In preparation for next month’s photography fairs, exhibits, and auctions, African Diaspora Photography wanted to share information on some of the top black photographers in the photography market. The first is Carrie Mae Weems. In this video segment of Art21, Ms. Weems discusses the life blood of her photography work: narrative and storytelling.
Among the top selling lots at the Swann Galleries Auction of Photographic Literature and Photographs on Thursday, May 14th are Roy De Carava’s portfolio and Moneta Sleet’s photograph of Coretta Scott King and Bernice at the funeral of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The De Carava portfolio of 12 dust-grain photogravures sold for $ 48, 000, hammer price. The portfolio ranked second in overall sales at the auction. Sleet’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph sold for $ 9,000 and ranked number sixteen in overall sales at the auction. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of Malcolm X sold for its low estimate of $ 6,000.
When I shared that I had created this blog with a friend, mentor, and fellow photographer, he quickly asked that I explore with my readers the marketplace that black photographers engage in to sell their work. I told him: “I’m working on it.” I want to make sure I project the “correct voice” when tackling this sensitive topic. Truthfully, today, after engaging with this subject for over twenty years, I am more confused than ever about why black photographers’ work is so grossly undervalued in the international photography market. There, I’ve said it.
I would appreciate hearing your insights and response to my proposition.
At Charles Schwartz Ltd. Photography there are three featured exhibitions on African-American images: “19th Century African-American Carte-de-Visites from the Civil War Era,” “19th Century Photographs of African-Americans and/or by African-American Photographers,” and “African-American Photographer Henry Clay Anderson.”