Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com
Profile Fine art photography LUMAS Gallery will be celebrating the work of British photographers this autumn, so we caught up with Honey Teslim, gallery director of LUMAS London and Jan Seewald, director of public relations at LUMAS to find out more
Can you tell us a bit about LUMAS and its aims? HT: LUMAS fine art photography is dedicated to making contemporary photography accessible to a wider audience of art enthusiasts and young collectors, both online and in over 40 galleries around the world. The portfolio of over 2000 works by 230 established photographers and rising stars, delivers a comprehensive look into theworld of contemporary art. Can you tell us about your role at LUMAS and what it entails? HT: As gallery director for LUMAS London I manage the day-to-day running of the gallery, from sales to event management – we host four to six exhibitions, lectures, artist talks and private views a year. I also liaise with the curatorial and portfolio team based in Berlin to ensure we have regular new hangings in the gallery andareup todatewithnewartistsand works joining the portfolio. However, the best part of the job is interacting with the clients and finding them the perfect piece for their space –whether it’s their home or office. You look at art every day so you have to love the art you buy, and it’s really rewarding to see a client’s excitement when they leavewith the perfect work. How do you find photographers and work to sell? JS: It’s very important that our portfolio represents a well-balanced list of artists and photographers, which means we want to support and work with a collection of new artists as well as establishing a strong relationship with those who have perhaps been part of the LUMAS portfolio for eight or nine years. LUMAS has a team of expert curators who keep informed on the latest trends in the international art market by regularly attending exhibitions, conventions, and festivals. In this way, LUMAS always stays current and exciting. What do you look for when choosing work? JS: I think our approach to choosing new work, or even to curating an exhibition, is quite organic. We track our global sales, and have subsections on the website that tell us and our clients when a particular work is reaching bestseller status, or has sold out. We also respond to moods and trends in the wider photographic industry, attending fairs and keeping up to datewith industry publications.
black & white shots open our eyes to the wildlife of the Alps, showing us ananimal kingdomworthpreserving. Hiswork is selling extremelywell, not just in London but in Zurich, Munich and Berlin. Our London collectors immediately fell in love with Gotsch’s portrait of a highland cow. Are there any photographers whose work is more popular than others amongst buyers? JS: These days, we have a good sense of which works will become favourites. For instance, one of our German photographers, Werner Pawlok, is a true bestseller with his Cuba pictures. He combines the art of the photograph with the power of a painting. We are convinced that the painterly character of his works is a big part of their success. People also like the story behind the photographs. By contrast, a work that really surprised us was Girl with a Fish by the Russian duo Andrey Yakovlev & Lili Aleeva, which sold out in a flash. In the piece, classical painting meets high fashion, utilising all the playful characteristics of the Russian avant garde. This combination proved fresh and new. We recently premiered new works by Canadian artist André Monet, who portrays the pop icons of our time in impressive, large-format collages. Before David Bowie’s death, Monet created a very melancholy, piercing portrait of the superstar. Our collectors were instantly smitten with this interpretation – we’ve never sold a limited edition so quickly before. How do you feel the UK views photography as art? JS: I think it’s been a recent development in art history, but I would say that the UK, and the wider world, now view photography as an art form in the same league as painting and sculpture. There has been an evolution from it as a niche market, perhaps documentary photography and photojournalism,
and now I would say it is one of the most important media in art.
which is apparent from growing worldwide interest in photography fairs such as Photo London and Paris Photo. Therehasbeena rapid increase in value and in prices, especially when it comes to the big names such as Horst P. Horst, Bert Stern or Cindy Sherman. I think the industry will continue to growinpopularityandwe haven’t seen its peak yet. What do your clients buy images for? Investment, interior decor, personal enjoyment? HT: All of the above and more. LUMAS in London has a developing business to business side to what we do, working with interior designers to provide a variety of work for a specific brief. Our core clients are usually individuals who buy art because they love it and many of them then find an interest in the investment potential. Is there a particular type of image or genre of work that sells in theUK and how does that compare with other markets – especially Europe and the US? JS: The LUMAS portfolio includes all styles of photography from abstract or conceptual to classical and modern portraiture. The themes represented in LUMAS’ portfolio include fashion, landscape, water, interiors, celebrities, nudes, architecture, cityscapes, movement, still life, technology, sport and wildlife. Our London collectors tend to prefer fashion shots such as the works from our Vogue archive collection, which includes masters such as Horst P. Horst, Edward Steichen and Erwin Blumenfeld. Wolfgang Uhlig’s photographs are also among our bestsellers, indicating our collectors are equally likely to fall in lovewith contemplative images. What is the LUMASUKbest-selling image, and why does it sell so well? HT: In June 2016, we released works by Swiss photographer Claudio Gotsch. His breathtakingly intense
Years in the photo industry? JS: Almost 15 now HT: Two years Current location? JS: Berlin HT: London Last picture taken? JS: The last picture I took was on an old graveyard in Berlin. I was walking with a friend and came across a pile of old gravestones, broken and ready to be taken away. I thought of all the lives and stories behind those stones and took a couple of great pictures. HT: My family When youwere younger, what did youwant to bewhen you grewup? JS: A doctor, which I am now... sort of! HT: Artist Dogs or cats?
This autumn you’ll be celebrating theworks of Britishphotographers, Jane Bown, Justin Barton, Peter Adams and Jonathan Andrew to coincide with Frieze London. Why did you choose these particular photographers? HT: Justin Barton is new to the portfolio and we’re launching his first series with LUMAS this September. At the same time two other really strong landscape photographers stoodout, JonathanAndrewandPeter Adams, and we wanted to celebrate the art of landscape photography. LUMAS artists come from all over the world; previous exhibitions have seen us looking to Cuba, to New York and further afield, but for this autumn we decided to look closer to home, celebrating the best of British. JS: Knowing that we were going to focus on British artists, I felt it was imperative to include the works of Jane Bown. Jane, who passed away two years ago, was a portrait photographer for the Observer , andher photographs are magnificent – black &white and completelymesmerising. A series of her portraits, of David Hockney, Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper to name a few, are going to be in the gallery from earlyOctober.
JS: Both HT: Dogs Toast or cereal?
JS: Cereal HT: Cereal Email or phone call?
JS: Email HT: Email
Next at LUMAS
LUMAS will be exhibiting work in a series of events in September and October, to coincide with Frieze London. The Justin Barton exhibition opens September 15 and the Jane Bown exhibition opens 4 October.
Top left House of Eduardo II by Werner Pawlok Top right Girl with a Fish by Andrey Ykovlev and Lili Aleeva
this industry? JS:
Photography become increasingly popular both in the industry and with the wider public, has
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