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Leitz Photographs Auction Shadow and Light: Highlights of the sale in Vienna on November 26


My auction articles for Macfilos have so far dealt solely with cameras and other photographic items. I was delighted recently when I discovered that Leitz Auction included some photographs in its forthcoming auction in Vienna on Saturday, November 26.

Back in the day, when the auction was called Westlicht, there was always a photograph auction on the Friday and a camera auction on the Saturday. Now, under the Leitz name, we are getting both on the same day at the Leitz Auction Photographs. This is to be welcomed, as, without the possibility of making photographs, the existence of cameras would not be justified.

I have chosen 14 photographs from the auction, more or less instinctively, and another author might make a completely different selection. Photographs, in common with all art objects (and even those that are not art), are a matter of personal taste.

What is being sold here, however, is not just a collection of images but also artefacts, original or later high-quality prints, in many cases signed by the photographer. Whether any of these will be framed or hung on a wall is a moot point. As with paintings or old cameras, some people just collect photographs in order to have and hold them

All of the images in this article come courtesy of Leitz Photographica Auction and are used here on a not-for-profit basis for illustrative purposes only.

My Selection

Rudolf Koppitz 1884-1936 ‘Bewegungsstudie (Movement Study)’ 1925

Appropriately enough, my first choice is by an Austrian photographer. I selected it because it could easily be a painting, and I had addressed the interaction between painting and photography in a Zoom talk which I gave last year.

Koppitz is said to have used the Viennese symbolist Jugendstil tradition in creating this image with dancers from the Vienna State Opera. Jugendstil, or youth style, was influential in German-speaking countries from 1895 onwards and could be considered the counterpart of Art Nouveau. I saw a print of this at the London Photo Festival about three years ago, and I was amazed that it was much smaller than I had imagined, but the image is most striking and catches the eye immediately.

Catalogue No 1 Start Price €12,000 Estimate €25,000-30,000

Paul Wolff (1887-1951) ‘Ueberfuehrung bei Heidelberg’ (overpass near Heidelberg) 1935

I chose this because of the association of Paul Wolff with Leica and the fact that in 2018 I travelled from Wetzlar, via nearby Giessen, to Heidelberg. Also, the interplay of shapes in this image is just marvellous to my eye. A lot of Leica scholars have studied Wolff, who is attributed with making the Leica popular with its small negative, large print concept.

He developed darkroom techniques which enabled Barnack’s vision to be fully realised. He is often said to have won a Leica at the Frankfurt Photography Exhibition, but research shows several Leica cameras being delivered to a Dr Paul Wolff at Wetzlar. He was a fine photographer who recorded a difficult time in the history of Germany. He founded the successful firm Wolff and Tritschler with his partner Alfred Tritschler.

Catalogue No 10 Start Price €1,600 Estimate €2,500- 3,000

Mario Giacomelli 1925-2000 ‘lo non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto’ (I have no hands to caress my face) Pretini 1961-63

‘Pretini’ was a study of young priests undergoing training. Despite the fact that I am a Catholic myself, what actually drew me towards this image was the shape created by the young clerical students at play. They also appear to be floating in the air over what seems to have been snow-covered ground. Giacomelli used a camera with a Compur shutter and flash. Through overdevelopment of film and compensatory heavy printing, he achieved the effect of black forms floating over a white background. This example here is certainly a very striking image.

Catalogue No 27 Start Price €3,000 Estimate €5,000-7,000

Joe Rosenthal 1911-2006 ‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’ Japan 1945

For Americans, this is an iconic image which was the basis for the US Marine War Memorial at Arlington, Virginia and also featured in the Clint Eastwood 2006 film ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ which was based on an earlier book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers.

The character of Rosenthal was played in the film by Ned Eisenberg. The remarkable thing about this story is that Rosenthal had been rejected by the US Army because of poor eyesight. After a spell with Associated Press (AP), he joined the US Maritime Service as a photographer, documenting life aboard ships. Then he rejoined AP to follow the US Army and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theatre.

