Originally Posted by Loathing
Gentleman I have some questions, and I'd appreciate your help:
I'd like to start collecting photography, but I know nothing about buying; I'm particularly interested in vintage photographs and photography classics; where's a good place to buy such photographs? (I'm based in London, but travel to NYC.) And is it even possible to buy classics at prices that aren't astronomical? Are there such things as post facto
reprints as with say woodcut prints by Matisse?
I don't really have a budget in mind, I was simply thinking about looking around at what's available.
Thanks in advance to anyone who answers.
Although my sartorial knowledge may be limited, I worked for many years in the art world (both at the Metropolitan Museum) and a private gallery. So, this is slightly more in my wheelhouse. Post facto, as you say, is certainly available and will likely be noted as "estate prints." Obviously only those photographers notable enough to have an estate would be included. Estates are represented in a similar fashion to any living artist, often with an exclusive deal with a gallery.
Although you'll easily be able to do your own research on reputable galleries, one of the most significant is here in San Francisco: Fraenkel.
The great thing about photography is its reproducibility and democratic nature. There has been a significant rise in recent years in the collecting of anonymous photography; the ephemeral and not necessarily consciously artistic works of earlier ages. Though the individual works may not be for the person looking to show off famous names to his friends, you are empowered to curate a body of work which gains value because of its collective context. I would recommend watching a recent documentary (Black, White + Gray) on Sam Wagstaff, Robert Mappelthorpe's benefactor and lover, for an image of how this can be done with excellence.