The images below link to posts from our daily collecting guide, Peter's quotes, notes and reflections from forty years of collecting and dealing in photography. Started during lockdown and continued by popular demand for almost three years now, daily posts are sent by email to our mailing list subscribers, with live works for sale and related works to explore, as well as advance previews of exhibitions and events.
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Marilyn Monroe, on the Nevada desert going over her lines for a difficult scene she is about to play with Clark Gable in the film, "The Misfits" by John Huston, 1960
“Although she seems uncertain, her understanding of what would make her a movies star was so great. The need also was so great. The intelligence was there too. She created Marilyn. She created that character, it wasn’t the movies that did it. She did it. She had much more control with a still camera than in the movies. We would discuss what we were going to do and then we would play. We used to laugh a lot. It was great.
Neither one of us knew what we were doing and that was a bond between us. Secondly, I was not a threat to her. I had six sessions with her. The shortest was two hours which was a press event, and the longest was two months on the set of “The Misfits”. Her enemy was that she couldn’t sleep, so she would take sleeping tablets. I saw an enormous change in her over the ten years that I photographed her. In that time she had gone from a beginner to a world figure and it had taken its toll. She created “Marilyn Monroe” but it was very hard on her. To my knowledge as long as she could fantasize about being a movie star she was fine. It was when the fantasy became the reality that it was hard”
~ Eve Arnold
(1912 - 2012)
“A nice girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none”
~ Marilyn Monroe
(1926 - 1962)
Bratsk, Siberia, 1967
"I was doing a magazine story about the hydroelectric dam in Bratsk, which at that time was the largest in the world, but when you’re in a place you want to look around as well so I walked into this wedding palace. You can read anything you want into it. I think that if you explain pictures it’s like explaining jokes, or as a friend of mine used to say “It’s like dissecting a frog: once it’s dissected it’s dead". If it hits you, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. A picture has more than content, it has also a position, a style and so forth, so if you get something out of it, it’s good enough: if you get something beyond that, it’s even better"
~ Elliott Erwitt
“I’ve always known that I didn’t know what I was looking for, that the quest was more important than the prize, that was enough to keep me going”
~ Sarah Moon
Le Baiser de l'Opéra, 1950
“Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile. The world I was trying to present was one where I would feel good, where people would be friendly, where I could find the tenderness I longed for. My photos were like a proof that such a world could exist.”
~ Robert Doisneau
Le Pont Neuf, Paris, 1948
“Every photo is my first photo. I have avoided nothing, roads, trains, plains, tiredness, departures, passions, morning light, desire for others, life. People often ask me “How did you begin?” I like to answer: “With light". I look out every morning, like a farmer, at the grey and white sky of Paris. I wake with the promise of sunshine”
~ Edouard Boubat(1923 - 1999)
Backstage at the Folies Bergeres, 1960/Printed 2002
“To me exotic is a subway ticket away from my home. There is no need for me to buy a round trip ticket to Japan. I photographed people not always without cruelty, certainly, but with an impassioned interest with a lucid tenderness”
~ Jean-Philippe Charbonnier
Sugar Ray Robinson, 1951
“To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will”
~ Sugar Ray Robinson
“Everywhere I look and most of the time I look, I see photographs”
~ Bert Hardy
Voter Registration Demonstration outside the Dallas County Courthouse, Students with Quimtella Harrell, center, age 10, Selma, Alabama, March 5, 1965
“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself.”
~ Martin Luther King
"The child marchers and protesters were some of the most inspiring participants of the Civil Rights movement to me. The authorities arrested thousands of people who were demonstrating for voting rights primarily in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. The jails were overflowing. They used a sports stadium in Selma to detain people. I realized the kids had formed a certain resolve. They’d seen their parents forced to live a certain way, and they weren’t going to do that. When I saw that, I knew change was imminent. These young students, considering the threat of violence they faced, acted very heroically. One young lady in particular stands out in my mind to this day — Quintella Harrel, a demonstrator for voter registration who was only ten. Her face had that resolve, and to me, she personified inevitable change."
