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Painted Smiles and Hidden Tears: A Photographer’s Journey into the World of Circus Clowns



I have never been able to resist the allure of the mysterious world of the circus. Everything about it piqued my interest, from the flashing lights to the colorful costumes to the air of wonder and excitement. Hence, when I made the decision to start on a tour as a photographer to chronicle circuses located in different parts of the world, I knew that I was in for an exciting experience.

Polichinelo – Portugal/Brazil

My adventures have taken me to some of the most remote parts of the world, from the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the desolate plains of Africa, and everything in between. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the clowns no matter where I went. They were a mysterious and intriguing bunch of individuals who were usually hanging out on the outside of the circus and never quite seemed to belong with the other performers.

Harlequin – England

When I first started taking pictures of the clowns, I didn’t understand that behind their painted-on smiles, they were hiding a profound sense of melancholy and isolation. They were frequently the punch line of jokes and the objects of mockery, and yet they continued to perform night after night in the hopes of distracting themselves from their problems by entertaining the crowds.

Klaun – Czech Republic

I came across clowns who had given up everything to the bottle, including their families, their houses, and any sense of who they were. I encountered clowns who had been shunned by their communities because they were unconventional and did not adhere to the standards set out by society. And there were clowns who were just moving around aimlessly, never exactly settling into one location as their permanent abode.

Palyaço – Turkey

In spite of the challenges they faced, the clowns were some of the most strong-willed and motivational people I’d ever encountered. They instilled in me the value of perseverance, the significance of finding joy even in the most difficult of situations, and the admirable quality of being honest to one’s own nature.

Augusto – Italy

As a photographer, when I think back on my travels, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the people I had the opportunity to photograph along the route. They not only reminded me of the significance of empathy and connection in a world that can frequently feel so cold and unconnected, but they also opened my eyes to a world that is full of wonder and possibilities.

Limited edition prints are available, please contact David S. Spivak from Focus Gallery, 201.275.5323, [email protected]

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The Intersection of Technology and Fine Art:



How NFTs are Revolutionizing Fine Art Photography

The art world has long been dominated by traditional mediums like painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, in recent years, a new medium has emerged that is shaking up the art world: digital art, specifically Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in fine art photography.

Fine art photography has traditionally been seen as a niche within the larger art world, but NFTs are allowing photographers to create unique digital assets that can be bought and sold like traditional art pieces. In this article, we’ll explore the intersection of NFTs and fine art photography, and how this emerging trend is changing the way we think about photography as an art form.

NFTs and Fine Art Photography

So, what exactly is an NFT, and how does it apply to fine art photography? Put simply, an NFT is a unique digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. This digital asset can be anything from a piece of digital art to a video game item, or in this case, a fine art photograph.

When a photographer creates an NFT of their work, they are essentially minting a digital asset that is unique and one-of-a-kind. This means that the NFT holder owns the original digital asset, even if the photograph can be easily reproduced. In other words, the NFT acts as a certificate of authenticity for the photograph.

This is a game-changer for fine art photography. Historically, the value of a photograph was largely determined by its physical characteristics, such as the quality of the paper or the size of the print. However, with NFTs, the value of a photograph can be based on its uniqueness, scarcity, and provenance.

Creating an NFT of a fine art photograph can also open up new revenue streams for photographers. They can sell the NFT of their work directly to collectors, who can then resell the NFT to other buyers. In addition, photographers can sell prints of their photographs alongside the NFT, offering collectors both a physical and digital version of the same work.

Examples of NFT Fine Art Photography

There have been several notable examples of fine art photography being sold as NFTs, which has demonstrated the potential for this emerging trend to revolutionize the art world.

One of the most high-profile examples of NFT fine art photography is Trevor Jones’ “Piccadilly Circus”. This photograph, which depicts London’s iconic Piccadilly Circus at night, was sold as an NFT in February 2021 for over $100,000. The NFT was purchased by an anonymous buyer, who now owns the original digital asset of the photograph, making it a one-of-a-kind piece.

In November, 2021 Alyson and Courtney Aliano’s Twin Flames #49 fetched a staggering 871 ETH, earning it the fifth spot among the most expensive photographs ever sold. This puts the Alianos in the same league as iconic artists such as Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, solidifying their place in the annals of art history.These sales demonstrate the potential for NFTs to unlock new revenue streams for photographers and provide a unique investment opportunity for collectors.

Beyond individual photographs, some artists are using NFTs to create entire collections of digital art. For example, Mad Dog Jones recently released a collection of NFTs called “REPLICATOR,” which features a series of digital sculptures and animations that explore themes of consumerism and mass production. The collection sold out in just a few hours, demonstrating the appetite for digital art that is sold as NFTs.

While these examples are just the beginning of what is possible with NFTs in fine art photography, they represent a significant shift in how we think about the value of digital art. By creating unique digital assets that are one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, NFTs are allowing photographers to monetize their work in new ways and reach a wider audience of collectors and investors.