There is a long story about the making of this image, but one of the things that is striking is that Rosenthal was quite short and had to build a platform of stones and a sandbag on which to stand and capture any action. He set his lens somewhere between f/8 and f/11, with a shutter speed of 1/400s. He saw the soldiers erecting the flag out of the corner of his eye and swung around and pushed the shutter. This remarkable image nearly never was, but the same could be said of many historical photographs.

Catalogue No 29 Start Price €3,400 Estimate €6,000-7,000

Bruce Davidson 1933 ‘Jimmy Armstrong, The Dwarf’, The Palisades, New Jersey 1958

Bruce Davidson became an associate at the world-famous Magnum photographic agency at the young age of 25 and a full member a year later. He was encouraged by an archivist there to undertake independent projects, and one of these was with the Clyde Beatty Circus Troupe, lasting for several weeks.

While there, he befriended a dwarf clown called Jimmy Armstrong and the young Davidson formed a strong bond with him. This photo of Jimmy in clown face puffing on a cigarette on the anything-but-luxurious circus lot remains one of Davidson’s finest pieces of work.

Davidson famously was not an objective recorder of his subjects but liked to have empathy with them. This certainly applies to this photo. Davidson went on to have a successful career with his direct style, and he is still with us today.

Catalogue No 40 Start Price €4,000 Estimate €7,000 – 8,000

Elliott Erwitt 1928 Czestochowa Poland 1964

Erwitt, like Bruce Davidson, is also still alive. He is also the only photographer in this selection that I have actually met — at the opening of the new Leica headquarters in Wetzlar in 2014. When I told him I was from Ireland, he explained that he was very proud of the advertising photos he had taken for Aer Lingus (then the Irish national airline).

He did not mention the wonderful images that he took for the Magnum Agency while in the country. A particular favourite of mine is this one from 1962 featuring priests and nuns. Although he came from a Jewish background, Elliott knew how to observe the Catholic faith. This image from Poland in 1964 is just perfect to my eyes, with a man having his confession heard in the street and a queue of further penitents around the corner. One hopes that the confession was being done sotto voce as the whole neighbourhood might have heard everything in the open like that.

Catalogue No 49 Start Price €1,400 Estimate €2,000-2,400

Chris Killip 1946-2020 Terrace Housing , Wallsend Tyneside 1975

Chris is the nearest thing to an Irish photographer in this selection as he came from the Isle of Man, in the middle of the Irish Sea. He also found that he had some Irish Catholic heritage. He discovered this in later life, and this led him to do some work documenting religious observances on the island of Ireland under the title Here Comes Everybody, after a character (HCE) in Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce.

His work has been exhibited at our gallery in Dublin on a number of occasions, but I don’t actually recall meeting him. He died too soon, in 2020. This image could have been taken in Belfast, Glasgow or Tyneside or any of the locations in Britain or Ireland where shipbuilding was once carried out.

What makes this one for me is the contrast between the woman at the door of her little terraced house with the giant ship in the Swan Hunter shipyard behind in Wallsend, Tyneside. This image is definitely evocative of a particular time and place.

Catalogue No 51 Start Price €4,000 Estimate €7,000 – 8,000

Charity Lot – Andre De Dienes (1913-1985) Marilyn Monroe, Tobay Beach 1949

If there has been too much about religion so far, how about some pin-ups? Pin-ups are not really high on most people’s approval ratings these days, but they did exist at one time, and they are now part of the history of photography.

Marilyn’s story is very well known, but what about Andre De Dienes? He was born in Hungary and had been a fashion photographer in Paris in the 1930s before emigrating to the USA in 1938. He picked up work with Esquire, Vogue and Life and by the mid-1940s, he had made his way to Hollywood, where he was introduced to a young Marilyn.

These photos were taken in 1949, still early in Marilyn’s career, after she had suggested that they should do photos and “make history”. The pictures were taken on Tobay Beach, New York, in the late afternoon sunlight, and they capture 23-year-old Marilyn at her most natural with windswept and tousled hair. Marilyn and De Dienes were in contact up until about a year before her death. This lot is being sold in aid of an unspecified charity in Austria. Usually, the name of the recipient body is announced after the auction.

