Q & A with ValueMyStuff's Photography expert

ValueMyStuff sat down with our photography specialist, Addison Thompson for a Q&A. Learn more about why he continues to enjoy photography and get insight into a specialist's valuation.


What initiated your interest in Photography? 

My Mother studied art in college and she was so good at drawing; it was one reason, I became a photographer. I also perseverated looking at photographs in Life magazine, photographs of cell growth in old biology textbooks and murder scenes in true crime magazines. Later, Jacob Riis, Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and William Eggleston.  In college, there was no photography major in the art department. My college painting teacher liked my photographs; used to make my paintings, better than the paintings.  I dropped out of Ball State University, moved to Chicago, had a show of my photographs, got married, divorced and 5 years later, when I re-enrolled there was a  photography major.  My MFA thesis from RIT was a post-conceptual book of black and white photographs of how the RIT workers decorated and personalized their institutional work environment.

How did your career in photography develop?  

My first job in NYC  was hanging the Robert Capa retrospective at the International Center of Photography. Then as a photographic appraiser for Marge Neikrug Gallery, the first photography gallery in New York City. On lunch break I stepped into Phillips Auction and when they learned I did photographic appraisals, they asked me for a free consultation. They were selling a rare album of Robert Capa photographs and a client had questions about the prints. We called the client, I answered his questions and they offered me the job of Photography Specialist. I did sales of Photography there for 3 years.

The stock market crashed in 1989 and I switched careers and worked as an editorial photographer. I had a 20 year career photographing for architecture, design and shelter magazines. My work appeared in New York Magazine, Metropolis Magazine and the New York Times Magazine. To supplement my income I bought and sold vintage photographs. When I discovered the archives of a French conceptual  Art magazine at the NYC flea market, the photographs were $1 each and included original photographs by Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, John Baldassari, Vito Acconci and others. I brought the images to Maria Morris Hambourg at the Metropolitan Museum and pioneered in selling them their first conceptual photographs.

What area of the art market do you think would be a significant area to invest in next?

Conceptual  Photography.

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