Connect with us

Collector's Focus

Gallery Trends



By Daniel Cooney

When considering the current trends in commercial photography galleries, there are the obvious and already well-stated. Digital manipulation has become the norm, as have large, bold color images. Many galleries known for their emphasis on photography have begun to integrate non-photographic mediums into their programs, and the search for the next “young art star” is more intense than ever.
Something I have begun to notice lately is the reemergence of black and white photography in contemporary art. While it might not yet be considered a “trend,” I am starting to see a trickle of black and white images by working artists. While conducting research for this article I contacted a few colleagues who said they were also beginning to notice this, but only in bits and pieces. Many said they did not see it at all.

I started to consider this idea when one of my artists, Sarah Pickering, explained to me that her new series of photographs include both color and black and white images. The idea made sense, considering the series and the varied formats of her previous work. The idea of mixing black and white and color was exciting to me. I brought up the idea to a collector whose opinion I value greatly. He pointed out the recent exhibition of Vera Lutter’s monumental black and white photographs at Gagosian Gallery and the wonderful exhibition at Postmasters by Anthony Goicolea. Later he followed up with an e-mail mentioning Gregory Crewdson’s Fireflies exhibition at Skarstedt Fine Art and the integration of black and white images in Sarah Anne Johnson’s work shown at Julie Saul’s recently.

I enjoy the thought that black and white is being “reintroduced” to the world of image making, considering photography was black and white for most of it’s history. It is inspiring to see the work of artists who never abandoned the practice. One of the reasons I love photography and feel compelled to devote my life to it is that there is no other artistic medium that is constantly challenged by technology. Photography was born of technological advances and has continued to evolve because of those continuous advances.

On this subject, Sarah Morthland of Archive Consulting and Management Services in New York had this to say, “In no other artistic arenas are processes so easily dismissed as obsolete, or identified so strongly as belonging only to certain eras. Large color works are now ubiquitous and have lost some of their initial impact. It would be a natural tendency for artists to turn to black and white as another option in terms of utilizing whatever process best complements and promotes what they desire to express, rather than suffering the constraints of technological developments in the medium to provide the only acceptable source of materials for the creation of contemporary works of art.”

The collector who I mentioned earlier added, “As a collector of photography for nearly 15 years, I’m not sure if I’m convinced that black and white is a trend, as much as simply another way for artists to express themselves. Today, there are some great examples of contemporary photographers stretching their craft into the black and white realm. It seems odd to think of black and white as a stretch, but after years of big color, it feels like a refreshing venture. There is simplicity to black and white images. When color is taken out, the image becomes the main focus.” Charlotte Cotton notes in her essay The New Color: The Return of Black and White, “I am sure I’m not alone in beginning to think that the more complex, messy, unfashionable and broad territory of black and white photography is where we are going to find some of the grist to the mill in photography’s substantive and longer term positioning within art.”

From the perspective of the artists, Anthony Goicolea commented on the use of black and white imagery in his recent work, “I was interested in playing with the idea of traditional black and white photography versus digital and I like the film noir references and that it undermines the technology behind the image.” Sarah Pickering added a similar voice, “I’m currently using black and white as it suits the subject matter, dark and monochromatic environments. My work appears to have digital manipulation and I have been asked about that in my previous work where there was none. Although photography has always had the potential for manipulation, authenticity is much more of a concern now that digital technology has permeated the medium. I enjoy this ambiguity and with my new work I’m returning to traditional silver gelatin printing, but using digital methods.”

Looking to the future it seems that traditional black and white printing may become less common as silver-based papers and established darkroom processes become obsolete. As Anthony and Sarah mention, they are using digital production as a means to produce their images. Perhaps traditionalists will begin making their own papers or maybe it will become a cottage industry for artists dedicated to preserving the gelatin silver image. No matter how they are made, it seems that we might be seeing more black and white photographs in the world of contemporary art. It’s only natural after many years of color work becoming increasingly more saturated, brighter and bigger that artists would start to engage with the subtleties that a black and white image reveals. It is a refreshing look at an approachthat some have forgotten. Perhaps with the combination of technology and creative minds the “new” black and white will be something totally unexpected and truly new.

