yet human, the highly anticipated Aperture Foundation reprint due in September is sure to fly off the shelves.

Ones to covet 
Ed Ruscha – Twentysix Gasoline Stations £23,800, signed first edition,
Regarded by some as the first "modern artist's book", pop artist Ruscha's self-published photobook consists of pictures of 26 gasoline stations taken on a trip from Los Angeles to Oklahoma. First editions in a run of 500 sold for $3.50 in 1962. At the time the minimalist imagery was shocking, but it is perhaps the price that raises eyebrows now – it can fetch between £6,000 and £12,000.
Alexey Brodovitch – Ballet £6,460, first edition,
Legendary photobook by Harper's Bazaar designer Brodovitch whose backstage pictures of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, taken with limited equipment, became famous for their radical challenging of technique and powerful depiction of movement. If you can't afford the original, Errata Editions does a fantastic 2011 version for about £25.
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vrijdag 22 juli 2011

UNGUARDED MOMENTS Marianne Breslauer Photography

Marianne Breslauer

 Marianne Breslauer, Self-Portrait, c. 1930

Marianne Breslauer (1909-2001) was born in Berlin on November 20, 1909. The daughter of Dorothea Breslauer and Prof. Alfred Breslauer, an architect,  launched her career as a photographer in 1927. Having trained at Lette-Haus, Berlin, Breslauer travelled to Paris in 1929 where she met Man Ray. He encouraged her straight away to pursue her own photographic ideals. Magazine publications of her works in Für die Frau and Frankfurter Zeitung met with considerable success. She returned to Berlin in 1930 to start work at the Ullstein photographic studio. In 1931 she embarked on a two-month tour of Palestine; in 1932 she left the Ullstein studio to return to Paris.

 Marianne Breslauer, Annemarie Schwarzenbach and her Mercedes, Berlin 1932

Marianne was a close friend of the Swiss writer and photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, whom she photographed many times. She described Annemarie (who died at the young age of 34) as: "Neither a woman nor a man, but an angel, an archangel". In 1933 they travelled together to the Pyrenees to carry out a photographic assignment for the Berlin photographic agency Academia. This led to Marianne's confrontation with the anti-Semitic practices then coming into play in Germany. Her employers wanted her to publish her photos under a pseudonym, to hide the fact that she was Jewish. She refused to do so.

Marianne Breslauer, Ruth von Morgen, Berlin, 1934

In 1933 the Academia agency sent her on a photographic assignment to Spain in the company of Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Following the Nazi coup, Breslauer did not return to Germany but travelled to Zürich instead where she obtained work with the Zürcher Illustrierte through Arnold Kübler, its editor-in-chief. A photo series about Erika Mann's Pfeffermühle originated in this context. Family matters prompted her return to Berlin in 1934, where she again worked for the Ullstein magazines. 

 Marianne Breslauer, Pamplona, 1933
Marianne Breslauer emigrated in 1936 to Amsterdam where she married the art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt - he had previously left Germany after seeing Nazis break up an auction of modern art. Her first child, Walter, was born here. Family life and work as an art dealer hindered her work in photography. In 1939 the family fled to Zurich where her second son, Konrad, was born. After the war, in 1948, the couple set up an art business in Zurich specializing in French paintings and 19th-century art. When her husband died in 1953 she took over the business, which she ran with her son Walter from 1966 to 1990. Marianne Breslauer died in Zollikon, near Zurich, in 2001.

Herontdekte foto's nog even fris

Klein oeuvre van fotograaf Marianne Breslauer uit de jaren dertig nu te zien in het Joods Historisch Museum

artikel artikel | Donderdag 21-07-2011 | Sectie: Cultureel Supplement | Pagina: C08 | Eddie Marsman

Marianne Breslauer fotografeerde slechts kort. Haar foto's waren in de jaren dertig nieuw en avontuurlijk. Nu, tachtig jaar later, schemert dat gevoel nog door. 

Tien jaar, langer heeft de fotografie niet geduurd voor Marianne Breslauer. Het begint met een map met zeven portretfoto's, de meesterproef waarmee ze in 1929 haar opleiding aan de Photographische Lehranstalt in Berlijn afsluit. Het eindigt met een handvol Amsterdamse grachtenfoto's; pakhuizen, boten, bomen langs de kade, meeuwen als confetti boven het spiegelende water. In 1936 is dat. Even later stopt ze die foto's in het laatste van de vier plakboeken waarin ze haar oeuvre bewaart, noteert hier een datum en daar een naam en slaat het boek dicht. Klaar. Over en uit.

