Buy-Sell-Trade: Collecting Photographs
LIVE! from A Gallery
Copyright & Policy
Framing & Shipping
|The 100 Most Frequently Asked Questions
answered by Joshua Mann Pailet
- Where did you get these original photographs?
In most cases, they have been acquired directly from the photographers; sometimes they are also acquired from family, friends, private collectors, and other dealers. I have been blessed and very fortunate to work closely with many of history's greatest photographers. Their personal support and willingness to work together have led to the great array of photographs seen daily at A Gallery for Fine Photography. Most of the photographs in my gallery have come directly from the artist to you, the collector. The older, 19th Century photographs have been found in important American, English and European private collections.
- How did you get started?
In 1971, John and Dominique DeMenil attended an exhibition and purchased my original photographs. This led to a desire to represent my own work, then to the realization that exhibiting the greats would both educate others and allow me to keep my art work separate. In May, 1973, I registered my first gallery in Houston, Texas as "Yesterday's Vision". Six weeks later, I packed up and searched for a better location, briefly in Sausalito, California, then finally in New Orleans in November, 1974. We opened to the public on January 26, 1975, with an exhibition of Joshua Mann Pailet and Scott Michael Coburn.
- What is an "original"?
Only a photograph that is printed and held by the photographer during his or her lifetime is considered an original. An original photograph is usually signed.
- Is this the original?
A Gallery for Fine Photography only exhibits and sells original photographs as described above.
- Are there any fakes?
Fakes are unusual; they have surfaced, but infrequently. This likelihood increases as the prices rise. Most recently, fakes purportedly by Man Ray and Lewis Hine were reported. It is crucial to purchase original photographs from reliable sources like A Gallery for Fine Photography.
- How do I know if it is authentic?
A Gallery for Fine Photography guarantees authenticity of all photographs purchased from us. Joshua Mann Pailet only acquires the photographs directly from the photographer, family, or prominent private collections.
- What is an open edition?
It is a term that refers to photographed produced by photographers who do not declare an edition size. Even if a photograph is printed in an open edition, photographers effectively limit their editions through time and their price structure. They only print as the photograph is sold.
- Do photographers make limited editions?
All original photographs can be considered limited editions, since they are produced by hand during an artist's lifetime. Some are numbered on the photograph. Edition sizes are usually less than 100; there are many cases of less than 50. There are also examples of editions of 500-1000, but these are very rare.
- Does the number in the edition make a difference in the value?
It is my opinion that the particular number in a limited edition does not affect the value of the photograph. However, many collectors attach a sentimental value to a unique number in an edition (e.g., #1/30 or #15/30 or #30/30)
- Are these photographs signed?
Most, but not all of the original photographs in A Gallery for Fine Photography are signed. Some very important photographs were never signed by the photographer; for example, Henry Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, did not sign his photographs.
- What does "vintage" mean?
"Vintage" is a collector's term for the first few photographs printed by the photographer from his or her negative. Generally, it is printed at or near the time the negative is made.
Remember that all photographs made during an artist's lifetime are important and collectible. Condition, rarity, the beauty of the moment, and the quality of light are the overriding factors to the value of an original photograph by a great artist.
- What happens to the negative?
All serious photographers fiercely protect their negatives. After a photographer dies, estates are usually set up to safeguard their negatives and prevent unauthorized reproduction of their photographs. These negatives are placed in archives, museums, libraries, or similar specialized institutions, with access limited to scholars. Occassionally, posthumous editions from the original negatives are authorized by the estate, but these are always identified as such. See Collecting Photography for more details.
- Is photography a good investment?
Collecting photography shouldn't be viewed as playing the stock market; however, there is ample evidence that if you acquire the best examples of photographs by the best artists, over the long term (10+ years) this kind of quality always increases in value. This is true for paintings, drawings, sculpture, furniture, and glass as well as photography.
- Can anyone collect?
Everyone should collect! As a fine art, photography has a large pool of opportunities to own one or more significant photographs on a variety of budgets.
- What should I collect?
Surround yourself with photographs that move you, please you, tease you, challenge you.
You can purchase one photograph or many.
Make them fit your lifestyle.
Enjoy the discovery!