Challenges and Criticisms

While NFTs offer many benefits to fine art photography, they are not without their challenges and criticisms. One of the main criticisms of NFTs is their environmental impact. Creating an NFT requires a significant amount of energy, which can contribute to the carbon footprint of the digital art world.

In addition, there are concerns about the speculative nature of NFTs. Some critics argue that the high prices of NFTs are driven more by hype than by the value of the underlying artwork. This has led to fears of a NFT bubble that could burst, leaving buyers with worthless digital assets.

Despite these criticisms, the use of NFTs in fine art photography shows no signs of slowing down. As more photographers experiment with this new medium, we are likely to see even more innovative uses of NFTs

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NEW YORK – Celebrated more and more with every passing year, the medium of photography continues to amaze, provoke, reveal, and compel. This spring the arrival of a major photography fair in New York City offers an opportunity to see the very best photographs from around the world.
The Photography Show presented by AIPAD will be on view from March 31 through April 2, 2023, at Center415 on Fifth Avenue between 37th and 38th streets. The fair will open with a VIP Preview on March 30. The roster of 45 galleries includes members of the prestigious Association of International Photography Art Dealers known as AIPAD, recognized as the world’s leading galleries of fine art photography, as well as an exceptional selection of emerging galleries new to AIPAD.
One of the most highly anticipated annual art fairs, The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, now in its 42nd edition, is the longest running and foremost exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium. The fair will feature fresh-to-market and museum-quality photography including cutting-edge contemporary, modern, and exemplary 19th-century photographs, as well as photo-based art, new media, and NFTs.
AIPAD is working closely with gallerists, curators, institutions, artists, and collectors to create a comprehensive program for the Show, including the presentation of the annual AIPAD Award and the acclaimed AIPAD Talks program with prominent speakers.
Among the highlights from the show will be a rare print of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic image of a young boy carrying two bottles of wine down a street in Paris, one of the most recognizable photographs of the 20th century. The 1954 print was a gift to Cartier-Bresson’s contemporary, photographer Slim Aarons, and will be on view at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, UK.
When Larry Sultan set out to photograph his parents and their pursuit of the American dream in the 1980s, he had no idea that his work would resonate 40 years later. Yancey Richardson, New York will show work from Pictures from Home, an exhibition of photographs by Larry Sultan. The work is also on view through April 8, 2023, at the gallery. The exhibition coincides with a Broadway play of the same name starring Nathan Lane.
The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands, a new member of AIPAD, will present works by Swedish photographer Eva Stenram.  For her Drape series, Stenram transformed a series of soft pornographic images from vintage pinup magazines, extruding lengths of fabric to swallow up the unknown models, and probing at the viewer’s desire to see what has now been concealed from view.
Another new AIPAD member gallery, Galerie SIT DOWN, Paris, France, will present the works of two photographers, Marco Lanza and Matt Wilson, who both question the passing of time, each in a very different way. While Wilson explores the dissolution of the American dream through the vast landscapes of United States, Lanza assembles studio and amateur portraits from the 1900s to the 1970s linking the images by a single narrative thread, revealing a new meaning.
Obscura Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, will devote a solo booth to the work of Kurt Markus who had a storied and long career spanning fashion and celebrities, landscape photography, and photographs of cowboys and ranch-hands that evoke the Old West. Another solo exhibition will be of the photography of Cig Harvey, which will be on view at Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY. Harvey’s enchanting images abundant with color, implied texture, and even scent, explore the five senses, bringing the viewer to the brink of saturation. In the artist’s words: “My pictures are an urgent call to live. A primal roar. Be here, now. Experience this. Feel this. They are an invitation to experience the natural world in an immersive way, to find and celebrate beauty in the everyday.”
On view at Gitterman Gallery, New York, NY, will be some of the most famous images from Roger Mayne’s seminal body of work on the streets of West London and similar working-class neighborhoods of Britain in the 1950s and early ’60s that made him one of the most important post-war British photographers. Mayne’s photographs evoke a particular moment when hardships brought on by the war and rationing were still present. Mayne’s photographs reflect the positive community life in the streets that would soon be coming to an end with the rebuilding and modernization of many working-class neighborhoods.
CLAMP, New York, NY, will present a curated exhibition featuring queer portraiture from the early 20th century through the present day. Artists will include: Mariette Pathy Allen, David Armstrong, Amos Badertscher, Peter Berlin, James Bidgood Jess T. Dugan, Nan Goldin, George Platt Lynes, Meryl Meisler, Mark Morrisroe, PaJaMa (Paul Cadmus, Jared French, Margaret French), Lissa Rivera, Curtice Taylor, Arthur Tress, and David Wojnarowicz. Benjamin Ogilvy Projects, Arlington, MA, will present a solo artist exhibition of the work of Hal Fischer’s Gay Semiotics series. Since 1977—when the first exhibition of this series took place in San Francisco—Gay Semiotics has been recognized as a unique and pioneering analysis of a gay historical vernacular and as an irreverent appropriation of structuralist theory. Taken directly from Fischer’s personal experiences living in the gay communities of San Francisco, Fischer’s photo-text deconstructions are laced with humor and a formal photographic esthetic. Proud, unapologetic, humorous, and purposefully banal, the work drew immediate critical praise. The artist was recently commissioned by a major publication to update the series.
