Photography News and Archive
Current News             Issue Archive             Article Archive E-Photo Newsletter   Issue 132   8/1/2007

Maggi Weston Sale Nets Over $7.8 Million At Sotheby's, With Only a 20% Buy-in Rate

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

The room was packed and pretty much everybody who was anybody was there for the evening section of the sale from the Margaret W. Weston Collection at Sotheby's. Take a deep breathe because there were only a handful of lots that didn't reach our normal reporting level and only a half-dozen lots that passed.

Phone bidder L0066 snared the first to Ansel Adams prints, "Evening Clouds and Pool, East Side of the Sierra Nevada" ($15,000–$25,000) for $55,200 and "Rose--Driftwood" ($40,000–$60,000) for $110,400. And Peter MacGill planted $117,600 for an early print of Adams's "Aspens, NM" ($60,000–$90,000).

The cover lot, Edward Weston's "The White Iris (Tina Modotti)" ($400,000–$600,000) passed at $340,000. It was the first cover lot not to do well in a while, I think. But L0066 relieved the pain by bidding $312,000, almost three times the high estimate, for Frantisek Drtikol's "Snezna Vlna (Snow Wave)", a semi-abstract nude. It was a record price for a Drtikol and the seventh highest price of the sale. A phone bidder won Josef Sudek's evocative pigment print, "In the Studio" ($50,000–$80,000) for $114,000.

Edward Weston's stunning and important "The Ascent of Attic Angles" ($700,000–$1,000,000) was next. This is one of two known prints of the image extant, the other held by the Smithsonian. The estimate certainly anticipated a world record for Weston--and it made one, barely, when Dale Stulz, on his cell phone, won the lot at the low estimate. The hammer price was less than that for Weston's Breast, but with the new, higher premium, the final price of $824,000 made the record. It was, of course, the top lot of the sale.

Imogen Cunningham's stark, modernist "Ampitheatre No. 2" sold just under its high estimate for $348,000, a record for the artists and fourth place in the sale. Kaspar Fleischmann chilled out with Ansel Adams' "Winter — Yosemite (Locust Trees in Snow)" ($20,000–$30,000) at $69,000. And Peter MacGill bundled up for André Kertész's "Vert-Galant (The Vert-Galant Garden in Winter, Paris)" ($80,000–$120,000) at $150,000, then enjoyed some summer boating with Atget's "Etang de Corot, Ville d'Avray" ($60,000–$90,000) at $198,000.

However, Margrethe Mather's "Portrait of Edward Weston" ($250,000–$350,000) passed at $210,000. Man Ray's portrait of "Lee Miller" ($25,000–$35,000) fared better, as Ute Hartjen grabbed it at $69,600. Then a phone bidder claimed the third highest price of the sale for Man Ray's iconic "Noire et Blanche" ($200,000–$300,000) at $396,000.

Brett Weston's "Ford Trimotor" ($50,000–$80,000), bought at Sotheby's in April 1999 for $46,000, bought in. This time Peter MacGill came to the rescue, taking Edward Weston's "Dunes at Oceano" ($100,000–$150,000) for $312,000, good for sixth place. Then a phone bidder conquered Ansel Adams's "Yosemite Valley, Winter (Clearing Winter Storm)" ($30,000–$50,000), paying $102,000 for the privilege.

Carleton E. Watkins's "The Garrison, Columbia River", 1867 ($200,000–$300,000), one of 50 prints from the celebrated album of Oregon views purchased by Weston in a sale at Swann Galleries in 1979, commanded $492,000, selling to New York dealer Hans P. Kraus Jr. in the room, a record for the artist at auction and the second highest price of the evening. Paul Strand's "Boat Houses, Wolf River, Gaspé Quebec" ($200,000–$300,000) also made the top ten (number five), as Peter MacGill (who else?) moved in at $336,000.

A phone bidder edged out San Francisco dealer Paul Hertzmann for Edward Weston's "Dunes, Oceano" ($100,000–$150,000) attaining tenth place at $228,000. Ansel Adams' "Moonrise, Hernandez, NM" ($40,000–$60,000) sold for $88,800. Did you ever think there would be a sale where this was almost an afterthought?

The next two lots were the only consecutive passes of the evening: Margaret Bourke White's "Trumpet Organ Pipes, Wurlitzer" ($70,000–$100,000) and Baron Adolf de Meyer's "Mannequin, Elizabeth Arden Advertisement" ($50,000–$80,000).