- Will they last? How do I take care of the photographs?
Most black and white (silver gelatin) photographs produced by serious artists with proper materials have a remarkable stability, rated 200 years+ by conservators.
Color photographs are more sensitive and colors may fade or shift over time if constantly exposed to direct sunlight or florescent light. For the protection of your color photographs, use UV-3 plexiglass when framing and do not display them in direct sunlight or under florescent lighting.
- How should I frame them?
Use only museum standards - 100% acid-free, rag non-buffered board, by reputable manufacturers. Never allow anything to be taped to the photograph. Use archival standard corners. All surrounding materials must meet these standards. Most wood or metal frames are ok. Call us for any framing questions you may have regarding your fine photographs.
- How should I light my photographs?
Lighting is an ingredient that can enhance the viewing pleasure of your special photograph. Consider its placement in the room or hall, which can affect glare and reflections. Overhead lights with halogen bulbs are very popular in galleries, museums and homes. There are many innovative approaches. Please consult us if you have questions. NO fluorescent or DIRECT Sunlight.
- What is silver gelatin?
This is a term for the black and white photographic process used during most of the twentieth century. It refers to the light sensitive ingredient (a silver compound) and the "glue" (gelatin) that holds it to the paper during manufacture. It is still widely used by contemporary photographers.
- What is dye-transfer?
A color photograph printed in the darkroom using three matrixes to control the colors as they are transferred to photographic paper that contains the emulsion. It is considered the best form of color printing. NO longer available. Only Rene Pauli's tri-color carbon transfer process surpasses dye-transfer in color quality.
- What is a photogravure?
An ink on paper non-darkroom process. It was first used by the Englishman, P.H. Emerson, who taught Alfred Stieglitz. At its best, it is considered equal to platinum in print quality.
- What is a salt print?
The earliest handmade papers using silver as the light sensitive material needed certain types of salt (chloride compunds) to fix the image permanently. Each photographer had to hand coat and experiment with the chemicals. Collecting 19th Century photography requires a strong appreciation for these unique salt prints.
- Do you ship?
We ship everywhere! Our shipping and handling charges includes Fed-Ex two-day service, custom box, thorough protection, and insurance.
- Can you find any other photographs?
With over 35 years of experience, Joshua Mann Pailet can find almost anything. Email us if you are looking for a particular photograph and we'll do our best to assist you.
- Who owns the copyrights?
The photographers, their families, estates, trusts, or designated archive maintain control over the copyrights. These copyrights are stringently protected. Usage without permission is strictly forbidden. See Copyright Information for more information.
- Do I need insurance?
For initial and small collections, most people maintain their insurance coverage within their homeowner's furnishings limit. Keep good records of all your fine art purchases. Larger collections usually seek out a more specific insurance policy at higher costs.
A Gallery for Fine Photography utilizes some of the finest and most respected fine art insurance agencies in the business, including Lloyd's of London, and O'Connell International Arts.
- Are photographs ever stolen?
Yes, but infrequently. Generally, we are more concerned with natural disasters.
- Is there sales tax?
City and state sales taxes are collected, except when shipped out of state.
- Where do the prices come from?
Prices are set by living photographers. Others are based on a price track record, which takes into account factors such as auction prices, and reflect the buying power of A Gallery for Fine Photography.
- Do you have a bathroom?
We don't have a publically accessible bathroom, sorry! Across the street there is a great pub where we send everyone.
- How many exhibitions do you have per year?
We are proud to present anywhere from 4 to 10 exhibitions per year. Each one is heralded by our collectible commemorative announcement cards, mailed to our members and subscribers. A Gallery for Fine Photography has over 5,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. Often you will discover more than one exhibition in addition to our usual selection representing all the photographers we believe in. Don't miss our Second Floor "Wall of Fame" featuring one of the first photographs ever made by Fox Talbot. USE www.agallery.com for latest information.
- Do you have any other galleries?
Not at this time. We often support satellite exhibitions at other galleries, alternative spaces, and events at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
- What major Art Fairs do you participate in?
Basel, Switzerland (since 1989); AIPAD, New York City (founding member since 1978), and Paris Photo.
- Are you a photographer?
