A Survey Of Collecting Photography Finders Keepers Michael Hoppen

Michael Hoppen unveils the treasures of his extraordinary private photography collection in the gallery’s largest public exhibition to date. To celebrate the gallery’s 20 years, he has presented a major new show over three floors. Finders Keepers brings to light 130 photographic gems, handpicked for their fascinating narrative, masterful technique and historical relevance, ranging from anonymous 19th century pictures to iconic post-war snapshots. Finders Keepers offers a unique journey through hundreds of captivating photographs, full of beautiful and bizarre stories that reflect Hoppen’s personal interests and passions, and his extremely focused appreciation of the image.

The formation of Hoppen’s collection, which started in 1992, has grown out of two elements: a strong and passionate interest in photography, and a deep and addictive love for collecting. It has never been simply about ownership. The hunt for and discovery of an image has always been more important and exciting than its acquisition.

While the collection features some contemporary photographs, it is mostly comprised of exquisite vintage works, covering a wide variety of genres such as anonymous photography, evidential photography, boxing images, travel and anthropological photography. This vast range of images exemplifies Hoppen’s eclectic taste and collecting style; photographs were never envisaged as part of a larger ‘collection’ but rather attained for their own individual merit.

Remarkable and surreal images in the collection include Charles Jones’s lovely, luminous peach; Nikolai Kuleschow’s surveillance balloon; Fredrich Seidenstucker’s uproarious trio of kitchen maids; Anton Stankowski’s photogram of a ghost-like baby; striking anonymous images of birds on wires; fireworks like mysterious handwriting in the sky, and the forensic close-up of a pistol pointed directly at the viewer.

Other artists represented in the collection include Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Roger Ballen, John Deakin, Garry Winogrand, Lee Miller, Ernest J Bellocq, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Hunter S Thompson, Boris Savelev, Tod Papageorge, Terry Richardson, Sarah Moon, Desiree Dolron, Polly Borland, Weegee and Enrique Metinides, amongst others. A significant part of the collection testifies to Hoppen’s interest in and knowledge of Asian photography, with works by Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Kishin Shinoyama and Shomei Tomatsu.

To accompany Finders Keepers, the gallery will publish a limited edition book of the same title. Rather than being organised by date or genre, the photographs are arranged by date of acquisition, with each page including annotations by Hoppen about their discovery and the history behind the works. Finders Keepers will offer the reader and the public a fascinating and engaging mix of visions from far-flung places and other times, a world in which beauty meets the grotesque, fantasy meets reality.

Michael Hoppen, born in South Africa, has been interested in photography since the age of eight. Educated in the UK since arriving in 1961, Hoppen attained a BA Honours in photography, film and television in 1980 at the LCC, and then did a year at the Royal College of Art in London. He then ran his own studio as a commercial photographer which he closed in 1991. The Michael Hoppen Gallery opened in 1992, and then Shine Gallery (now Michael Hoppen Contemporary) opened in 2000. Both galleries are committed to photography in all its guises and hold regular exhibitions in 19th, 20th and 21st Century photography. The Michael Hoppen Gallery also exhibits at art fairs in New York, Basel, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Amsterdam.

The Michael Hoppen Gallery represents the following artists exclusively in the UK: Desiree Dolron, Valerie Belin, Simon Norfolk, Tim Walker, Fergus Greer, Neil Libbert, Colin Jones, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Fernand Fonssagrives, Charles Jones, Miroslav Tichy and the Estate of Guy Bourdin.

The gallery deals on a regular basis with museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Modern in London, The Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Albertina in Vienna and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, finding museum quality and rare photographic material for acquisition. The gallery also advises many companies on their collections and visual merchandising strategies, such as N.A Rothschild, British Airways, GAP, Polo Ralph Lauren, Pfizer, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, to name a few.

Hoppen sits on the Tate Modern Photography Committee, The Coesia/GD4 Art Committee for the new photography museum in Bologna, Italy, The John Kobal Foundation Committee and the Advisory Committee for the Renaissance Photography Award.

The Michael Hoppen Gallery also runs a limited edition publishing house called ‘Guiding Light’, which publishes small run (1000 copies) high-quality photography monographs for estates and contemporary photographic artists.

12 DECEMBER 2012 – 30 JANUARY 2013

Photo: Denise Grunstein, Tied, 2009. © Denise Grunstein/Courtesy of Charlotte Lund Gallery’

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