Pas veertig jaar later zouden die boeken weer opengaan voor de samenstelling van een van de deeltjes in de baanbrekende boekenreeks RetrospektiveFotografie waarin de Duitse uitgeverij Marzona werk van baanbrekende Nieuwe Fotografen uit het interbellum onder het stof vandaan haalt. Piet Zwart, Paul Citroen, Franz Roh, Martin Munkacsi zitten ertussen. En ene Marianne Breslauer dus. Verrassing.
Op het omslag van het boek dat haar oeuvre aan de vergetelheid zou ontrukken (het is antiquarisch nog wel verkrijgbaar) prijkt een fotootje waarop een zwaarlijvige heer tuurt naar iets wat wij niet kunnen zien. Met de handen op de rug houdt hij de rand van zijn hoed vast. Diep in gedachten knijpt hij erin, dat moet een forse kreukel opleveren. De zoon van de schilder Paul Cézanne is het, in 1932 op een kunstveiling in Parijs.
Een fotootje van bijna niks eigenlijk. Maar hoe langer je kijkt naar die vingers en de rand van die hoed, hoe indringender hij wordt. Typisch Breslauer: een scherp oog voor het juiste detail op het juiste moment.
Marianne Breslauer overleed in 2001, 91 jaar oud. Het is voor het eerst dat een overzicht van haar werk in Nederland te zien is. De tentoonstelling Onbewaakte Momenten in het Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam omvat zo'n 100 foto's; de meeste vintage prints, oorspronkelijke drukken. De tentoonstelling is samengesteld door de Fotostiftung Schweiz, beheerder van Breslauers nalatenschap.
Een degelijke, uitstekend verzorgde presentatie is het: chronologisch geordend, zakelijke informatie, een paar reproducties van plakboekpagina's en wat contemporain krantenspul ter illustratie. De eerste verkenningen in het portretgenre, straatfotografie, foto's van de vriendinnenkring die eigenlijk een documentatie vormen van het fenomeen Moderne Onafhankelijke Vrouw, de neerslag van reizen door Frankrijk, Spanje, Palestina - alles zit erin. Een deel van die foto's werd ooit eerder gepubliceerd in bladen als het vrouwensupplement van de Frankfurter Zeitung, Für die Frau, Weltspiegel of Wochenschau, maar geen mens die dat nu nog op het netvlies staat.
Het op zolder teruggevonden juwelenkistje van een oudtante, daar lijkt het op. Onder het dekseltje komt een wereld tevoorschijn. Je herkent de herkomst al van grote afstand - de stelselmatigheid van hoge standpunten, de telkens diagonale beeldopbouw, de indringende close-ups: ja hoor, jaren dertig - en toch ziet alles er fris uit. Straatrumoer, hartsvriendinnen, koetsjes in Triëst, een vechtpartijtje in Spalato, wandelaars op de oude houten Lützowbrücke. Bijna geen stof, je hoeft nauwelijks te blazen.
Breslauers belangstelling voor de fotografie wordt gewekt door de Hollandse Bauhaus-student Paul Citroen (1896-1983). Citroen, de latere beeldend kunstenaar, komt graag over de vloer bij haar vader, een welgesteld architect van moderne villa's. Ondanks het leeftijdsverschil kunnen de vrijgevochten dochter en de gedreven Hollander het goed met elkaar vinden. Met Citroen bezoekt ze exposities en via hem leert ze andere fotografen kennen, onder wie diens boezemvriend Otto Umbehr die werkt onder de naam Umbo. Voor haar meesterproef in 1929 zal ze beiden portretteren, Umbo diabolisch lachend, Citroen achter de schaduw van zijn eigen vingers.

