This was also the first time that I went to the event at the Armory, it having been previously held on two floors of the New York Hilton Hotel. I remember that the first time I went, my head was spinning with the sheer amount of prints to look at – on the walls of the dealers’ booths but mostly in the bins to look through. Everything that one could want to see (or so it seemed) from mid-19th Century prints to contemporary work. My catalogs tell me that I went every year from 1998 to 2004 with the exception of 2001.
So, why haven’t I gone for so long? I remember that initially I was away when the show was held, then I had the surgery on my foot that made standing difficult, then I just got used to not going. (Inertia, as most of you may know, is a difficult force to overcome.) Now that I’m trying to get active again and am taking my collecting a little more seriously, I thought it time to finally go back.
So, how’d it go? Pretty well, I’d say. As I was there for several days and was open to the idea of getting something for my collection, I took my time looking through things and spent time getting to know some of the dealers. (The man pictured here is Burt Finger, owner of the PDNB [Photographs Do Not Bend] Gallery in Dallas, Texas. He’s holding a couple of prints in his inventory: the nude with the hand by Andre Kertesz, the nude in silhouette by Ralph Gibson.)
Of course, there was plenty of great photography to be seen by a lot of great photographers: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Irving Penn, Horst, Paul Caponigro, Michael Kenna, Keith Carter, Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Bernhard, Andre Kertesz, Edward Steichen, Jeanloup Sieff, Lillian Bassman and many more. I saw that two dealers had a copy of one of my favorite photos, “Imogen and Twinka” by Judy Dater, and at very different prices (the lower one still out of my price range, but maybe one day I’ll be able to afford it).
I also spoke with a couple of well-known photographers: Marilyn Bridges, who does wonderful aerial photography and who I knew already but I hadn’t seen for a while; and Steve McCurry, best known for his portrait of the red robed Afghan girl with the stunning eyes.
The event seemed to be fairly well attended this year despite the world’s economic woes. Thursday evening was quiet, more people were there Friday evening and the two weekend days seemed to be pretty well packed. I heard a couple of dealers say on Sunday afternoon that sales were pretty good though not as good as last year – but of course, they noted, this year is not last year.
As for me – well, most of what I would liked to have gotten was beyond my budget, but I did get a couple of relatively affordable prints by a well known, well published American photographer plus a couple of relatively inexpensive photos from eastern Europe. I want to re-matte these latter photos, but I saw that the photos are affixed to their mattes by tape on one side. Does anybody out there have any experience with undoing taped down photos?