Photography as a medium of mechanical reproduction differs from traditional art forms that still value the “aura” of the original. Yet when it comes to collecting, the forces of supply and demand play the same role in this sector as in every other segment of the art market. The names of the photographers become brands whose prices climb with every solo show, art prize, and museum acquisition. The works are produced in limited editions and then carefully placed on the market. Thus, the fact that you have found a faded postcard on the flea market, pinned a magazine page on the wall, or posted a snapshot of your beloved one on your facebook account, does not make you necessarily a respected photography collector. Or, as the French writer Molière would put it, things only have the value that we give them.
Serious collectors of photography, however, care a lot about storage and conservation issues; they follow closely the careers of their artists, perceive price changes on the secondary market, and travel to fairs and expert conferences. They love to show off their connoisseurship to museum curators and photography experts, just as much as they enjoy impressing competitors with their latest acquisition. This is true both for vintage collectors and for contemporary buyers, even more so as the borders start to blend.
This year, PhotoIreland gives special attention to all theoretical, as well as practical aspects of Collecting Photography. Join us and get savvy, or even become a collector yourself!
This exhibition is drawn from a collection of more than 450 photographs brought together by the Irish born American collector David Kronn. The collection ranges in content from 19th century Daguerreotypes to the 20th century photography of Edward Weston and August Sander and works from award-winning contemporary photographers, such as the husband and wife team of Nicolai Howalt and Trine Sondergaard, and the Japanese photographer Asako Narahashi. It is particularly strong in its representation of Harry Callahan, Kenneth Josephson, Irving Penn and Brett Weston.
IMMA’s exhibition Out of the Dark Room presents a selection of 165 works across all photographic media. It explores themes emerging through the collection like portraits of children, abstracted landscapes and portraits of artists, such as Irving Penn’s Frederick Kiesler and Willem de Kooning, New York, 1960. There are numerous iconic works, examples being Herb Ritts’s image of pop star Madonna from 1986, the portrait of Laurie Anderson by Robert Mapplethorpe from 1987, or Dr Harold Edgerton’s time-lapse photograph of a boy running from 1939.
Dr Kronn is a paediatrician with a specialisation in medical genetics, a fact which underlies the many images of children in the collection – such as Diane Arbus’s Loser at a Diaper Derby, 1967, Martine Franck’s images of children from Tory Island (1994-97), or Irina Davis’s poignant portraits of children in a Russian state orphanage (2006-2007).
David Kronn has made a gift of his collection to IMMA. This will begin with the immediate donation of a portrait of the celebrated French-born artist Louise Bourgeois by Annie Leibovitz, and will continue as an annual bequest of works each year, until his entire collection is housed in IMMA.
The exhibition is curated by Seán Kissane, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA, and is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by IMMA that includes texts by Susan Bright, Seán Kissane, David Kronn and Carol Squiers.
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