Two fashion pictures were next. Collector Jack Hastings bought Man Ray's "Model in Schiaparelli Gown Regarding a Necklace" ($30,000–$50,000) for $64,800 and Peter MacGill added Avedon's "Suzy Parker, Evening Dress by Jean Desses, Paris" ($25,000–$35,000) to his wardrobe for $115,200.

But MacGill had to yield to Howard Greenberg for Robert Frank's "Paris 1949 New Year (Young Man with Tulip)" ($50,000–$80,000) at $132,000. Auctioneer Denise Bethel got caught in advancing by $5,000 increments for Frank's London (Hearse) ($70,000–$100,000). Finally she jumped from $200,000 to the winning hammer price of $225,000, $270,000 with premium, good for eighth place.

Kathryn McCarver Root walked William Henry Fox Talbot's "High Street, Oxford"($50,000–$80,000) for $90,000. And Hans Kraus outlasted Jack Hastings for Frederick Evans's glorious "Crepuscule au Printemps" ($60,000–$90,000) at $192,000.

Jaromír Funke's "Composition (Abstraction with Plates)" ($25,000–$35,000) is a striking modernist picture. Yet it surprised many people when at least five bidders went after it and drove the price to a record for the artist: $252,000, seven times the high estimate and ninth place in the sale.

Boston dealer Robert Klein lit up the bidding for $52,800 for Sudek's "Still Life (Paper over Lamp)" ($25,000–$35,000). Indiana dealer Lee Marks dined on Wanda Wulz's "Futurist Breakfast" ($30,000–$50,000) for $64,800. Amazingly, that was more appetizing than Irving Penn's "New York Still Life" ($60,000–$90,000), which passed at $44,000.

The evening sale closed with Turid Meeker buying Avedon's haunting "Noto Sicily, September 5, 1947" ($40,000–$60,000) for $74,400; then New York gallerist Yancey Richardson outbid Meeker for Robert Mapplethorpe's "Calla Lily"($40,000–$60,000) at $168,000; and lastly Monah Gettner of Hyperion Press actually paid within the estimates--$40,800--for Joel-Peter Witkin's "Printemps, NM".

If this seems like the bidding was frantic and unceasing, that's because it was. The 40 lots offered brought just under $6 million and averaged more than $175,000 per lot sold.

Many of us were back the next morning for the final hundred lots of the Weston sale. While there were several good prices, none came close to breaking into the top ten. Among a run of Edward Weston pictures "Cypress Rock, Stone Crop" ($20,000–$30,000) brought $50,400 and Kaspar Fleischmann sped off with "White Sands, NM" ($25,000–$35,000) for $78,000. Likewise, among a run of Ansel Adams prints two were of note: "New Mexico Highway (In the Chama Valley)" ($15,000–$25,000) drove to $48,000 and "Penitente Morada, Coyote, NM" ($15,000–$25,000) was had for $66,000. Also from the ƒ/64 group, Imogen Cunningham's "Two Shells" ($50,000–$80,000) garnered $72,000.

While many more lots went within the estimates or even below them this morning, Peter MacGill paid $78,000, more than two-and-a-half times high estimate, for Walker Evans's "Man and Movie Poster, New Orleans". And a phone bidder almost tripled the high estimate for Sudek's "Still Life with Glass and Bottle" at $102,000, the highest price of this part of the sale.

Mike Wahlen, Virginia Adam's lawyer after 1980, paid $55,200, below estimate, for Gustave Le Gray's "Port et Ville de Sète, Mèditerranée". And a phone bidder went to sea on Le Gray's "Sailing Ships, Sète" ($50,000–$80,000) for $69,600. But three other Le Gray's bought in, as did three Cuveliers and several other 19th-century pictures.

Contemporary work did better. Two untitled pictures from Adam Fuss's series "My Ghost", (Poem) and (Dress), (both $7,000–$10,000) sold for $24,000 and $22,800 respectively. And Vik Muniz's clever Peter Factor (Shutters) closed for $28,800 on the same estimate.

By the time the morning sale concluded, the Weston sale had realized a whopping $7,819,700 with a 20% buy-in rate. Maggi Weston said, "I am so thrilled with the results. The sale went beautifully, and I was amazed by some of the records that were set. I am so happy for all of us, both for Sotheby's and for our family." Now to speculate on what's still in the collection.

