Monthly Archives: April 2012




Every photographer wants to sell their work. Every gallerist wants to sell photographer’s work. But it is so much easier said than done. And yet, at the high end of the photography market, the Gursky’s and Sherman’s of this world sell for millions of dollars.

This talk was an informal discussion about the print sales market, between Chair Jeffrey Boloten, Managing Director of Artinsight, Zelda Cheatle, London based gallerist, and WM Hunt, US based collector, curator and photographic consultant. A match made in heaven; the speakers knew one another well and there was healthy, light hearted banter, but it proved invaluable to have a trans Atlantic perspective; one which, as the talk went on, was evidently a key issue in this topic of the print market.

Jeffrey Boloten started with a little run through of the art market at present, and photography’s place within it. It seems that, after a little lull at the end of last year, sales are on the up again and the photography market is more buoyant than that of the general art market. The photography market has evolved over the years to include prints not originally made to sell; fashion photography, reportage, photographs documenting performance artists and installations are now all equally sought after as art in their own right. This is an interesting development, given that prior to this the market was predominantly made up of fine art photography, made to sell. But here’s the thing, and was pointed out by Cheatle; dedicated photography galleries don’t sell photography. Photography only sells in art galleries.

And this is the crux of the matter for me. Working in a dedicated photography gallery, I have experienced this first hand; Photofusion struggles to sell prints. Someone in the audience made the point that dedicated photography galleries often show more reportage based work, and of course there is place for that kind of gallery and for photographers to get that kind of exposure (later on, Hunt did admit it was hard to sell reportage stuff; people don’t want to live with that kind of thing on their walls). But as Cheatle pointed out; look at the new Saatchi show, Out of Focus. All of the photographers in that exhibition are represented by art galleries; they (along with Cindy Sherman and Andreas Gursky who sell at the top end) consider themselves artists who use photography. They are not photographers.

In saying this, Cheatle confirmed something that I had been thinking about for a while. I remember bumping into James Hyman at the London Art Fair, where he was exhibiting paintings, and I asked him why he wasn’t exhibiting photography. He said he takes photography to Paris Photo, and takes it to fairs in New York, but it just doesn’t sell in London. His theory was based in the history of photography; in France photography had been picked up by the Surrealists as an art form in the 1920’s, and from then on was accepted as art. In the US, the beautifully crafted prints of Edward Steichen and Ansel Adams were quickly accepted as art; in contrast, the UK had documentary magazines such as Picture Post and the point of photography was very much as a documentary tool. This theory makes a lot of sense to me, and I put it to the panel. The response I got was that the people who buy prints in Paris Photo are German and Italian (not French!); and yet they did agree that the buzz surrounding the event in Paris is huge, and amongst everyone, collectors and non-collectors alike. That didn’t happen in the short run of Photo London, and I remain convinced that the reason for this is that photography is more ingrained in their psyche as an art form. It is still true that New York leads the world in the marketing of photography as art, although new art markets are springing up in Russia, India, China and the Middle East.

Talk then moved onto the subject of the quality of prints, and the fact that longevity of digital prints is suspect. Hunt is convinced they won’t last, and I thought it interesting that the Director of Harman Technologies, who was sat in the front row, didn’t make a sound to contradict him. So what happens when a digital print, bought at a high end auction, does fade? Hunt recounted the story of the fading Gursky hung in Tate Modern; apparently it is the dealer’s responsibility to re-print if such a thing happens. This then raises a lot of questions; Is it the same print? Does it have the same value? The feeling did seem to be that analogue prints were better quality (apart from when they’re not fixed properly, as in the case of Hunt’s Arbus which he sold to an unsuspecting dealer in Dubai!). And then of course the big editioning question. It was refreshing to hear Zelda Cheatle’s take on it; she sees editioning as a marketing tool, which actually doesn’t mean a thing. A print made now is going to be different to a print of the same image made in ten years time, or even tomorrow. Which makes editioning irrelevant; it’s only there because dealers like the idea of rarity.

