From Covers to Collections

From Covers to Collections

Five featured lots that have graced seminal photobook covers.

Five featured lots that have graced seminal photobook covers.

Andrew Moore, The Yellow Porch, Sheridan Country, Nebraska, 2013. Estimate $8,000 - 12,000. Photographs New York.

1. Bruce Davidson, 'Jimmy Armstrong, 'The Dwarf'', 1958.

Bruce Davidson, Jimmy Armstrong, 'The Dwarf,' Palisades, New Jersey, USA, 1958. Estimate $12,000 - 18,000. Photographs New York.

“Life is made up of accidents,” Davidson modestly stated in a 2019 interview, referring to the somewhat fortuitous way his career developed. Take his circus imagery: A librarian at Magnum, where he worked at the time, told him that there was a circus in town with a white tent, and "You won’t find that anyplace else.” The tip-off led to Davidson’s first encounter with Jimmy Armstrong, the subject of the present photograph (who would, later, become Davidson's friend). The now-iconic image was used on the cover of Circus, an influential volume of Davidson’s photographs of circus performers.


2. Robert Frank, 'Trolley – New Orleans', 1955. 

Robert Frank, Trolley – New Orleans, 1955. Estimate $150,000 - 250,000. Photographs New York.

When Swiss-born Robert Frank ventured to the United States in the 1950s, he arrived with the intention of refreshing his point of view. Of the images he produced, Trolley – New Orleans is among the most poignant. The image is visually segregated by the trolley windows and speaks to the deeply divided society he encountered. Prominently arrayed on the first American edition (and recent reissue) of his seminal work, The Americans, Trolley – New Orleans captured a viscerally relevant moment in American history.


3. Andrew Moore, 'The Yellow Porch, Sheridan Country, Nebraska', 2013.

Andrew Moore, The Yellow Porch, Sheridan Country, Nebraska, 2013. Estimate $8,000 - 12,000. Photographs New York.

In 2015, Andrew Moore’s Dirt Meridian illuminated, in brilliant photographs, the so-called “flyover” states. The Yellow Porch, Sheridan Country, Nebraska became the cover image, a detailed, stunning depiction of a wind-worn house with a yellow porch, set amongst an overgrown yet vacant landscape. Moore has explained that he worked while flying at a low altitude, which allowed him “to make pictures at a perspective in which the intimate seemed conjoined with the infinite.” In these intimate, infinite images, Moore articulated the landscape’s hard-won majesty.


4. Alec Soth, 'Charles, Vasa, Minnesota', 2002.

Alec SothCharles, Vasa, Minnesota, 2002. Estimate $30,000 - 50,000. Photographs New York.

Alec Soth has referred to photography as a “permission slip.” His medium has given him an excuse to not only depict but know the strangers in his photographs (he is often welcomed into their homes). His lyrical, intimate portraits—of people and landscapes—from various road trips formed his acclaimed 2004 photobook, Sleeping by the Mississippi; The Charles of Charles, Vasa, Minnesota, who grasps two model airplanes, graced the second edition’s cover. Soth has expressed his admiration for Charles, who represents how “living a creative life doesn’t have to be on an epic scale.”


5. David Maisel, 'History's Shadow GM12', 2010.

David Maisel, History's Shadow GM12, 2010. Estimate $3,000 - 5,000. Photographs New York.

David Maisel began History’s Shadow while pursuing a residency at the Getty Research Institute in 2007. He became curious about the visuals that are produced during art conservation and re-photographed x-rays of the museum’s antiquities. In the process of re-examining these objects, Maisel elicited a seemingly spectral side of the artworks that, to him, felt like “conveying messages across time.” History’s Shadow GM12 became the cover of the photobook, a haunting impression of the multitudes contained within art objects.



Discover More from Photographs New York >

Photographs NY Gallery Tour | New York | Spring 2021



This season we sit down with Chris Mahoney and Sarah Krueger as they reveal the highlights of the upcoming New York Photographs sale. The sale will be host to photographs from Robert Frank's 'The Americans,' as well as dazzling images from Hiroshi Sugimoto's 'Lightning Fields' series, and the iconic collection 'William Eggleston's Graceland.'

Recommended Reading

Robert Frank's America: Photographs from the Collection of Robert Richardson and Monona Wali > 

Elvis, Eggleston, and the Sounds of the City >