(Copyright ©2007 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95 (overseas airmail is $149.95). You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 140 East Richardson Ave, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Sotheby's Multi-Owner Sale Caps Off Record Auction Season With Over $5.2 Million and 7.7% Buy-Ins

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Sotheby's various-owners sale in the afternoon totaled $5,203,800 with a meager 7.7% buy-in rate. In fact, the auction room was more crowded than the morning session of the Weston sale. A phone bidder started things off by claiming two Ansel Adams pictures--"Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA" ($30,000–$50,000) and "Clearing Winter Storm" ($50,000–$80,000)--both for $84,000. James Alinder took a 16"x20" Adams "Moonrise" for $40,800, just below high estimate. A different phone bidder went for Adams's "Aspens, Northern NM" ($20,000–$30,000) at $60,000. Then Alinder was back for an oversize "Moonrise" ($40,000–$60,000) at $114,000 (tied for eighth on the top ten of this sale).

Next was the highlight of the sale: "Nude on Sand", a mounted and fully-signed early print of a particularly rare image from 1936 by Edward Weston from his series of nude studies of Charis on the dunes at Oceano ($200,000–$300,000), which sold for $468,000 to Jeffrey Fraenkel. This print came originally from the collection of famed gossip-columnist and screenwriter Louella Parsons. It was the top lot of the afternoon.

It seemed like the heart of the order was batting next. Edwynn Houk smashed one in the hole past a diving Kevin Moore, grabbing a lated-printed Manuel Álvarez Bravo platinum print of Tina Modotti's "Roses, Mexico" ($20,000–$30,000) for $43,200. Then Peter MacGill sent one over the head of outfielder Spencer Throckmorton, ending up with an early print of Bravo's"El Soñador" ($60,000–$80,000) for $84,000. Next, Howard Greenberg hit another one beyond Throckmorton's reach and off the wall as he made off with Tina Modotti's "Woman Carrying Olla" ($30,000–$50,000) for $108,000 (tied for tenth). Then Jeffrey Fraenkel doubled--or rather, doubled the high estimate--for Dorothea Lange's "Funeral Cortege, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town" at $72,000.

A fine large gravure of Steichen's "Rodin, le Penseur" ($8,000–$12,000), signed by Steichen and coming from the family of Rodin's biographer, was bid up by Hans Kraus, but went to the phones for $48,000. Just after this lot we hit the one hour mark at only lot 40. Many lots had multiple bidders and many times a bidder jumped in just as the hammer was about to fall.

Edwynn Houk reclaimed Bill Brandt's "Parlour Maid Preparing a Bath" ($6,000–$9,000) at a hefty $38,400. Houk had sold this print, originally from the Brandt Estate, to the present owner when his gallery was in Chicago. Michael Mattis swooped in to take László Moholy–Nagy's "Berlin" (From the Radio Tower) under the low estimate at $108,000 (tied for tenth). This was the cover lot of Sotheby's October 1998 sale, estimated then at $120,000–$150,000--and it bought in. A bottom right corner is missing, but was cropped in the catalogue illustration.

A print listed as a 1950s-60s print of Cartier-Bresson's "Seville" sold within estimate for $52,800 to the phone. Robert Klein battled Edwynn Houk for a 1950s print of Paul Strand's "Bacares, France" ($15,000–$25,000). There are four known prints, including two 1960s prints. Klein finally prevailed at $114,000 (tied for eighth).

A phone bidder acted out, bidding $48,000 for Alfred Eisenstaedt's "Children at a Puppet Theatre, Paris" ($20,000–$30,000). It's a charming picture, but how this later print in an edition of 250 commands this price is a conundrum.

Willie Schaefer made a play for W. Eugene Smith's iconic "The Walk to Paradise Garden" ($15,000–$25,000), but fell short as it went for $50,400. A fabulous 1940s album of 291 images of "Los Angeles Service Stations" ($5,000–$7,000) skyrocketed faster than the price of gas as it sold for $25,200. I imagine it can be seen as an art-historical precursor to Ed Ruscha.

