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Collecting Photographs

Jurgen Schadeberg
Nelson Mandela in his law office
Johannesburg, 1952
Photography is a powerful medium of communication. Photographs of recent history have shaped our vision of these events and in many instances these images have in turn become icons of our time thus significantly shaping our collective sense of history. Photographs form an essential component of our contemporary visual culture. It is inevitable that photographs become collector's pieces. Internationally, the photograph collectors market has grown exponentially in recent years and Christie's Education department in New York organized a course in photograph collecting at the beginning of 2005.

Collectors can determine their own field or area in which to focus, ranging from highly iconic images, historical images, thematic images (for example, portraits, fashion, the nude, landscape, anthropology, historical events) or high impact contemporary

Jurgen Schadeberg
Dancing at the Ritz
Johannesburg, 1952
images. Collectors often follow the work of a specific photographer; the most valuable being associated with internationally renowned names in the field, such as Ansel Adams, Man Ray and Henri Cartier-Bresson. In South Africa the work of Constance Stuart Larrabee, and Jurgen Schadeburg are highly collectable, the former for her unusual subject matter and the latter for the now iconic images he took for Drum magazine during the highly charged years of opposition to the apartheid government. Contemporary photographers, such as Peter Engblom, transform visions of history and our perception of the recent past. Renowned London antiquarian, Simon Finch of London will promote Engblom's work later this year.

Jurgen Schadeberg
Nelson Mandela's return to his cell on Robben Island
It is important to collect images that appeal to you. Conservative collectors will focus on works with a market history but others will take up the challenge to follow one's own judgment in the contemporary market. It is worthwhile collecting images that are representative of a photographer's oeuvre of work as characteristic images are more likely to retain their value. Contemporary images are usually numbered thus limiting the editions of prints that will be produced from a negative. Historical photographs are not usually numbered , but sustain their value as their was no reason for a photographer to produce surplus prints except for use in journalism or for the tourist market - and even these are now rare collector's pieces.

Click Here to view what Photographs we have in our current catalogue.

Peter Engblom Heritage SeriesPeter Engblom Heritage SeriesPeter Engblom Heritage Series

Peter Engblom Heritage Series

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