~ Dan Budnick
(1933 - 2020)
La Partition, Paris 1982
“My pictures do not only belong to me”
~ Edouard Boubat
Jacques Tati, Paris, 1949
"Jacques is the most meticulous person I know. He spent 2 hours taking the old bicycle to pieces. He has the same patience with every kind of mechanism. A gag is just another piece of clockwork”
~ Robert Doisneau
“The images are designed so that after you see the picture 2 or 3 times, it’s no longer my film. It starts to be your film. You recognize the people, you know them and you don’t even know who directed the picture. “Play Time” is nobody.
~ Jacques Tati
For Bill Blass, 1993
“In this world of illusion, moments are rare. For a moment to become reality it needs to have a “before” and an “after”, it needs to be related but forgotten in order to be found again”
~ Sarah Moon
“Simplicity is the soul of modern elegance”
~ Bill Blass
Varanasi, India, 1956
“For me photography is a passion, closer to an obsession. It is not an intellectual process. It is a visual one. While shooting, if we think too much we miss the birdie. A good photograph is a surprise. How could we plan a surprise? We just have to be ready.”
~ Marc Riboud
Love Poem, Chicago, 1967
"I was able to look through that camera and to see things that I loved. I loved my community. I love my people as I do now"
~ John Simmons
“In 1963, Mrs Kennedy came to London for a visit with her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, who lived there. I read the daily press bulletin from Buckingham Palace and saw they were expected for lunch with the Queen. I ran from outside Princess Radziwill’s home to Buckingham Palace and took this photograph as their limousine was about to turn into the gate. Recently when I showed the photograph to a close friend of Mrs Kennedy’s he immediately said, "That was taken before 1963", And when I asked how he knew, he replied simply, “Because Jackie never smiled that way again after 1963.”
~ Harry Benson
“The children have been a wonderful gift to me and I’m thankful to have once again seen our world through their eyes. They restore my faith in the family’s future”
~ Jacqueline Kennedy
Elton John, Dodger Stadium, 1975
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone work so hard in my life, be so dedicated to putting on a show that the crowd would remember for the rest of their lives. It’s hard to forget an event like that, whether you were on the stage or off. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing”
“John’s Saturday and Sunday appearances were indeed akin to a World Series for rock music fans. Not only is singer-composer-pianist, John, the biggest star in pop music, but his weekend concerts marked the first time a rock act had played Dodger Stadium - the city’s most prestigious and best designed outdoor athletic facility - since the Beatles in 1966. The audience response predictably was tumultuous at times”
~ Robert Hilburn, Times Pop Music Critic, Los Angeles Times, Monday October 27, 1975
Le Manege De Mr. Barre, 1955
“I hate ugliness, it makes me physically ill. But melancholy and compassion, these may be minor values but they’re the ones that move me most of all.”
Le Cinema, 1995
“It could happen any day, anytime, any season. I am outside walking, wherever cars and people are whirling around. Fleeting thoughts vanishing through my mind, probably dealing with what I am out for, or supposed to be out for. But there is nothing I can grab, I am just there “in the turning world"
Charing Cross Road from No. 84, (Marks & Co.), 1936
I've never "arranged" my photographs, I've always been an observer."
~ Wolfgang Suschitzky
Fondamente Nuove, Venice, 1959
“The sun, which was already a little low created sharp silhouettes against the back light. I switched out the 28mm for the exact opposite, the 135 mm which would best form the image that I was hoping for and which I could already see in my head. Just as I hoped a little girl stepped on to the bridge. A single click”
~ Willy Ronis(1910-2009)
Beatles Composing, Paris, 1964
“It seemed John and Paul could compose anywhere.They would wander over to the piano, sit down and start playing, taking no notice of what was going on around them. Here in their George V Hotel suite they were composing “I Feel Fine”. George and Ringo wandered over and started to join in. It was fascinating to watch how intense they were while creating a song"
~ Harry Benson
La Derniere Valse Du 14 Juillet, 1949
"People like my photos because they see in them what they would see if they stopped rushing about and took the time to enjoy the city."
