Photographs at Bloomsbury Auctions, 2 April 2009

There was a tiny sampling of African diaspora photographs at the Thursday, April 2nd Bloomsbury Auction in New York; three out of 140 lots were available and all went unsold. The photographs are on the level of social documentary imagery, and are quite familiar to the general public (i.e. social or work program imagery, images of need, and non-Christian religious gatherings) seen on television, in magazines, and the daily press. They don’t suggest the rarity of fine art photography of the black image, which might explain the response they received at auction.

Lot #35 O. Winston Link (1914-2001) Lubricator Charles Wade attends to the rods of class E2A 578 at the lubritorium in Bluefield, 1955

(Estimate $3000 – $5000) unsold

Lot #62 Sebastião Salgado (b. 1944) The Journey of Hunger…Ethiopia, 1984-1985

(Estimate $3000 – $5000) unsold

Sebastião Salgado (b. 1944) The Journey of Hunger…Ethiopia, 1984-1985 13 gelatin silver prints.
Sebastião Salgado, The Journey of Hunger…Ethiopia, 1984-1985. 13 gelatin silver prints

Lot #63 Abbas (b. 1944), James Nachtwey (b. 1948) and Bruno Barbey (b. 1941)

Black Islam/Senegal, 1988; Kurds Flee Iraqi Attacks, 1988; Ayatollah Khomeini, 1986

(Estimate $3000 – $5000) unsold

Abbas (b. 1944), James Nachtwey (b. 1948) and Bruno Barbey (b. 1941) Black Islam/Senegal, 1988; Kurds Flee Iraqi Attacks, 1988; Ayatollah Khomeini, 1986 Nine gelatin silver prints.
Abbas, James Nachtwey and Bruno Barbey: Black Islam/Senegal, 1988; Kurds Flee Iraqi Attacks, 1988; Ayatollah Khomeini, 1986. Nine gelatin silver prints.
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Photographs – Phillips de Pury, April 1, 2009

At the April 1st Photographs sale at Phillips de Pury New York, total lots sold for
$ 1,890, 875. Approximately fifteen out of 280 lots depicted images of the African diaspora or were photographed by black photographers. Some highlights include two works by African photographer, Seydou Keita which sold for $9,375 and $ 8,750, respectively.

Two great ladies, 1958 (Gelatin silver print)
Two great ladies, 1958 (Gelatin silver print)
Girl with purse, 1950s
Girl with purse, 1950s (Gelatin silver print)

Contemporary photographer, Carrie Mae Weems, was represented by a coupler print with sandblasted text on glass called You Became Mammie, Mama, Mother, Then, Yes, Confidant-Ha/ Descending the Throne You Became Foot Soldier and Cook from From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995. The piece was estimated at $ $10,000-15,000, and sold for $ 20,000.

You Became Mammie, Mama, Mother, Then, Yes, Confidant-Ha/ Descending the Throne You Became Foot Soldier and Cook from From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995
You Became Mammie, Mama, Mother, Then, Yes, Confidant-Ha/ Descending the Throne You Became Foot Soldier and Cook from From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995

A jazz and blues portfolio by Lee Friedlander was estimated at $40,000-60,000 and was passed. The portfolio includes images of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Robert/Pete Williams, Joe Turner, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Milt Jackson.

Jazz and Blues Portfolio. New York: produced for Q.E.D. Editions, 1983. Seven dye transfer prints.
Jazz and Blues Portfolio. New York: produced for Q.E.D. Editions, 1983. Seven dye transfer prints.