The talk was incredibly insightful, with experienced speakers who were great storytellers and made this potentially dry subject a lot of fun. However, all of this chat was very much geared towards the high end photography market, and although Jen Bekman’s 20×200 online gallery initiative was given a brief nod, there was not a great deal of talk about the lower end of the market. Which I think is a shame, because let’s face it, most of the people in the audience won’t be selling their work at millions of dollars. After all, they consider themselves photographers, not artists.


Written by Carole Evans

Some references on the discussion of women in photojournalism

(1) Although this is a rather dated piece, I found it interesting how some iconic women photographers have said their gender has nothing to do with it: Women in Photojournalism and Combat” by Robert Stevens, January 2003

(2) A piece by Paul Melcher stirred some debate and a response by Washington DC based photographer Melissa Golden: On gender and photojournalism: a response to Paul Melcher by Melissa GoldenMay 13, 2011

(3) Here is Paul Melcher’s original piece: “Why Is a Photojournalist’s Gender Relevant to Their Work?”  May 9, 2011



Short films about photography archives

Some short films on the subject of photographic archives, as background to the Symposium session with Pete James, Jem Southam and Brigitte Lardinois.

First, a series of films made by Source Photographic Review as part of their three month season dedicated to photography archives. The second of these on John Blakemore features an interview with Pete James. There’s also link to the competition Source is running to find your favourite archive photo.

Second, a film Storage, from Process Arts, about the archive of Professor Val Williams, who is the director of PARC, the Photography and the Archive Research Centre.

National Photography Symposium 2012 Programme

Hashtag: #NPS4


Submit your questions to Photography Question TIme via Twitter with the hashtag #NPSQT.


All sessions happen at Somerset House unless stated.

Updated 19.4.12. This is the final programme but please bear in mind there might be small changes.


Tickets avaiable from Redeye or the World Photography Organisation



Friday 27 April 2012


13:00 onwards: registration in Portico Room / Photographer’s Lounge, Somerset House.


14:00: Archives. How can we decide which photographic work gets preserved in archives, and what should photographers do with their own work if they want it to be preserved? This session outlines the latest thinking on photographers and their archives; developing best practice guidance specific to photography, deciding on the most appropriate content of archives, and the role of institutions. Speakers: 

Jem Southam, photographer and professor in the School of Art and Media at Plymouth University

Pete James, Head of Photographs, Birmingham Central Library

Brigitte Lardinois, Deputy Director of the Photography and Archive Research Centre at University of the Arts London

Introduced by Paul Herrmann, Director of Redeye


14:00: Copyright discussion. This session, led by photographer David Hoffman, aims to be a frank exchange of thoughts on copyright, looking at the growth in infringements, new ways of discovering these, and how photographers can recover what is owed to them. David will outline his recent court case establishing that the belief of innocence is no defence to a copyright infringement claim. What will be the role of the forthcoming UK small claims court for intellectual property, and why does the Intellectual Property Office think that the court will only handle 150 cases per year? Please come with your experiences and ideas on this subject.


16:00: Break


17:00: The ethics of press and public photography, with particular reference to the implications of the Leveson Inquiry. At what stage does photography become harassment? Should there be controls? More broadly, where is the press heading in its use of photography? Should the press, citizen journalists, and members of the public all be treated the same or differently, whether in general or at newsworthy events? This panel discussion features a range of points of view – that of a photographer who gave evidence at the Leveson Enquiry, a leading picture editor and a champion of citizen photography.


Neil Turner, photographer and vice-chair of the British Press Photographers’ Association

Pauline Hadaway, Director of Belfast Exposed Photography

Alan Sparrow, Chairman of the Picture Editors Guild and Executive Picture Editor of Metro UK

Chaired by Andrew Wiard, photographer


17:00: The print market. A relaxed, informal and open ended discussion of the photographic print market with three leading figures, starting with a quick run-down of the state of the market. Which areas of the market are doing the best, what work is popular with collectors, and why? Speakers:

Zelda Cheatle, Gallery Director of Margaret Street Gallery

WM Hunt, collector, curator and photographic consultant

Chair: Jeffrey Boloten, Managing Director, ArtInsight



Saturday 28 April 2012


09:00 onwards: Registration in Portico Room / Photographer’s Lounge, Somerset House.


