The Digest – April 8th, 2012

©Amy Touchette – From the series ‘New York Young

Eggleston Sued By Collector

The most interesting article I’ve read on the story is from Felix Salmon of Reuters.

What Sobel sees, when he looks at the Christie’s Eggleston auction, is a serious increase in the value of the Eggleston market, with the overwhelming majority of that increase accruing to Eggleston himself, rather than to collectors who were prescient enough to buy early. You can hear the whine quite explicitly in Crow’s article: Sobel used to own the most valuable Egglestons in the world, and he was very proud of that. And now he doesn’t. And he’s upset.

This is all very childish, of course — which is par for the course when it comes to the art world. And somewhere underneath it all, Sobel might even have a legitimate beef. Eggleston is 72 years old, and suddenly, after decades of being a photographic eminence, he’s deserting the photography community and throwing his lot in with Larry Gagosian and the contemporary-art crowd, just because that’s where the money is. Eggleston has had a devoted following in the photography community for a very long time, and his latest move seems designed to annoy his base, which is never a particularly wise thing to do. There might be lots of money in the contemporary world right now, but that world is fickle.

Jorg doesn’t seem to agree with some of what Salmon is saying.

I’m not sure I buy (pardon the pun) Salmon’s dismissal of the lawsuit as merely some bruised ego, though. That seems to be a tad simplistic, especially if you read this interview with Mr Sobel. In part, it centers on limited editions and on the fact that when Mr Sobel bought his prints, there was no word of a possible larger edition. You definitely want to read the interview, since I have the feeling that some of the points raised in it we will hear a lot more about in the future.

It’s worth browsing to learn a bit more about more about the inner workings of the photography and art market’s.

©Pablo Conejo – Little Europe on the Outskirts of Shanghai – Time LightBox

Links of Note

Catch And Release: My Photographic Education: I enjoyed this essay by Brad Zellar.

People, he said, didn’t see the trees for the forest; they couldn’t see the beautiful moments all around them, lost in the stream and bustle of life. That was the wonder of photography, of seeing the world concentrated through one lens, one eye closed, the other pressed tight to the camera, focused. Those were the pictures my father remembered, those moments when he’d zeroed in on something with his camera, or seen something he’d never before realized was there, never mind if it somehow mysteriously vanished in the developing tray or at the photo lab. He knew what he had seen, even if he had not quite captured it.

Richard Prince on Franscesca Woodman: What?

I love hairy women. I don’t like it when women shave. I like it when they let their underarm hair grow and their pubic hair grow… It’s the way it’s suppose to be. Woodman had beautiful underarm hair.

I wish I had met Woodman forty years ago. It would have been great to live with her for a year. She didn’t save anything. She played the camera like a new guitar. She murdered herself out taking pictures…

John Waters: Subversive Success: Interesting interview. Photographs by Adam Golfer.

The underground exists, but it’s on the Internet and nobody can figure out a way to make money from it. I’m on the Internet, but it did ruin every business I’m in. But there are still filmmakers like Gaspar Noé, Lars von Trier and Todd Solondz, who are really good and transgressive and who continue to surprise me.

George Clooney, a man who hires his own satellites to scan the earth for evidence of war crimes, recently noted:

Now that every single human being on earth has a camera phone, where are all those UFO pictures? Remember you used to see those pictures. Some guy just happened to have a Polaroid when the UFOs appeared? Either it was all bullshit, or my theory is that the martians have decided, ‘Don’t go down there, man. All those fuckers have cameras now.

Brian Ulrich, Is This Place Great or What: Artifacts and Photographs @Saul: Interesting to see the prices for the sculptures/artifacts compared to the photographs.

While there are far less photographs on display than I might have hoped, the scaveneged objects do fit quite well into the overall narrative. The huge neon FAST FOOD sign (with its speedy font) reminds us of the days when fast food was cool, when we were proud of being able to crank out a cheap burger and toss it in your car window in seconds flat. The broken, buzzing sign is a fabulous sculptural Pop Art remnant. The door handles from Montogomery Ward are equally emblematic: finely milled steel pulls, with a mirror image M and W logo on each. The production values of the entire shopping experience were clearly very carefully managed, even if the store went out of business.

The Sochi Project: Three Years of Crowdfunding: Jorg makes an excellent point in his analysis.

This seems somewhat related to what I have noticed at various Kickstarter campaigns: Unless people start going for the bigger pledges having dozens and dozens of smaller ones doesn’t get you anywhere.

This is not to say that small pledges are useless, but it hints at a problem that I have been stressing for years now: Fine-art photography is a niche market, with a relatively small number of people interested. You don’t have this simple numbers problem in areas such as politics, for example, where Barack Obama can raise millions from small donations online simply because there exist millions of people willing to give money.

©Kevin Weir – Vintage Photos Enter Spooky Afterlife as Animated GIFs – Wired

Etc, Etc, Etc.,

  • john

    the inner workings of the photography and art market’s.

    tsk tsk tsk

  • John Goldsmith

    “Now that every single human being on earth has a camera phone, where are all those UFO pictures?”

    They are looking down now (at their technology) as they Tweet, as they cross the street, as they scroll through their inbox instead of looking up at the sky.