Catalogue No 54 Start Price € 4,000 Estimate €8,000-10,000

William Klein (1926-2022) ‘Bikini Moscow’ 1959

William Klein is not a photographer whose work has engaged me very much, but photographers whose work I respect have high regard for his output. Klein was born in the USA, but after Army Service, he settled in France, where he studied at the Sorbonne. A lot of his work was in the fashion field, but he also developed a documentary style and, indeed, he made documentary films as well as feature films.

We are, therefore, talking about a multi-talented visual artist. This photograph was taken in Moscow in 1959. The young woman in the bikini cannot hide her delight at being photographed. She probably did not realise that Klein was using a wide-angle lens to capture her less-than-impressed grandparents behind her. This type of photography, with other people in the frame as well as the main subject, is something that appeals to me, so I must look further into Klein’s work.

Catalogue No 59 Start Price €3,000 Estimate €5,000- 6,000

Vivian Maier (1926- 2009) Self Portrait Chicago 1950s/1960s

Some years ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I went to see the film Finding Vivian Maier, and it was an emotional experience. John Maloof, a collector like myself, had bought boxes of negatives at an auction and had set off, as I did with my Swiss Roll Photos, to try and find out who had taken the images and what their motivation was.

Many of the images were of very high quality, in particular, those which featured the photographer Vivian Maier. Vivian had been a nanny and housekeeper in New York and Chicago for 40 years, and, in some senses, she could be said to resemble Mary Poppins with a camera.

Yet these self-portraits have an extraordinary poignance to them. A lonely-looking woman, dressed like a nanny, with a Rolleiflex or a Leica, taking photographs of herself in mirrors, windows and doors, and yet she does not look anything like a narcissist.

These images add to the air of mystery, as do the other features of Vivian’s life which emerge in the film, such as her relationships with the families with whom she worked and her trips to France. Viewing this film should be compulsory for anyone with an interest in photography and its nature and what it depicts. It is also an interesting story at a human level, even for those with no interest in photography. It is no wonder that there is now a high demand for the photographs of this unusual but remarkably talented woman

Catalogue No 63 Start Price €2,400 Estimate €4,000-5,000

Hiro ( 1930-2021 ) ‘The Kiss’ New York 1968

Hiro was a Japanese-origin (actually born in Shanghai) American photographer called Yasuhiro Wakabayashi who worked as a commercial photographer in the USA. He worked for Richard Avedon before joining Harper’s Bazaar and later branching out as a freelance.

His photographs are said to have been noted for their elegance and clean appearance. This image is very close up and graphic, and yet it is most striking and immediately catches the eye. The item being sold is a dye transfer print made in 1988 and is signed, titled and dated by the photographer on the reverse.

Catalogue No 77 Start Price €2,400 Estimate €4,000-5,000

Ernst Haas (1921-1986) ‘Leaping Horse’ from the ‘Misfits’ Nevada 1960

Haas was born in Austria and emigrated to the US after World War II following his appointment by Robert Capa as Magnum’s US Vice President. His early life included being in a labour camp and having to leave medical school because of his Jewish ancestry.

He first hit the headlines in 1947 with a photo essay called ‘Homecoming’ about returning prisoners of war. While in the United States, he worked mainly as a documentary photographer and became renowned for his work with Kodachrome.

Among the many strings to his bow was his work as a film stills photographer, and that is where this item comes from. The film itself, The Misfits, was a relative flop, but it also achieved a certain amount of notoriety, and it starred Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. The script was by Monroe’s husband, Arthur Miller, but by the time filming started, their relationship had begun to break down.

In more recent years, the film has been more highly regarded, long after the principals had passed away. This dramatic photo shows the high quality of images often produced on film sets, but how many people actually saw this back in 1961, when the film was released, is unclear.

Catalogue No 84 Start Price €1,600 Estimate €2,500-3,000

Thomas Hoepker (1936) ‘9/11’ New York City 2001

Thomas Hoepker was born in Germany and went to the US when he was about 40 in 1976. Prior to that, he had done a lot of photojournalism work for Stern magazine. One of his most famous works features the fist of boxer Muhammed Ali, and when I was in Wetzlar last June, I saw a photograph that he took of Ali pointing one of Hoepker’s Leicas at the photographer.