~ Robert Doisneau
Florence Sous La Neige, Paris, 1959
"The wandering photographer sees the same show that everyone else sees. He, however, stops to watch it."
~ Edouard Boubat
(1923 - 1999)
Coretta Scott King & Family, 1968
“On April 4, 1968 amidst rising racial tension, Martin Luther King Jr, was shot while the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis,Tennessee. America was shocked, stunned and again pitched into the nightmare of violent death and public agony, not five years after President John F Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. I was nearby and flew to Memphis and then on to Atlanta to cover the funeral. Arriving in advance of the plane that was carrying the body of the slain civil rights leader, I moved out of the photographers’ allotted area on the tarmac for a moment and caught one frame of his widow, Coretta Scott King and their children as they prepared to step down from the plane. Crowds lined up outside the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to quietly view the casket and pay tribute to the slain leader.”
~ Harry Benson
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation”
~ Coretta Scott King
(1927 - 2006)
Marianne Lah Swannell in Laura Ashley, 1980 (Printed 2022)
"Laura Ashley asked me to photograph some of her summer collection in the studio. I told her they need to be photographed in the countryside because her dresses were considered “romantic”. She said “Why don’t you come and stay at my house in Wales as I’m going on holiday” So Marianne Lah who was my girlfriend and I drove to Wales. We took no hair, make up or stylist. Just the two of us. The countryside around her house was spectacular. I just had to point the camera”
~ John Swannell
“I don’t like ephemeral things. I just like things that last forever”
~ Laura Ashley
Sophie Litvak et le petit chien (Sophie with little dog), Paris, 1952
“Darling, you are in love with my camera!”
~ Georges Dambier
The Who, 1980
“I was aware that Pete Townshend might be difficult as he had a history of being impossible with the press. On the contrary, I found him to be very cooperative to the point of giving orders to everyone around him that I was to have complete access and could even go on stage during a performance”
~ Harry Benson
Kew Gardens, London, 1948
“I am a lucky man. I can do something with almost anything I see. Everything is still interesting to me"
~ André Kertész
“Crowds of skiers were waiting to catch a glimpse of the elegant former First Lady who was on holiday with her children. You could tell it was her from a mile away, even in a ski mask with the signature sunglasses propped on her head. You could still see her eyes - those eyes like no others”
~ Harry Benson
Bob Dylan, New York Apartment [holding guitar], February 1963
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with their freedom”
~Bob Dylan (b. 1941)
4th of July Fireworks, 1962Bruce is one of the great Magnum photographers best known for his gritty urban work. This is a rare gem in his archive. Full of wonderment, humanity and hope.
March on Washington - Martin Luther King Jr. after delivering his, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., August 28, 1963
"I need to become completely anonymous if I’m to capture the essence, the root fact about the person and not merely their surface."
Trailer - Camp Children, Richmond, California
Ansel Adams is justly celebrated for his epic depictions of majestic landscapes, but this rare, little discussed, haunting image of displaced children shows his profound empathy for humanity. Certainly on a par with his close colleague Dorothea Lange’s, “Migrant Mother”, certainly no less powerful.
Small Apples, 1984
I was visiting our great friend and artist, Pentti Sammallahti, in Helsinki and I casually said to him, “Perhaps there is another great photographer in Finland I should meet?”
Senator John F. Kennedy at the Capitol, Washington DC, 1953
This is my favorite Arnold Newman image. Such a great environmental portrait with a true sense of destiny as JFK looks to the future. Where is our leader now?
Woman's Hands, 1956 (printed 1991)Wynn Bullock, to my mind, is one the greatest 20th Century photographers. Often eclipsed by his more well known contemporaries, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. This is a haunting portrait of his mother’s hands taken in his modest house in Carmel in 1956. The beauty of the print just knocks me out and is the definition of the word “primal”.
The Steerage, 1907
Of course, “The Steerage” is one of the most celebrated images in the history of photography. For good reason as its' genius graphic construction and human empathy is utterly timeless.