Daniel Cooney has over fifteen years of experience as an instructor, gallerist, curator and auction specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois. He taught photography at the University of Illinois for three years and has lectured widely on contemporary and historical photography. Currently, Cooney is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Studies Department of the Fashion Institute of Technology. He began his gallery career at the James Danziger Gallery and continued as Associate Director of the Julie Saul Gallery. He was also the Director of Online Photographs at He has taken appraisal classes at NYU and is on the Board of Advisors of the
Center for Photography in Woodstock.

Daniel Cooney has over fifteen years of experience as an instructor, gallerist, curator and auction specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois. He taught photography at the University of Illinois for three years and has lectured widely on contemporary and historical photography. Currently, Cooney is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Studies Department of the Fashion Institute of Technology. He began his gallery career at the James Danziger Gallery and continued as Associate Director of the Julie Saul Gallery. He was also the Director of Online Photographs at He has taken appraisal classes at NYU and is on the Board of Advisors of the
Center for Photography in Woodstock.

Collector's Focus




NEW YORK CITY—Howard Greenberg Gallery will present the photography exhibition Gordon Parks: A Choice of Weapons from October 8 through December 22 in the new gallery on the 8th floor of the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street.

One of the world’s leading galleries for classic and modern photography, the Howard Greenberg Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an exhibition of important work by the renowned photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks. Through his still images, both candid and staged, the exhibition explores the roots of Parks’ future as a filmmaker. 

Parks, who described his camera as his “choice of weapons,” was known for his work documenting American life and culture with a focus on social justice, race relations, the civil rights movement, and the African American experience. He was hired as staff photographer for Life magazine in 1948, where over two decades he created some of his most groundbreaking work that cast light on the social and economic impact of poverty, discrimination, and racism.

In 1969, Parks launched a pioneering film career by becoming the first African American to write and direct a major studio feature, The Learning Tree, based on his semi-autobiographical novel—a career move foreshadowed through his cinematic approach to photography.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Parks’ second feature-length directorial endeavor, Shaft (1971), a classic New York City detective film that spawned the blaxploitation genre, the gallery will present photographic works that reveal the artist’s cinematic approach. 

Parks’ earliest photographs often imply a narrative beyond the individual frame, echoing his desire to represent complex facets of his subjects’ lives and communities. Like his films, Parks’ photographs present robust narratives that seek to reveal the complexities of his subjects’ lives.

The works on view include those staged in 1952 in collaboration with Ralph Ellison and inspired by his novel  Invisible Man, as well as those made while Parks was embedded with the New York gang leader “Red” Jackson in 1948, and images of the Fontenelles, a Harlem family that struggled to feed their eight children in 1967.

The exhibition coincides with the release of the HBO documentary A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks in November, and the extended presentation of works from his series The Atmosphere of Crime in the permanent collection galleries of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

About Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
Gordon Parks was born into poverty and segregation on a farm in Kansas in 1912, the youngest of 15 children. He worked at odd jobs before buying a camera at a pawnshop in 1938 and training himself to become a photographer. From 1941 to 1945, Parks was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration and later at the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. As a freelance photographer, his 1948 photo essay on the life of a Harlem gang leader, Red Jackson, won him widespread acclaim and a position as the first African American staff photographer and writer for Life magazine, which continued until 1972. In addition to being a noted composer and author, in 1969, Parks became the first African American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film, The Learning Tree, based on his bestselling novel of the same name. This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture Shaft. Parks was the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts in 1988, and was given over 50 honorary doctorates from colleges across the United States. Photographs by Parks are in the collections of many major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. stated, “Gordon Parks is the most important Black photographer in the history of photojournalism. Long after the events that he photographed have been forgotten, his images will remain with us, testaments to the genius of his art, transcending time, place and subject matter.” 

About The Gordon Parks Foundation
The Gordon Parks Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.” The Foundation is a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation.

Continue Reading

Collector's Focus

Paris Photo 2021 Review



This review originally appeared in

Paris Photo, the world’s leading art fair dedicated to photography, returns for the 24th time with a packed schedule at the impressive Grand Palais Ephémère in the heart of the French capital, from 11-14 November.
─── by Josh Bright, November 3, 2021

Featuring 177 exhibitors from 25 different countries, along with 30 publishers and booksellers, the fair represents the best of the medium, encompassing the full breadth of the photographic spectrum including the full range of styles and genres, and its earliest forms through to its most cutting–edge iterations.