This particular photograph caused some degree of upset and unfavourable comment in the US when it was published in 2006 (Hoepker had kept it under lock and key for five years) as it appears to show some young people having a nice social day out not too far away the devastation of the Twin Towers. Also, they appear to be more concerned with interacting with each other than with the tragic events unfolding across the water.

Hoepker, however, has always stuck to his belief that what he records is what he sees. He sees himself as a witness. He feels that “starting a conversation or asking permission would instantly change any scene” that he stumbled on in real life. There is a lot of food for discussion in this about the nature of photography and the use of a camera as a recording tool.

Photography has come a long way since this photograph was taken, and not all of that has been for the better. Much of what we see today has been set up and posed for, often for purposes of use on social media. I have a lot of empathy with the viewpoint of Thomas Hoepker.

Catalogue No 98 Start Price €15,000 Estimate €25,000 – 30,000

Todd Hido (1968) ‘No 11793-9406 (from the series “Bright Black World”) 2017

Todd Hido is very much the youngest photographer in this selection, and I must confess that, before doing this article, I had only seen a few mentions of his name. Yet, this striking image immediately caught my eye as I looked through the catalogue, not only because of the colours but also for its subject matter.

With the exception of the Paul Wolff ‘near Heidelberg’ image, all the other images in this article feature people to a greater or lesser extent. In this case, we see a very dark scene, which is apparently often a feature of his work and then the bright motel sign shrouded in mist to create an eerie mood without the need to feature any humans. Whether it contains any emotions or creates emotions by itself is something possibly worthy of discussion, but, for me, it just works.

Catalogue No 99. Start Price €7,000 Estimate €12,000- 14,000

Art versus artefact

Readers of my earlier article on the Leitz Camera Auction (which will take place in Vienna on the same day) will notice that the images produced by such cameras sell for a lot less than the devices themselves. On the other hand, paintings usually sell for a lot more than paints and paintbrushes.

The ‘art versus artefacts’ discussion is an interesting one, but a lot of this may relate to the fact that, for many people, a photograph is something that can be reproduced, but, outside of fakes and copies, that is not the case with paintings.

This is something with which the photographic community has grappled for a long time. As the chairperson of the largest stand-alone photography gallery in my country, I am always thinking about how the status of photography as a visual art can be elevated.

Digital photography has, if anything, made this situation worse, such is the ease with which images can be produced, and it also makes matters worse for curators, dealers and auction houses, such is the volume of imagery now being produced on a daily basis. Of the images shown here, only the Todd Hido item might have been produced with a digital camera. Does this matter, and does this mean that photography is getting worse? More food for thought.

Christmas gift

Finally, we had a discussion here recently, under the heading of Joerg-Peter Rau’s Christmas Gift ideas, about buying photographs as gifts for our friends. Some readers might say that they were not thinking of such high-priced items. Still, even if you are not interested in this auction, it might be worthwhile looking at the results to see what value society (or the market) places upon the printed works of some of the finest practitioners of the art and processes, which we love so much.


    • Thanks, George. Try the link in the second paragraph above. There should be a description of the nature of each print in the catalogue under the numbers I have given. There is a considerable amount of variation, but the auction house would have checked the details in advance.


  1. A wonderful selection William. I particularly like Chris Killip’s photo. I saw what was left of the Tyne shipyards in the late 2010s and it was a desolate shore. The Tyne shipyards remind me of a song by Sting (island of souls) with a nice introduction by a uileann pipe
    Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks, Jean. Check out Chris’s work from Ireland. He also visited here a lot to photograph, exhibit and to give talks at our gallery/museum. He is very much missed and fondly remembered. The Irish connection with the North East of England goes back to 634 AD when the Irish monk St Aidan founded the monastery at Lindisfarne.

      Next week I will be speaking at the launch of the exhibition of work by another master photographer, Tony O’Shea, a long time Leica user, whose work was acclaimed by the members of Leica Society International at the recent conference in Dublin. We moved the conference for one evening to Photo Museum Ireland for this.


      • A very interesting selection. Thank you, William.