Irving Penn's "Cuzco Children" ($200,000–$300,000) was one of only three major lots to pass. But his "Moroccan Child with Lamb" ($30,000–$50,000) brought $55,200 and his "Woman in Moroccan Palace" ($200,000–$300,000) claimed second place in the sale at $336,000. Collector Leon Constantiner went to $180,000 for Penn's "Girl Drinking" (M.J.R.) ($80,000–$120,000) (sixth place). And Peter MacGill paid $204,000, just under high estimate, for a mural-sized, four-section, platinum-palladium print of Penn's "Cigarette No. 37" (fourth place).

Then two vintage, signed Arbus's passed: "Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ" ($400,000–$600,000) and "Triplets, NJ" ($150,000–$250,000). Perhaps in the era of in vitro fertilization, people are beginning to worry about multiple births. But a Neil Selkirk print of Arbus's "Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park" ($100,000–$150,000) sold to Jeffrey Fraenkel for $132,000 (seventh place).

A portfolio of 302 photographs that documents the history of the airplane and its creators, by Bob Seidemann, "The Airplane as Art", 1986–97, flew just under the radar--or rather, just under the low estimate--selling to the phone for $216,000 (third place). A set had sold at Sotheby's in October 2000 for $236,750.

The cover lot of the auction, Richard Avedon's diptych of two mural-sized photographs, "Richard Wheatcroft, Rancher, Jordan, MT", 6/19/81 and 6/27/83, sold to the phones for $192,000, not quite double the high estimate. Jeffrey Fraenkel went for a hometown favorite, paying $55,200 for Lewis Baltz's portfolio "Candlestick Point" (84 prints) ($30,000–$40,000).

Peter Beard 's "Crocodile Skin" ($60,000–$80,000) was snapped up for $72,000. Three Francesca Woodman's sold for above estimate, including "My House" (Providence, Rhode Island) ($8,000–$12,000) for $33,600.

Several contemporary pieces performed well: Susan Derges's "The Observer and the Observed No. 13" ($7,000–$10,000) went for $21,600; Vera Lutter's Untitled (Lower Manhattan Skyline with the WTC) ($7,000–$10,000) sold to Robert Klein for $31,200; and works by Adam Fuss and Hiroshi Sugimoto outperformed their estimates.

The NY auctions' total for the month with Sotheby's Cuvelier sale was a staggering $34,613, 315. Add that to the $4,328,460 from Christie's Solley sale in February, and the $1,362,137 from Swann Galleries' February sale and you get $40,303,912. Plus Swann did over $1 million in their May sale. That's a 33% increase over the record $30 million the four houses did in Fall 2005. And it's almost exactly equal to the entire year of New York sales in 2004.

As our astute observer Michael Mattis exclaimed, "After the Gilman sale, it was widely predicted that an avalanche of top material would roll onto the auction block. It took a while, but this round of sales was it--from early French salt prints to contemporary Chinese color photography, probably the most impressive week of material that I can remember, and it all got absorbed somehow!"

While clearly there were numerous records set, it was the fact that so many dollars changed hands that is the most impressive aspect of the April auctions. It was not that long ago, it seems, that we were remarking when every one of the top ten lots of a sale exceeded $100,000. Now the average for an entire evening sale exceeds that figure--easily. Clearly, we're not in Kansas anymore.

(Copyright ©2007 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95 (overseas airmail is $149.95). You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 140 East Richardson Ave, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Claudia Kunin and Her Allegorical "Holy Ghost" Series Added to Roster of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

I Photo Central dealer Contemporary Works/Vintage Works has added another photographer to its roster—Claudia Kunin.

Here is what she has to say about her new work, "The Holy Ghost Stories": "In late March 2006, the morning before visiting the island of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, I had a revelatory dream. The dream was later confirmed in waking life. I was to follow a new path, barefoot...upon "Holy Ground". I came back to America knowing that I was ready to commence a new series called "Holy Ghosts". I studied Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. A good soaking in Caravaggio, Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch paintings followed. I read parts of the Bible and Dante's Inferno, as well as Daniel Defoe's "The Secrets of the Invisible World Disclosed". There is a long standing history of art as a transcendental experience. I am endeavoring to materialize the immaterial...to enrapture an unwitting audience, and convince them there is evidence of a life unseen. The composite images in the series are portals, thresholds between this world and the "other". They tell tales that bring us to the nexus of fear and faith, reuniting us with popular ideas whose threads have run through Western civilization for millennia. A new realm of the deep occult is created, allowing the viewer to experience a rich and ambiguous space."