Galerie Catherine et André Hug, Paris, France, will present a solo exhibition of Niv Rozenberg’s series Summit. Rozenberg challenges the way architecture is viewed, taking a simple object such as a skyscraper and entirely altering the way the viewer sees it by enhancing its shape and beauty. Through his colorful architectural photographs, Niv questions our relationships with our surroundings. Using straight photography and digital manipulations, his work consists of isolating a façade and deconstructing it until only its form and color are left.
Eberhard Schrammen and Toni von-Haken Schrammen, among the first artists to attend the Bauhaus, devised a creative adaptation of the photogram technique, using multiple stencils, cut-outs, fabrics and objects, to create illusionistic and whimsical images of everyday life. Their foto-grafiks, as they named their complex photograms, are unique to the photography of that era, and will be on view at Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, CA.
The first public showing of a powerful series by Arne Svenson on domestic violence will be on view at Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA. The Future Passed, an ongoing series begun in 2019, examines incidents of children who were killed by guns, be it accident, suicide or murder. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. Svenson calls attention to the issue from an unusual vantage point, depicting the houses where the tragedies took place with images made weeks or years before. “My project aims to stir empathy and concern: by seeing where a preventable death will happen, the viewer may be galvanized to circumvent similar occurrences in the place(s) next door,” Svenson writes. A book entitled The Future Passed will be published by Blast Books later this year.
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Inc., New York, NY, will offer a selection of 19th century photographs including work by Talbot, Calvert Jones, Gustave Le Gray, Édouard Baldus, Felix Teynard, Frederick Evans and others. Calvert Jones posed his beloved Pomeranian for a formal portrait. It is part of a small number of recently discovered Calvert Jones daguerreotypes. Only a single daguerreotype confirmed to be by Jones was recorded until last year, when this group appeared. “Calvert Jones (1802-1877) is recognized as one of the most talented and sophisticated of the early photographers. As a competent draughtsman schooled in the rules of perspective and form and as a skilled daguerreotypist, Jones conveyed a vitality to the new medium of photography and an unusually high degree of artistic sensitivity,” writes photography professor and author Larry J. Schaaf.
AIPAD will also feature NFTs this year. The work of artist Rodrigo Valenzuela will be on view at Assembly, Houston, Texas, as both photograph prints and digital NFTs. The artist is known for his arrangements of industrial parts and mechanical objects in backdrops of steam or smoke to call attention to human toil and worker powerlessness. The gallery will provide assistance to new collectors of NFTs.
Highlights from the Archive: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of MUUS Collection
MUUS Collection, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, presents an exhibition of collection highlights with work from five photographers: André de Dienes, Fred W. McDarrah, Deborah Turbeville, Rosalind Fox Solomon, and Alfred Wertheimer. The special exhibition explores the themes and interplay among the artists, presenting each photographer’s unique interpretation of the classic portrait along with a brief survey of their work. The exhibition showcases both iconic and lesser-known images, offering viewers a captivating selection from each artist’s archive. MUUS Collection’s mission is to seek out exceptional photographers whose work has been historically underappreciated, with the goal of presenting their distinctive work to new audiences.
Four new members of The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) have been announced. They are Duncan Miller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and associate members Galerie SIT DOWN, Paris, France; and Hulett Collection, Tulsa, OK.
Assembly, Houston, TX
Augusta Edwards Fine Art, London, UK
Benjamin Ogilvy Projects, Arlington, MA
Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY
Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston, TX
Cavalier Gallery, New York, NY
Charles Isaacs Photographs Inc., New York, NY
CLAMP, New York, NY
Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, Chalfont, PA
Deborah Bell Photographs, New York, NY
Galerie Catherine et André Hug, Paris, France
Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna, Austria
Galerie SIT DOWN, Paris, France
Gary Edwards Gallery, Southampton, NY
Gitterman Gallery, New York, NY
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Inc., New York, NY
Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York, NY
L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York, NY
Laurence Miller Gallery, New Hope, PA
Lee Gallery, Winchester, MA
Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, UK
Michael Shapiro Photographs, Westport, CT
Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, New York, NY
Momentum Fine Art, Miami, FL
Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe, NM
Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York, NY
Obscura Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Paci Contemporary, Brescia, Italy
Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, CA
PGI, Tokyo, Japan
Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland, CA
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
Scheinbaum & Russek Ltd., Santa Fe, NM
Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY
Toluca Fine Art, Paris, France
Vasari, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Yancey Richardson, New York, NY
Thursday, March 30, 10 a.m. – 12 noon
A Media Preview will be held for The Photography Show presented by AIPAD on Thursday, March 30, 2023, from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. Pre-registration is required. To RSVP, please contact Margery Newman at [email protected].
The Photography Show presented by AIPAD
March 30, VIP Opening Preview
March 31–April 2, 2023
Center415, 415 Fifth Avenue, between 37th and 38th Streets, New York City
For further details, visit or contact [email protected].

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