Na haar afstuderen gaat Breslauer enkele maanden naar Parijs. Ze wil in de leer bij Man Ray maar die voelt daar niets voor. Eén advies geeft hij haar wel: ga de straat op en kijk uit. Wat precies is wat ze deed. Al doende scherpt ze haar oog voor het eenvoudige maar veelzeggende detail. Een puzzeltje van lege stoeltjes in de Jardin du Luxembourg, het verstelwerk op het zitvlak van een broek, de boven het water bungelende voet van een slapende clochard, de schaduw van de bomen op de luifel van een restaurant die lijken te horen bij de voetgangers eronder. Nieuw en avontuurlijk is het: tachtig jaar later schemert dat gevoel nog door in de foto's. Man Ray zal ze trouwens later nog eens portretteren, ook die foto zit in de expositie: een pinnig heerschap, zo te zien.
Terug in Berlijn gaat ze aan de slag voor het fotoagentschap van uitgeverij Ullstein en even later ook nog voor een paar andere. Maar de journalistiek ligt haar niet, ze fotografeert liever in de zijlijn. Met een goede vriendin reist ze door Spanje, met haar latere echtgenoot, de kunsthandelaar Walter Feilchenfeldt, door Italië. Ondertussen ondervindt ze aan den lijve hoe de de anti-joodse wetgeving van de nazi's haar het publiceren onmogelijk begint te maken.
In 1936 wijkt ze samen met Feilchenfeldt uit naar Amsterdam waar ze even later zullen trouwen en drie jaar blijven wonen. Soms levert ze op verzoek een foto voor een expositie, fotograferen of publiceren doet ze al niet meer. Op familiebezoek in Zwitserland in 1939 worden ze overvallen door het uitbreken van de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Ze besluiten er uit voorzorg maar te blijven.
Af en toe wordt haar werk, sinds het Marzona-boek uit 1979, geëxposeerd. Bij een expositie in 1989 in Berlijn is een filmportretje van haar gemaakt, dat nu in Amsterdam ook getoond wordt. In die film de onvermijdelijke vraag: waarom stopte u toch met fotograferen? Het was mijn tijd, zegt ze. Ik hield van mijn tijd en die werd vernietigd door haat, oorlog en gruwel. Wat kon ze daarna nog fotograferen?
Niks man en kinderen, de beslommeringen van een gezin. Geen woord over de florerende kunsthandel in Zürich die ze samen met haar man begon en die ze na zijn overlijden in 1953 alleen runde. Natuurlijk niet. Ze was de fotografie ingestapt omdat ze dat wilde en omdat ze dat wilde stapte ze er ook weer uit. En verder: een oeuvre hoeft helemaal niet groot of veelomvattend te zijn om een onvergetelijke indruk te maken.
Al krijg je de indruk dat Breslauer zelf over dat laatste nooit op die manier heeft gedacht.
Het op zolder gevonden juwelenkistje van een oudtante, daar lijkt het op
Info: Marianne Breslauer: Onbewaakte momenten. T/m 13 nov. in het Joods Historisch Museum, Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, Amsterdam. Dag. 11-17u. Inl. 020-5310310 of Catalogus euro 34,95.
Foto-onderschrift: Marianne Breslauer, 'Défense d'afficher', Parijs 1937
Op dit artikel rust auteursrecht van NRC Handelsblad BV, respectievelijk van de oorspronkelijke auteur.

maandag 18 juli 2011

Martin Parr: how to take better holiday photographs Photography

Jurmula, Latvia, 1999. Photograph: ©Martin Parr / Magnum
Don't be scared of photographing a storm-out, crying fit or strop, advises the Magnum photographer
The Guardian,

Most family photo albums are a form of propaganda, where the family looks perfect and everyone is smiling: we try to create fabrications about who we are. But if you're doing a portrait of someone, ask them not to smile. You will get a much more dignified, interesting portrait, and it won't look like a family snap.
Don't be scared of photographing a storm-out, crying fit or strop. The instinct is to capture people only when they are smiling around a birthday cake or at a wedding, but never during an argument or funeral. On holiday, of course photograph the daytrips and good times, but make sure you document when everything isn't going to plan as well.
You have to overcome the feeling that it isn't the right time to take a photograph if you want to get away from this version of the perfect, harmonious family. I would argue that the more valuable document is the honest one.
One of the things that photographs are very good at doing is showing change. So take a picture before you go on holiday and when you have just got back. Similarly you should take before-and-after shots when you redecorate your bathroom, or if you replace your car.
You need to think carefully about what appears to be prosaic: no one would dream to think that going to the supermarket is an important event, but when you look back in the future, you'll be amazed at how interesting it is.
When you are away, why not record all of the food that you eat? If someone has spent a lot of time cooking a meal, or if you're going out for a treat, photograph the food. You could make a series of each breakfast, lunch and dinner that you ate. That would be fascinating.
Photograph the caravan, guest house, tent – wherever you are staying. Think of yourself as a documentary photographer; up the ante and take yourself more seriously.
And the other thing you must do is print them. We are in danger of having a whole generation – and this will continue into the future – that has no family albums, because people just leave them on their computer, and then suddenly they will be deleted. You have to print them and put them in an album or a box, otherwise they could be lost. And write captions. You might think you are going to remember what is happening in a picture, but you probably won't in 10 years' time.

zaterdag 16 juli 2011

New York & Amsterdam by Numbers Hans Eijkelboom Photography

'New York By Numbers' is the result of a task I set myself. Over a three week period, I walked around the city taking pictures of people with numbers on their clothing. This soon became a game, but the results are about finding order, uncovering a strict pattern in our apparently chaotic everyday life. Hans Eijkelboom, 30 April-20 May 2010

Amsterdam by Numbers is the result of a task I set myself. Over a five week period, I walked around the city taking pictures of people with numbers on their clothing. This soon became a game, but the results are about finding order, uncovering a strict pattern in our apparently chaotic everyday life. Hans Eijkelboom. Lees verder de recensie van Hans Aarsman ...

Hans Eijkelboom (Born 1949, Arnhem, Holland) began his artistic career in 1971 with an installation that was part of a group show that included Joseph Beuys, Ed Ruscha, and Douglas Huebler. Since then, he has produced over twenty-five books, gaining renown in Europe for self-publishing many of them, and his work has been exhibited internationally, including solo shows at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam; Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem, the Netherlands; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands; Provincial Museum of Photography, Antwerp, Belgium; and Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, Neuenhaus, Germany. Eijkelboom is based in Amsterdam.