10:00 to 10:45 (Strand Palace Hotel): Keynote – Peter Kennard, the UK’s most influential photomontage artist, talks on his life and career.


11:00 to 12:45 (Strand Palace Hotel): Work and the economy. If the Western economy is settling into a slow decline what are the implications for expenditure on photography? How should organisations and photographers plan for the future? How are photographers reinventing themselves for new audiences and the new economy? What are our responsibilities as organisations and individuals to talented, but increasingly unemployed, young people? Speakers: 

Esther Teichmann, photographic artist

John Wright, portrait and fashion photographer, and board member of the Young Photographers’ Alliance

Sara T’Rula, documentary photographer

Chaired by Paul Herrmann of Redeye


11:15 to 12:15 (Somerset House): In conversation: critical to commercial. What compromises are made when photographers articulate their critical approaches and aesthetic styles into commercial vernaculars? While it’s not unusual for clients to take the best artistic imagery and then shape it for their own ends, it’s more interesting and arguably less of a compromise when photographers take the initiative, often by working more closely with appropriate clients. In this open-ended session the photographic artists David Moore and Ewen Spencer explore these issues in relation to their own and others’ work. Introduced by Dewi Lewis, publisher.


12:45: Break


14:00: (Strand Palace Hotel): Collaborations, whether between organisations or individuals, can generate new thinking, save on resources and increase profile. But they often don’t seem to go as smoothly as they might, and both people and organisations are protective of their own ideas and projects. At the organisational level in photography, is there more we could do together on collaborative ventures? Between individuals, how can we encourage more collective and collaborative work – perhaps across disciplines or professions – or can it be counter-productive for photographers to work this way? Each member of this panel has a special interest in collaboration in their work.


Anna Fox, photographer and Professor of Photography, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham; 

Anthony Luvera, artist, writer and educator;

Chaired by Anne McNeill, Director, Impressions Gallery, Bradford.


14:00 (Somerset House): Women in Photojournalism. While women outnumber men on photography courses, the opposite is still true in many areas of photography; none more so than photojournalism, news and editorial photography. What are the reasons for this? Is there a “boys’ club” mentality among some photographers, pressure or pigeonholing from the picture desks and commissioners, or are there reasons why women are less interested in certain areas of work? What advantages do women photojournalists have over their male counterparts? And how does the UK compare with other areas? Accomplished photojournalists will talk briefly about their own work, and discuss this area: the freelance photojournalist Laura El-Tantawy, Reuters staff photographer Suzanne Plunkett; Chaired by Carmen Valino, photographer.


15:45 Break


16:15 (Strand Palace) Photography Question Time: the format is familiar from the BBC, but the subject matter is all photography; this is a chance to put your questions to a panel of the most interesting and influential people in photography. In your pack you’ll find a question slip. Please fill it in with any questions you would like to put to the panel and hand it back to the registration desk by 15:45 on Saturday.

On the panel:

Simon Norfolk, photographer

Dewi Lewis, publisher

Anne McNeill, Impressions Gallery

Andrew Wiard, photographer

Chaired by Paul Herrmann of Redeye

Submit your questions to Photography Question TIme via Twitter with the hashtag #NPSQT.



17:30 Break


18:15 (Strand Palace): WPO session – tickets must be booked separately. In the Photographer’s Studio with William Klein and Vanessa Winship.



Sunday 29th April 2012


10:30 Informal gallery visits. Details to follow.



Speakers include:

Alan Sparrow

Andrew Wiard

Anna Fox

Anne McNeill

Anthony Luvera

Brigitte Lardinois

Carmen Valino

David Hoffman

David Moore

Dewi Lewis

Esther Teichmann

Ewen Spencer

Jeffrey Boloten

Jem Southam

John Wright

Laura El-Tantawy

Neil Turner

Pauline Hadaway

Pete James

Peter Kennard

Sara T’Rula

Simon Norfolk

Suzanne Plunkett

W.M. Hunt

Zelda Cheatle