Your Personal Guide to Collecting Photography

Collecting Photography Questionnaire

Don't spend too long answering these question. Your answers don't need to be researched. There is no right answer. The point is to get some thinking and awareness going. Don't put it off until you have some time. Spend 20 minutes now.

After you have answered these questions, start or continue reading about the history of photography; ask us for our recommended list. Find a gallery or dealer you trust who will help clarify, and will show you material that you can respond to. It's a shared responsibility.

And it is a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Barry Singer

1. List 5 of your favorite photographs or art works.

2. What elements exist in the photographs or art works listed above that initially made you admire or want to own them in the first place. Is it the people, activity, historical context, age, dress? etc. Break down your photographic eye. What is the personal aesthetic point of view that ignites your desire to appreciate and/or collect these images? Is it about special relationships or the human condition, or is it structural or angular (modernist) points of view. Make a list of these elements. They are your sign posts.

3. What do you like to do when you are not working ? What are your hobbies? What non-income producing activities do you gravitate towards. Hiking, baseball, dancing or gardening ? List them. These also could be directions.

4. What intellectual topics engage your curiosity or wonder? Is space really circular? Is the big bang theory relevant to black holes? What about World peace? Information age ? Internet ? DSL?

What concept or notion excites you? Can we find that link, that spark, in the work from the masters of the history of photography or even modern masters.

5. Is there something you always wanted to do but couldn't?
Do it through collecting photography.
Make a list.

6. Do you want to build something in which the whole becomes greater than its parts? This is how important collections are built. Money is not always the critical factor. It's the idea connecting the images which is important. The collecting becomes a shared cooperative effort between the dealer you want to work with and yourself.

Collect singular pictures?     Yes No
Collect along a theme?     Yes No

if so, what three themes have relevance for you?

7. What do you want to do with your collection when you feel it is complete? Sell it, donate it? Live off of it in retirement? Give it to the kids? Now is the time to get them to start appreciating photography, so they understand what they are getting. Take them to museums and exhibitions, even if they don't like it. Give them $100-200 bucks, let them buy a real piece of art for themselves. You can't believe how empowering that is. (My daughter introduced me to George Rodger's work. Now I represent the estate.)

If you would like to be placed on our mailing list, please email your completed questionnaire to us along with the following information:

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