Dawoud Bey - Photographs New York Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • Dawoud Bey’s Sara is from a series of studio portraits he made with a monumental 20X24 Polaroid view camera. Bey began his career in the 1980s making street portraits, first with a 35 mm camera and then with a 4X5 camera mounted on a tripod using Polaroid positive/negative film. The latter method, with its fixed positioning, afforded Bey’s subjects the opportunity to collaborate with him on the making of the image; something which would become an essential part of his process moving forward. In 1991 he moved from the hustle of the street into the quiet of a studio, asked his subjects to join him and transitioned to the much larger 20x24 Polaroid negative which added a new level of intimacy to his portraits. While his first studio Polaroids were individual images, as Bey focused in closer on his subjects to “heighten the physical experience of the sitters”  he started creating multi-panel works. The three close -up images that comprise Sara create a portrait that is layered in both perspective and time.


    Bey’s early street photographs Harlem, U.S.A., was exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Since then he has become one of America’s best known contemporary photographers. In 2017 Bey was awarded a MacArthur genius grant and the following year a retrospective of his work  was showcased in a 400-page book, Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply, published by the University of Texas Press. His highly acclaimed travelling retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Dawoud Bey: An American Project, was co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and is on view through 3 October 2021.

    • Provenance

      Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago



Unique Polaroid print triptych.
Each approximately 27 x 22 in. (68.6 x 55.9 cm)
Overall 30 1/2 x 74 5/8 in. (77.5 x 189.5 cm)

Printed title and date on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

Full Cataloguing

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $27,720

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243


New York Auction 7 October 2021