"I have experienced many profound coincidences in pursuit of each image. The meaning is clear. I must continue to make these images. I am being called to do so."

Much like the manner of painters who would make their background images from a book of sketches, Claudia constructs her backgrounds from various photographs she has taken all over the world. She then shoots the models in the studio to illustrate the allegorical tale, and afterwards knits the picture together from all the various elements. These powerful archetypal images are virtually unique in contemporary art.

The work comes in several editions and sizes, including a prints in 40 x 30 in. size in an edition of 10, plus 2 Artist Proofs at $3,200 mounted; in 24 x 20 in. size in another edition of 10, plus 2 APs at $2,150. And the largest size is 72 x 60 in. in an edition of 3, plus 2 APs at $9,500 mounted, but unframed. These prices include mounting, but do not include framing, crating or shipping.

You can see examples of her photography and full information about her work and a short biography at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/showcase/showcase_view.php/152/1/1 .

Photo Book Reviews: Mona Kuhn, Karel Kuklik, and Images of Maori

By Matt Damsker


Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Essay by Gordon Baldwin. 2007, Steidl; 96 pages, 54 color plates; hardbound. ISBN 13 No. 978-3-86521-372-3. Steidl, Dustere Str. 4, D-37073, Gottingen, Germany; phone: +49 551-49 60 60; fax: +49 551-49 60 649; email: mail@stedil.de ; websites: http://www.steidlville.com / http://www.steidl.de .

The evidence here is of a great deal of pensive narcissism, as Mona Kuhn has collected a bevy of beautiful young nudists at a summer retreat. With soft-focused backgrounds and images captured through glass to reflect a pastoral, sunlit setting (along with several chiaroscuro night shots), it's a utopian vision of contemplative physical perfection. Kuhn's golden subjects are invariably seen gazing aslant, rarely at the camera, either off in the distance or downward, suggesting a variety of intelligent inner lives.

These are marvelously well-crafted photos, alive to the contours of radiant flesh and the subtle play of light, rendering Kuhn's models as sculptural objects as much as anything else. And yet, as present as these bodies seem before our eyes, they seem rather distant from each other, and so the whole project has the feel of undergraduate alienation at its most decorative. Apart from one image of an elderly bearded man whose scrawny frame suggests the price of longevity, it is hard to register more than superficial admiration for Kuhn's gifted specimens: whatever angst or doubt they may be experiencing seems trivialized by their evident good fortune and breeding.

Kuhn is most successful in her purely formal studies, such as one of an angular nude washing her feet in an outdoor fountain. The graceful classicism of this pose is pure and life-affirming, with no psychological overtones to distract us from the simple richness of the image. Indeed, the more Kuhn focuses on form and detail--the tattooed upper arm of one subject with his back to the camera, or the curving languor with which another holds a glass of ice water--the greater sense we get of both people and place, and of the transient moments that blossom for the camera. These tend to outclass the noble self-reflection of the majority of these images. For the most part, it's all Lights, Camera, Vanity!


Photographs by Karel Kuklik. 2004, self-published, hardbound, Prague. 108 pages; approximately 80 black-and-white plates. ISBN No. 80-86079-09–0.

Karel Kuklik's intense affinity for his native Czech landscapes--in all their primal beauty, grassy and scarred, rocky and wind-torn--makes for powerfully felt images of broad vistas and organic detail. Prague-born and based, Kuklik, now 70, has forged a career as one of his country's leading photographers, though he began as a car mechanic in the Soviet era. By now, he focuses on the timelessly hard land of such nature preserves as Sumava, Cesky kras and those of the Trebon area--indeed, these are the "landscapes of returns" which he documents and re-documents (he works in black-and-white, mostly in a 20-by-25 cm format and contact prints).

As Anna Farova notes in one essay on Kuklik, "A landscape of returns is something between humble admiration for the miracle of remaining paradises and one's own projection into a Czech context."

That these rugged, wintry lands are paradisiacal to Kuklik imparts real power to his images--sharply focused and carefully composed to capture misty depths of perspective and background while bringing us close to the bark, leaf, twig, pockmarked granite, grain fields and primeval marsh of these European interiors. Kuklik's eye for pure detail and his masterful tonalities--as rich and subtle as anything by Ansel Adams or Minor White--are marvels of seeing and savoring the natural feast before him. Indeed, as much as he exhibits an enormous love of the land in these works, there is no sentimentalizing or idealizing these views; the hints of majestic sunlight are carefully controlled, as Kuklik affirms how much more truly illuminated (from within the land's soul and his own) are his subjects.



