William Larson - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Exhibited

    Photography and Art 1946-1986, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 1987 - April 1998

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the late 1960s photographer William Larson began experimenting with an entirely new way of creating images using the Graphic Sciences DEX 1 Teleprinter, a sophisticated precursor to the fax machine. Initially intended for use by industry, the media, and law enforcement, the DEX 1 Teleprinter first scanned and then transformed image and text into sound, transmitting these tones via telephone to be received and translated by another DEX 1, which then burned a facsimile of the original onto carbon-based paper with a stylus. After seeing a demonstration of this new technology, Larson was inspired to explore its creative potential. A graduate of Chicago’s Institute of Design who had fully absorbed the curriculum of innovation set by its founder László Moholy-Nagy, Larson acquired two DEX 1 machines and began experimenting with the variables. Larson found that external sounds added to a transmission would be visually rendered in the finished print. Manipulating the speed of the drum scanner, and varying the intensity of the voltage powering the machine, created other visual effects. Each resulting image was unique, created by the dual transformation of image into sound and sound into image, and printed by a sparking stylus; Larson called them Fireflies. Made in an era when the conventional trend in photography was toward the perfection of a lens-based vision, Larson’s Fireflies series was a notable early appropriation of electronic technology for artistic purposes.


Transmission 0061

Unique electro-carbon print.
11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm)
Signed in ink on the photographer's label on the verso; copyright stamp on mat; accompanied by original backboard with two Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition labels.

$3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for $3,780

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs, New York

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 12 October 2022