The London Photograph Fair by Christophe Lunn
The London Photographic Fair © Christophe Lunn
Daguerreotypes on the stand of Lisa Tao (London, UK) © Christophe Lunn
Glass plate positives at Peter & Rosemary Banham (UK) © Christophe Lunn
Stereoscopic vies and a viewer © Christophe Lunn
Janette Rosing looking through a stereoscopic viewer and Linus Carr in front of his stand (UK exhibitors) © Christophe Lunn
Hanging the stands (Joseph Delarue, France and Xavier Debeerst, AnamorFose, Belgium) © Christophe Lunn
Three views of Joseph Delarue's stand © Christophe Lunn
Emma Barton, Alma Mater, 1903 - Carbon print (38 x 30,5 cm) courtesy Xavier Debeerst / AnamorFose © Christophe Lunn
The main room © Christophe Lunn
Treasure hunting © Christophe Lunn
Amongst the visitors © Christophe Lunn
Two views of Roland Belgrave's stand (UK) © Christophe Lunn
Travel albums © Christophe Lunn
A 10-panel panorama of Istanbul on the stand of Hanno Schreyer (Bonn, Germany) © Christophe Lunn
Adnan Sezer, consultant and dealer (France) © Christophe Lunn
A Bond street client © Christophe Lunn
The organizer of the fair, James Kerr (London, UK), in front of his booth © Christophe Lunn
The one pound box! © Christophe Lunn
The magnificent print of “Majesty” by Dixon (Photo Verdeau, France) © Christophe Lunn
The London Photograph Fair, held four times a year in the heart of the British capital, is mainly for enthusiasts of photographic objects dating from the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. About 50 dealers exhibit.
James Kerr, who took over the fair at the end of 2010, insists it is not only a showcase for photography but also ethnological and cultural history. Although it is true one finds travel albums and prints by pioneers like Edward Steichen, one can also discover a wide array of techniques, many of which are no longer employed today. Carte-de-visites, Daguerreotypes, stereoscopic views, glass plate negatives or positives, albumen, gelatin silver or carbon prints, gum bichromate or salt paper prints are spread out over exhibitors' tables.
Since last May, several stands benefit from partitions where dealers can hang more valuable prints. Thanks to this added wall space (only in May and November fairs), James Kerr hopes to attract a new breed of buyers.
The fair boasts an average of 200 visitors over the one day. Xavier Debeerst, from the AnamorFose gallery in Belgium, attended the fair in its infancy. "The average age of a visitor then was 95 and the average price of a sale was 1 pound," he remarks ironically. Thankfully for the dealers, things have evolved. Even if the 1 £ box still exists, there is now a clientele for prints or album priced at £ 10,000. (According to the fair organizer, an album sold for £ 40,000 last year).
Exhibitors come from all over Europe, even though most of the tables are booked by British citizens. Dealers also conduct a lot of business amongst themselves. "I reinvest 50% to 100% of my benefits," explains Joseph Delarue, a private dealer from France, who has attended several fairs. Other foreign gallery owners or collectors who cannot make the date send emmissaries to make sure they do not miss out on anything.
The gathering escapes the restrictive atmosphere of galleries and stuffy fairs, where spectators are only active with their eyes. Visitors are encouraged to inspect the merchandise, to leaf through books, to hold glass plates in their fingers, to lift up stereoscopic viewers to the light, to search through boxes of prints, always entertaining the secret hope of unearthing a hidden treasure.
The London Photograph Fair
The Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury
Coram Street, London
WC1N 1HT, Royaume Uni
(near the Russell Square Tube station)
Entrance fee : £ 3,00
Dates for 2012 :
February 26th (tables only)
May 20th (partially boothed)
September 9th (tables only)
November 4th (or 11th) (partially boothed)