Yes, yes! I continue to produce new images as my camera stays with me on this remarkable journey. See Joshua Mann Pailet.
- Do you publish?
Joshua Mann Pailet has been publishing posters, cards and other gallery related projects since 1975. He has published two of his own books, All Aboard America, the Bicentennial Steam Railroad Project (black and white), pub. 1976; and New Orleans, The World's Fair, 1984, pub. 1987 (color).
- Do you have time payment plans?
An important feature of A Gallery for Fine Photography is the option of paying for your photographs over a period of time. This is a flexible feature that requires a clear understanding of the terms. Usually 3 to 6 months are standard, though exceptions have been made. We require a nonrefundable deposit of 10 - 50% and regular payments via post dated checks or credit card. The photographs are shipped after final payment. We do not charge interest.
- Do you look at new artist's portfolios?
Yes, but not right now. NO SHIPMENTS of photographs are accepted, and no personal critiques are offered at this time. See Portfolio Review for instructions.
- Do you teach?
Yes, but not right now. Joshua Mann Pailet has taught at LSU (1977) and Tulane University College (1978) in addition to his personal workshops throughout the 25 years of A Gallery for Fine Photography.
- Does the gallery sponsor workshops?
Yes. We have had the honor of hosting workshops by Jerry Uelsmann, Paul Caponigro, Cole Weston, Max Yavno, and many more. Whenever we have an exhibition premiere with the photographer in attendance, we sponsor artist talks. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements for workshops, or e-mail us with your interests.
- What are your hours?
We're open Thursday - Monday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday -Wednesday closed or by appointment. Call to confirm, sometimes we open for special events. We have been known to stay open late, so call and let us know. A Gallery for Fine Photography is available for appropriate after hour events for groups on a rental basis.
- Is the third floor open to the public?
The third floor is off-limits except by invitation. It is Joshua Mann Pailet's research and retreat room.
- How many visitors do you get on an annual basis?
241 Chartes Street in New Orleans is one of the most visited galleries of this caliber in the world. We conservatively estimate in excess of 50,000 people annually pass through our doors. Join us...come to New Orleans!
- Do you buy photographs?
Yes. We are always interested in great photographs. Our offers are serious, fair, and expedient. Call us or write us.
- Do you trade?
Yes. We are open to discussion on a fair and equitable basis.
- What is your guarantee?
All of our photographs are guaranteed for authenticity and condition as described.
- Should I buy at auction?
There are many opportunities to buy photographs, including auctions. We value the personal relationships we develop with our customers, but buying at auction has its advantages (and disadvantages!)
- Why should I buy from A Gallery for Fine Photography?
A Gallery for Fine Photography and Joshua Mann Pailet have been in business since 1973. Our reputation is respected worldwide. The quality of the photographs is matched by our friendly and professional service. This includes the advice in selection, framing, and shipping, as well as the follow-up services for appraisals and letters of provenance.
- What is a provenance?
A provenance is a written statement of the pedigree of a particular photograph. This is a history of the photograph's previous ownership. For many of our sales, the provenance simply records the direct route of artist to A Gallery for Fine Photography to you. We guarantee authenticity.
- What do you think of digital photography?
We love creative vision in any form it may take. Photographers are now able to use another tool to complete their printmaking process. Digital photography has unique qualities that can be quite beautiful. A Gallery for Fine Photography presented one of the first major exhibitions featuring Iris prints by Joyce Tenneson in 1997. "It is not the camera, it is the eye".
- Who is your favorite photographer?
Everyone whose work is on view in A Gallery for Fine Photography is my favorite photographer. I only acquire for A Gallery for Fine Photography photographs and photographers that move me, like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Jerry Uelsmann, Yousuf Karsh, Jan Saudek, Helmut Newton, Edward Sheriff Curtis, Fox Talbot, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen , Diane Arbus, Sandy Skoglund, Joyce Tenneson , Herman Leonard, and Josephine Sacabo .
- Do you know the photographers personally?
The photography world is a small one. I know all the photographers I exhibit.