New York, 1967 © Tod Papageorge / Galerie Thomas Zander

In addition to the numerous returnees, the fair will welcome 29 new main sector galleries, such as AFRONOVA (Johannesburg) who will exhibit recent works by young South African female photographers, and LOFT ART (Morocco) who will present multimedia artworks by Côte d’Ivoire-born Joana Choumali.

De bom jesus a milagres. Galo, 2011 © Claudio Edinger / Galeria Lume

Some of the highlights of the 17 solo shows and 10 duo shows, include, a selection of works by preeminent German photographer, Herbert List, presented by KARSTEN GREVE (Paris); BRAVERMAN (Tel Aviv) celebrates Ilit Azoulay’s work on photography and hysteria; São Paulo gallery LUME, Claudio Edinger’s series on Brazilian identity, and MAGNIN-A (Paris) introduce “Allegoria”, the latest, politically charged series, by Senegalese artist, Omar Victor Diop.

The diverse array of group shows incorporate a host of new and rare works, from unpublished dye transfer prints by American photographer, Tod Papageorge, exhibited for the first time by THOMAS ZANDER (Cologne), to rare prints by Magnum’s, Bruce Davidson, courtesy of HOWARD GREENBERG (New York). A selection of images by newly represented artist, Carrie Mae Weems, will be presented by FRAENKEL (San Francisco).

Drummies, 2017. The school has one sports court, which is used by all the sports teams. The drummies have to be supervised when using this court, there are active gangs present around the periphery of the schools property © Alice Mann courtesy AFRONOVA Gallery

Group presentations celebrating women in photography include the work of, among others, modernists, Berenice Abbott, Ilse Bing, Germaine Krull, and Helen Levitt, exhibited by BRUCE SILVERSTEIN (New York), and new imagery by Zanele Muholi, presented by STEVENSON (Cape Town), whilst GREGORY LEROY (Paris) and CHARLES ISAACS (New York) extol the work of Mexican photographer, Yolanda Andrade, who documented the 1980s LGBT movement in her homeland.

First launched in 2018, the Curiosa sector will return for 2021. Dedicated to platforming and celebrating emerging artists, it will highlight new trends in contemporary photographic practice, including cutting-edge documentary approaches and themes focusing on identity and the natural environment.

Curated by Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks and Tate Modern’s former Assistant Curator of photography, it features solo presentations by twenty artists from eleven different countries, a number of whom will be exhibiting in France for the first time. The kaleidoscopic photographs of rising London photographer, Maisie Cousins will be on display (TJ BOULTING London) as will Jošt Dolinšek’s poetic depictions of the natural world (PHOTON Ljubljana).

Additionally, for the first time ever, Paris Photo Online Viewing Room will open to the public from November 11-17th.

Powered by Artlogic (the industry leader in digital solutions for the art world) it provides a platform for galleries and book dealers, allowing them to expand on their physical offerings, and, an opportunity for those collectors and photography enthusiasts who are unable to attend in person, to peruse and purchase artworks, discover new talent, and connect with galleries and art book dealers from around the world.

The 24th edition of Paris Photo will run from 11-14 NOV 2021. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

All images © their respective ownersSHARE:839

Continue Reading

Collector's Focus

A Trillion Sunsets



A Century of Image Overload

Are there too many images in the world? Too many of the wrong kind? Too many that we don’t like, or want, or need? These feel like very contemporary questions but they have a rich and fascinating history. A Trillion Sunsets: A Century of Image Overload takes a long look at our worries and compulsive fascination with the proliferation of photographic images. The exhibition highlights unlikely parallels and connections across the decades. From picture scrapbooks to internet memes, from collage and image appropriation, to art made by algorithms, the exhibition offers powerful insights and new perspectives on our long love/hate relationship with images. 

Artists include Hannah Höch, Nakeya Brown, Sheida Soleimani, Walker Evans, Sara Greenberger-Rafferty, Guanyu Xu, Hank Willis Thomas, Robert Capa, Barbara Morgan, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Andy Warhol, Pacifico Silano and John Baldessari.

International Center of Photography

79 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002Jan 28, 2022 – May 02, 2022

Continue Reading


Close Bitnami banner