        The Photographers’ Gallery in London is currently hosting a Chris Killip retrospective exhibition. Well worth seeing and on display there until 19 Feb 2023.


        • Thanks, Alan. Photo Museum Ireland, which I chair, is more or less, the Irish equivalent to the Photographers Gallery in London and we have feature Chris’s work many times. There is a new retrospective book on the work of Chris Killip which was published recently by Thames and Hudson to coincide with the Paris Photo Festival.


  2. Wow! What a wonderful collection of images. Every one of them is outstanding. I could happily study them individually for hours to understand them. Thank you for the article!

    • Thanks. I had fun choosing these photographs and even more fun writing about them and the photographers who created these images. There are many more in the catalogue. it is very much a matter of personal taste, of course.


  3. Other than the photographs, which are great in themselves, I especially like the introduction to each that you have so kindly researched and described. Some were old friends and some new. I haven’t added a photographic book to the sagging shelves for a while now but a Chris Killip retrospective after his recent passing has brought out one that I am very tempted to get.

    • Thanks, Farhiz. Yes, that book, which I mentioned to Alan above, is really tempting. Is there a society or institution in India which is pushing for more recognition for Indian photographers and their work?


  4. Dear William,
    thank you for your well-researched article and your wonderful personal selection of photographs.
    It is always a matter of taste and memories that let us prefer one image over the other which makes a selection like this so personal and interesting to read!
    We were trying to have a widespread, diverse selection in our catalogue with the same high quality standard equal to the camera auction. The photographs are signed and/or stamped and all details are well described in the captions, we provided images of the backsides as well as condition reports for all lots from vintage prints to later prints.
    If anyone would like to browse through all 100 photographs, there is a flip-catalogue. Please follow the link https://fullcataloguephotographs.leitz-auction.com/mobile/index.html

    All the best from Vienna, Caroline

    • Yes, those like Walker Evans’, Otto Steinert, David Douglas Duncan or Bill McBride “warriors” are jewels, though just the first is a numbered edition; my previous post inquired about.

    • Thanks, Caroline, and well done to you and all of the team at Leitz Auction in getting this put together. The catalogue itself is wonderful and thanks for the link to the flip catalogue. I have also been in touch with your colleague Anna about the auction. I agree that, as regards photographs, personal taste is important. In choosing 14 examples for this article, I not only used personal taste, but I also tried to give a broad view of what is in the catalogue, just as I did with my earlier article about the camera auction. I also included photographers whose other work I have liked, such as Erwitt, Maier and Killip.

      I probably had more fun writing this article than writing the one about the cameras. While I have written here many times before about vintage cameras, this is one of the first times that I have written extensively about a wide range of photographers. This has allowed me to give some of my own opinions about photography.

      Best of luck with the auction on 26th November. I hope that you will include photographs in the June 2023 auction in Wetzlar, which I may attend myself.


  5. William
    Thank you for writing an engaging article which towards the end, you posed some fundamental philosophical questions about photography. I quote:
    “Of the images shown here, only the Todd Hido item might have been produced with a digital camera. Does this matter, and does this mean that photography is getting worse?”
    No, photography is not getting worse, it is just changing. It is becoming more accessible to all with every new smartphone bought. However, serious and artistic photography still prevails in my view.

    You also ask:
    “As the chairperson of the largest stand-alone photography gallery in my country, I am always thinking about how the status of photography as a visual art can be elevated.”

    My view is as an art form, it is already elevated. In 2015 I visited Tate Modern at St Ives, Cornwall and was enthralled by the exhibition. The two links below contain articles which should keep any Macfilos’ reader engrossed for hours.




    • Thanks, Chris. Based on our previous interactions I think that you and I agree generally about photography. The ‘digital turn’, as academics might call it, applies not just to photography, but also to many aspects of our lives such as the way we read, the way we communicate, the way we learn and way we create images etc, etc. 25 years ago this website would probably have been a magazine and we would have been writing letters with our views to ‘Editor Evans’ and signing them ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ or something like that. The issue with digital material, of all kinds, is not only the volume but also the ‘turnover’ where images and other material appear online for a few days or weeks and then disappear into a vast cyber back catalogue. The printed page and the printed image have a much longer life cycle and, with such longevity, it is easier to tell which are the really good ones with lasting power.