Among the greatest blessings of the last thirty-two years have been the personal relationships I have developed with photographers, collectors, and colleagues. Their generosity of spirit and action has guided me. The greatness of A Gallery for Fine Photography is a reflection of their personal visions and trust in what I am doing. A Gallery for Fine Photography has served as an oasis for many people. It is a unique resource and a one-of-a-kind experience for all who visit. Each exhibition opening has brought a special photographer to New Orleans.
- Who is up and coming?
Many of the photographers I am exhibiting are "up and coming"! Every day I see photographs that may qualify for this endorsement. .
- What book should I read to get started?
Beaumont Newhall's History of Photography is widely considered the bible of fine art photography. Naomi Rosenblum's World History of Photography is extensive and comprehensive. The Getty Museum's Handbook to Photography is dictionary-like, short and concise. The Waking Dream is an excellent catalogue for the Gilman Paper Company collection and gives a supurb overview of the medium.
- Do you have signed books?
Yes ... see our Bookstore . Many of our special edition books are signed. Photographers help us by signing their books when they visit the gallery. We have out of print signed editions.
- What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a limited edition set of photographs produced as a group, usually presented in a custom made box. It usually contains 10 or more photographs, each signed and numbered. A portfolio often contains a cover sheet with an index and introduction.
- Do the photographers print their own photographs?
Almost all photographers print and sign their own photographs. Those few who don't do the actual darkroom work carefully supervise an assistant or hired professional. The photographer/printer relationship is key to the final product of a legendary photographer's eye. Many photographers have done their own printing. It is wise to ask and learn for each photographer what procedure they followed.
- What happens when a photographer dies?
When photographers die, usually their estate is organized over a period of many months, sometimes years. Ultimately, the practice in most cases is to establish a trust or archive managed by reputable institutions (museums, libraries, universities, or families). If prints are made from the negatives after their death, they are carefully controlled and identified as such. The procedure is usually spelled out by the photographers' wills. See Collecting Photography.
- How many museums collect photography?
Most international and regional museums collect photography and regularly add to their collections. Photography continues to grow in popularity. Its audience is rapidly expanding as more people have the opportunity to see the originals in galleries and museums. Collecting photographs is more popular today than ever, and book publishing is at an all time high. The number of art galleries showing photography has reached record levels.
- Do other New Orleans galleries show photography?
Yes, although there is no gallery anywhere as extensive or accessible as A Gallery for Fine Photography. Throughout New Orleans and the USA there are numerous galleries showing photography.
- What are the ways a color photograph can be printed?
Dye transfer, cibachrome, Polaroid, iris, "C" print, color Xerox, tri-color carbon transfer, hand colored, autochrome, chromolithography, fuji crystal archive, epson, hp, quadtone piezo ... to name just a few.
- Would you exhibit a photographer who uses laser printing or digital output?
Yes; as mentioned above, I am interested in both vision and process.
- When was the first photograph made?
1839 is the date usually cited as that of the first photograph claimed by both the Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot and the Frenchman Louis Daguerre, though the Harry Ransom Humanities Center at the University of Texas holds a plate by Niepce from the Gernsheim Collection that claims 1826 as the date.
- Who are the inventors of photography?
Both the English and the French make valid claims. Niephore Niepce and Louis M. Daguerre both prepared early examples of photographs in France. In England, William Henry Fox Talbot produced the first paper positives. Daguerre and Fox Talbot announced their discoveries within days of each other.
- Who was Georgia O'Keeffe's husband?
Alfred Stieglitz, the most influential photographer, art dealer and gallerist in modern art, was Georgia O Keeffe's lifelong companion, although they were never married. Stieglitz' galleries began showing photography as fine art around 1902 alongside the great artists Matisse, Rodin, Picasso, African Art. The circle of photographers he exhibited included Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, and Gertrude Kasebier. His use of photogravure as a printing process influenced an entire generation of legendary photographers.
- Can a photograph be restored?
Restoration and conservation is a specialized field. Damaged photographs can be saved from further harm, and many photographs can be cleaned and repaired. However, there are limitations. A Gallery for Fine Photography can recommend and advise on these questions. Conservators usually charge $150 to $350 per hour.
- Do you have a website?
Yes...you're looking at it!
- How many employees do you have?