By Michael Graham-Stewart and John Gow. 2006, John Leech Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; hardbound; 140 pages, approximately 70 plates. ISBN No. 978-0-473-11540-1. John Leech Gallery, P.O. Box 5441 Wellesley St., Auckland 1141, New Zealand; phone: +64 9 303 9395; fax: +64 9 303 9397; email: info@johnleechgallery.co.nz .

This selection of photography spans nearly a century of New Zealand history, during which images of Maori tribespeople became popular fodder for colonial photographers and the world's rising tide of photography consumers. As John Gow and Michael Graham-Stewart make clear, this period of European colonization coincided with a diminishing Maori population and the steady loss of ancestral Maori land. All the while, New Zealand's Tourist Department profited from sales of photo postcards and other souvenirs that depicted the Maori with no reference to the social disintegration they were experiencing.

Importantly, the authors have delivered many compelling images that document the Maori plight--clearly indicating the poor, cramped conditions--along with the many more familiar posed studio photographs of Maori nobles and tribespeople in their exotic, kiwi-feathered wraps, patterned garb and painted faces. There's no question that New Zealand's studio photographers--John Crombie, Fairs & Steel, and others--did an effective job of capturing the dignified bearing and suggesting the folkways of their Maori subjects, but it was itinerant photographers such as Daniel Mundy, Alfred Burton and the like who found a truer Maori reality in the villages and on the watersides of the country.

And so we are able to enjoy these glimpses of Maori children happily at play, washing clothes, or mugging for the camera, while their elders struggle to maintain the tribal traditions even as they are assimilated into British colonial institutions. This carefully assembled and annotated book brings the Maori experience to life for us in an important way. As the authors note, "The subjects were rarely in a position to exert control as to how they were portrayed and the result was a perception evolved and nurtured by the photographers. Nevertheless Maori confounded those who said the race was doomed..."

Matt Damsker is an author and critic, who has written about photography and the arts for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Bulletin, Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. His book, "Rock Voices", was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. His essay in the book, "Marcus Doyle: Night Vision" was published in the fall of 2005.

He currently reviews books for U.S.A. Today.

(Book publishers, authors and photography galleries/dealers may send review copies to us at: I Photo Central, 258 Inverness Circle, Chalfont, PA 18914. We do not guarantee that we will review all books or catalogues that we receive. Books must be aimed at photography collecting, not how-to books for photographers.)

Directors Bergman and
Antonioni Died This Week

When I was much younger and still at the university, I, as nearly every other film student, was entranced by the work of top European directors, and—besides Federico Fellini—the top two directors in my Pantheon were Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. Both passed away this past week nearly simultaneously, as if there must be some balance scale for such talent in the universe.

To recount their lives and contributions to cinema would be repetitious. Suffice to say, the impact from both was considerably more than just "Seventh Seal" and "Blow-up". Most of Bergman's work seemed to show his preoccupation with death. But later in his life, he said, "When I was young, I was extremely scared of dying. But now I think it a very, very wise arrangement. It's like a light that is extinguished. Not very much to make a fuss about."

I remember one of my college roommates and a fellow film major, Justin McCann, who actually sat through Antonioni's Red Desert some 47 times. Personally, while I loved "Blow-up" and other films by this master, I actually never made it through this particular film even once. It frankly bored the hell out of me. Nonetheless, Antonioni was a great director. Antonioni was once asked, "In a world without film, what would you have made?" His one word response: "Film."

The light seems to flicker a bit at the end of the day while I am typing this. Perhaps—mixing all kinds of metaphors--it is the way the world tips its hat to these giants.

NY Met Gets New Contemp Photo Gallery

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art now has a new gallery devoted to modern and contemporary photography. Named for its benefactors, the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography will have 2,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space.

The first show in the gallery opens on September 25, 2007, with "Depth of Field: Contemporary Photography at the Metropolitan." Menschel Hall is located in a new space near the existing Howard Gilman photography galleries. Included in the exhibition are works by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Rodney Graham, Sharon Lockhart, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth and Wolfgang Tillmans-- among others.