I did go to an exhibition of her work a few years ago - I would have bought a print if I'd had more money at the time (they sell if I remember rightly for between £200 - £400 which doesn't seem that much to me) - contented myself with the large-size catalogue instead.
Originally Posted by John Bragg
Simply some of the best and most inspiring work I've ever seen.
I wonder how the August Sander family does financially with the portraits of infamous people?
Originally Posted by George Losse
Oh I forgot, Julia Margeret Cameron, Yousef Karsh, Arnold Newman, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Sebastio Salgodo to just name a few.
We could go on and on and on and on.
Of course people are interested in Portraits.
Yes and yes. Though if I was going to buy a portrait of someone it would need to be more than just a portrait - it would have to say something wider about people.
Two photographs that I've seen recently that do this for me are "Girl in bed with a telephone" by Irving Penn and "Beatles Pillow Fight, Paris" by Harry Benson. I don't think the fact that they're famous influences my view. Whether these count as portraits I'll leave for someone else to decide ;-)
People, in photographs, can be very interesting. I like to view them.
Is a Diane Arbus or William Egglestone photograph featuring an individual a portrait?
As Ian posted above, the question of whether or not I'd be interested in buying a portrait depends on how you define portrait.
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Yes, I would love to visit a portrait exhibition; I have done so, and I have exhibited my own portrait work. The best I ever saw was an Eddie Adams exhibition that was here in Puerto Rico a few years ago. All 48x48 or larger, black & white portraits of people who had been imprisoned or persecuted for human rights reasons. Incredible exhibit! Concurrently, there was a Sebastiao Salgado exhibit in another museum! Not exactly portraits like the Adams exhibit, but of people nonetheless. It was interesting to compare the two exhibits.
Originally Posted by Nicole
Would I buy a portrait of a stranger? Yes.
Yes, the name of the photographer would definitely be a factor. But that's not to say I would not buy a portrait by a photographer I had never heard of.
Yes... and yes, sort of! If money were no object, there are plenty of portraits I'd buy, but since it is, I have to make do with making my own
I saw a $9,000 Gertrude Kasebier print at AIPAD last week... like I said, if money were no object!!
A collection doesn't always have to go up on the wall, btw. Sometimes, looking through a portfolio or book can be more satisfying, than seeing just one great print at a time.
I go to every exhibit I can, so I see a good number of protraits. I'd say that I'd buy some if I could afford them, though the ones I'd think of buying are usually in the $10K+ (err, $30K+) territory so... fat chance!
In those cases the photographer is what makes the photo (even if of someone famous). Portraits I've seen in galleries and would have liked to buy has I the space and cash, in the past year, have been by Avedon, Katy Grannan, Irving Penn, Alec Soth, etc.
But the function of such a show can drive markets in different ways. If the portraits were of rockers, they may attract the $ of one particular group. What are the portraits, who do they speak to and why? If the portraits were of notable people in a particular town, perhaps it would attract revenue in a different way. And it's useful for drumming-up business in general (if you can, get the current "Weddings, Events, and Portraits" issue of PDN magazine, which has a section on commission portraiture) -- though not for the gallery owner.
Ultimately, the questions is WHICH portraits?
As an example, these Nixon portraits, recently shown by Jeffrey Fraenkel, are arresting in their own right, undeniably great photographs -- though I can only imagine that the buying audience for them is limited to dedicated photo collectors/museums or people in the medical professions.
I tend to be interested in portraits of those of us who are not famous...and in fact, the last portrait book I bought is The Face of Appalachia which is more an environmental portraiture type book. Some of these people know no other life than what is around the bend from their home...but are happy and you can see it on their wrinkled and bearded faces! Yes, I would go to a portrait exhibition and if I like an image, whoever it may be, I'd purchase it.
I like to visit exhibitions of portraits, but I'm not really interested in having strangers on my walls. I do however try to stump up for the exhibition catalogue, or associated book, and in this case I actually prefer to own books from less well-known photographers: the big names are everywhere and they are easily found if I want to see it again.
If you are thinking of a local exhibition of your own photographs, consider using short-run printing to make an affordable catalogue. Not an $80 MOMA retrospective monster, but a reasonably-priced aide memoire to help people remember and revisit your work.