      Yes, everyone here ‘elevates’ photography, but it makes little impact on the general population. I have lost count of the number of well educated people who don’t know where Photo Museum Ireland (or under its previous title of over 30 years Gallery of Photography Ireland) is. They all know where the National Gallery of Ireland is and they might look at some photographs there, if they have already gone in to see some paintings. People who go to painting lessons go to ‘art classes’, whereas people who go to photography lessons, well, just go to photography lessons. Given the choice between hanging a painting or a photograph on their walls which would most people choose? Then there was the woman in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which had been largely closed for renovations, who was asking about where could she see some art. I was walking by as she asked a staff member about this and I pointed out that she could see some nice photographs ‘in the other building’, to which she retorted ” But, I want to see art”. I replied ” Photography can be art”. She then saw the Leica ever ready case hanging from my shoulder and said ” I can see where you are coming from”. I left the scene, feeling that conversion might be difficult.

      I know that I am jumping from the specific to the general and that there are issues about reproduction etc, etc. I’ll leave this with a question. Ask some normal reasonably well educated people to name 5 famous painters and then to name 5 famous photographers. Most might manage the 5 painters, but, if they are above a certain age, after David Bailey, they would get stuck.

      The Tate building in St Ives is marvellous. The only time I was there was about 11 years ago and it was filled to the brim with white balloons. If your email is still the same I can send some photos to you.


      • William,

        Yes, my email address is the same and I can reciprocate with my photographs of the Tate, St Ives.

        In response to your comment about “turnover”, I’d like to quote an extract from John Shingleton’s excellent article; “Photo competitions: make the most of your pictures”, published on 26 April 2019, in which he discusses Instagram.

        “Up comes a photo and then it is swiped away. All that effort you put into crafting an image and all it gets is a momentary viewing and arguably little or no appreciation. And don’t be fooled by some of the Instagram photography accounts which apparently have thousands of followers and every photo they post gets tens of thousands of ‘likes’. It’s usually all fake.”

        Yes, there are so many photographs out there of questionable quality and as you say, excellent photographs can get swept along with others in this digital tide. At least here at Macfilos, our Editor applies his standard to make sure that only images which meet his standards are published. So, Macfilos is a little oasis of a blog where like-minded people come together to share their views and photographs.

        You ask, what do people have on their walls? I have a mixture of my landscape photographs and prints of famous paintings. I also have photographs of paintings from such artists as; Constable, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
        However, this photography of paintings could be the subject of a future article.

        As for naming five famous artists, well here the public have at least 600 years of European artists to choose from, whilst photography has only had about 140 years’ worth of notable photographers. Perhaps it is that previous generations as part of their school curriculum, have not had the benefit of learning about the arts in general. They therefore don’t appreciate that photography can be an art form as opposed to a medium just for “selfies”.


        • Thanks, Chris
          Plenty of food for thought there. John Shingleton is correct, of course, but that is the ‘way of the world’ right now. We cannot do King Canute, but rather we have to deal with what we have.

          Mike does a marvellous job here at Macfilos, but so do other editors and curators around the world and there is always more material than they can use. We have 3 curators in our organisation here in Dublin and they always have to make choices about what goes into and what stays out of exhibitions, even ones involving just one photographer.

          As for what becomes regarded as great photography and who are regarded as the great photographers, there is a whole cohort of people here, involving curators, editors, judges (in photo competitions), publishers, authors, critics, academics, galleries, museums and, of course, the public. In regard to the last named, the concept of great photography, and what separates the good from the great, has not really entered public consciousness to any great degree. I’m not suggesting a visual literacy campaign, but perhaps someone needs to write an accessible ‘masterwork’ about photography in a way that captures that public imagination. Works by Berger and Sontag and others are good, but are perhaps too ‘high brow’ to catch a really wide audience.

          I don’t see that photography would have the same level of appreciation as painting by the time that is around for 600 years. Photography has to get over the concept that it is the machine which is creating the image rather than the photographer. This would need to involve the concepts of choosing and framing and timing which, along with other factors, are critical for good or great photography. This could be taught as a form of basic visual literacy, but I’m wary of leaving this entirely to teachers and academics.

