We live and learn.
What I learned last week was that the collectors of photography are a very diverse bunch. The London Photo Fair, it turned out, was focused almost entirely on 19th century vintage photography, and if you’re a dealer of such work it’s an event you must attend – with several dealers coming from continental Europe and the U.S..
However, if you are trying to sell contemporary photography, or even 20th century work, you won’t get much interest. I learned yesterday, as I gather several other photographers and dealers have at previous events, that people who are very happy to pay good prices for 19th century prints won’t even look at modern work.
I had a table at the end of a long line of vintage print dealers and often there would be a solid line of people checking out the works on offer, moving slowly down the line, until they got to my table – at which point they’d simply walk past. It was as if I was trying to sell flower arrangements at the Motor Show.
This wasn’t a case of not having interesting work, or not displaying it well, or simply being crap. People were just not looking at it. At no point was there even the slightest chance that anything would sell.
So, there you go. A lot of effort in planning and presentation, not to mention the exhibition fee for attending the event, with not a thing to show for it. Live and learn.