A Gallery is open five days a week and employs 2-4 people to serve you, including managers, framer, shipper, registrar, and Joshua Mann Pailet.
- Is there an admission charge?
A Gallery for Fine Photography is proud to say it has never charged for admission. Come on in!
- Do you rent the gallery for special events?
A Gallery for Fine Photography is available for evening events to qualified groups for a fee. Contact us.
- Do you ship to Australia?
A Gallery for Fine Photography ships everywhere safely! See Shipping.
- What is your e-mail address?
- Can I be on your mailing list?
Everyone is eligible for our email mailing list. Sign up for our online mailing list.
- How do you keep track of all these photographs?
A Gallery for Fine Photography has an advanced curatorial and registrar computer program. Each photograph is tracked from the moment it arrives in the gallery until it hangs on your wall. We pride ourselves on our prompt and accurate paperwork. Each purchase includes a formal receipt.
- Do you have an intern program?
A Gallery for Fine Photography accepts applications for unpaid intern positions. Please send us a detailed cover letter and resume if you are interested.
- What's upstairs?
A Gallery for Fine Photography is a large gallery with numerous exhibition rooms and halls. "Upstairs" usually refers to the third floor, which is private.
- Do you sell reproductions?
NO! (Actually, we do sell commemorative posters and cards which are reproductions. HOWEVER, our main purpose is to exhibit and sell original photographs only!)
- Do you have books?
Do we have books!!! We have one of the best photography bookstores in the USA. See Bookstore.
- Do you have posters?
We have a few posters published by A Gallery for Fine Photography to commemorate our exhibitions. See Posters .
- Do you have postcards?
We produce our own commemorative cards and postcards.
- Are there any special commemoratives from A Gallery for Fine Photography?
Doubloons (sold out), T-shirts (sold out), catalogs, posters, and commemorative cards. See Commemoratives.
- Do you like your Mac?
YES! We only use Macintoshes in our gallery. They are elegant.
- Do famous people shop here?
Of course, but we respect their privacy and confidentiality. We do not reveal our customers or their purchases.
- Who buys these photographs?
Many kinds of people purchase and enjoy original photographs that A Gallery for Fine Photography exhibits.
- How can I pay for them?
All forms of payment are accepted, all major credit cards, wire transfer, checks, and cash. Time payment plans (interest free) are available.
- Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, all major credit cards are accepted.
- Do you provide appraisals?
Appraisals are done on a fee basis for insurance purposes only. Some collectors eventually donate some or all of their photographs to nonprofit institutions. A special appraisal for IRS purposes is needed and we can refer you to this appraiser.
- Can we donate our photographs or collection to a museum?
Yes, if they are of the quality and caliber that A Gallery for Fine Photography exhibits. Consult us.
- Do you exhibit color photography?
Yes, in several different formats: Cibachromes, digital prints, and others.
- What is a darkroom?
A special lab or room where a photographer works with photographic materials to produce the finished original photograph.
- What are those notes on your desk?
I have noted for years that if I leave a single note or paper face up on my desk that inevitably I will discover a customer trying to read this even though the rooms are full of far more interesting and serious photographs to discover.
- Where should I stay when I visit New Orleans?
See Joshua Mann Pailet's exclusive "Guide to New Orleans".
- What time is it?
What, do we look like a clock factory? (ed. note: Time to buy a photograph!)
- Can we use your phone?
Only for an emergency and if you smile.
- Where's a good place to have lunch?
Mr. B's Bistro (gumbo, salad), Bacco, Cafe au Lait, Mena's, Bayona, Napoleon House. (See Josh's Guide to New Orleans, coming soon!) .
- Where's Bourbon Street?
Over there (i.e., two blocks away!)
- Where are the good music clubs?
Donna's, Vaughn's, Tipitina's, Cafe Brasil, Snug Harbor, Maple Leaf. See OFFBEAT Magazine or Josh's "Guide to New Orleans" (coming soon!)
- Is New Orleans safe?
The French Quarter is statistically very safe. BUT, don't wander around intoxicated. Be streetwise. Pay attention as you would in any big city.
- What is the best time of year to visit?
Anytime. The summer can get hot; October to May is usually very pleasant. January might be wet and cold, but not for long.