          I’ll leave it at that for the time being.


          • William
            I agree totally with your sentiments. I have a book entitled, “Photography and the Art of Seeing” by Freeman Patterson, a Canadian who published his book in 1989. The last paragraph of his preface states and I quote,
            “Good seeing doesn’t ensure good photographs, but good photographic expression is impossible without it. The art of seeing IS the art of photography”.

            Developing an art is a skill, as opposed to just acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately, there are not that many people out there who can act as coaches in developing the art of seeing.


  6. Thank you very much William for curating and sharing with us this remarkable collection of photographs. I greatly appreciate the effort you invested in providing a detailed account of each photograph, what it represents, and the person who took it. The shot taken from above of the priests having a whale of a time, circling while holding hands or lounging on the ground, stood out for me in so many ways. The choice of vantage point and the timing of the shutter release are two factors under the control of the photographer that make it a great photo, along with the extensive post-processing you describe. But also the sight of grown men playing together in this way, apparently care-free and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company, was such a surprise. I shall also be reflecting further on the points you raised regarding the place of photography versus painting in today’s culture. Thanks again William. All the best, Keith

    • Thanks Keith. As I said before, I had great fun doing this. In some cases I have written mainly about the photographs and in other cases mainly about the photographer. Both are interesting, of course. The one of the student priests dancing in a circle in the snow must have been taken from a high vantage point and Giacomelli must have know what he was looking for. Today we would use a drone and could take as many shots as are necessary to get the desired effect. He must also have had a good relationship with his subjects. I’ve just noticed that the link I asked to be put into the Erwitt piece was not put in. This links to a photograph taken by Elliott Erwitt in Ireland in 1962 (I mentioned it in the text) showing two groups, one of priests and one of nuns walking at 90 degrees towards one another. I suspect that Erwitt set that up and asked the priests and nuns to walk across the scene in the fashion shown. If you search for ‘Elliott Erwitt, Priests and Nuns, Ireland 1962’ you should find it.


  7. As a boy, my father used to take me to Charlton Athletic home games. He had been an enthusiastic supporter and fundraiser for the club since he was a young man. He had raised enough money selling lottery tickets, to buy the floodlights and build and open the club shop. Before that, all matches were played in daylight, and during the dark winter months, football was suspended due to bad light.

    He had started going to their matches after his initially preferred club, Arsenal (then known as Woolwich Arsenal FC) had moved to Highbury in Islington north London, leaving little Charlton as the only remaining local club. Before television, watching and supporting football was an entirely local ‘thing’.

    As a significant fundraiser, he had been rewarded for his efforts and had been appointed a director, an entirely honorary position, since we, as a family had never made big money at anything. Like most, we got by.

    There were always a couple of hours after the end of the match, during which the visiting and home directors and managers would dissect the game and get a bit sloshed in the process. Meanwhile, we kids would amuse ourselves by kicking a ball up and down the tunnel trying to score goals by getting a ball past one another, or playing snooker on the half size table that with wooden covers on, had served as the table on which halftime tea and coffee had been served.

    From the earliest days, Charlton had been nicknamed “the Addicks” since the local fishmonger had provided a fish supper for the players after their home games. Haddock was (in those days) the cheapest wet fish.

    Later on, Dad took me to some of their away games and I remember on one occasion when remarkably, at half time we were leading Fulham (at Craven Cottage) 4-1. A long haired Fulham fan stormed up to the edge of the directors box, shoved his angry face right into the face of Tommy Trinder, a wartime comedian and the chairman and club owner, and screamed… What ya gonna do about it Trinder?

    He immediately replied… A haircut and trim would be a good start! The sign and quick wit of a real comedian.

    I was reminded of this yesterday, when for some reason, I wondered whether the Charlton Chairman’s son Jonathan Gliksten was mentioned anywhere on the internet.

    Turns out he has had a long and moderately successful career racing Porsche GT cars in Australia. I immediately wondered whether John Shingleton has had any interaction with, or knowledge of him?


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