When I moved from being a contemporary art dealer to a photographer dealer back in 1992, a whole new world was opened to me. I was working at what was once considered one of the most important photography galleries in the US, G.R. Hawkins, who, along with a few others, brought photography to a collectible art form in the late 1970s and 1980s. At the time there were very few photo specific galleries and auctions for photography had only started in two decades earlier- the first in America was at The Swann Galleries in 1952.
At Hawkins gallery, I immersed myself in the study of the history of the medium, which, with photography coincides with the history of our American culture. I took graduate degree classes and like to consider I became somewhat of a novice scholar in my own right, with my own love and emphasis on Post-War American Photography such as Robert Frank. One of the first photographs I saw, and sold, was a Detroit publishing company “photo chrome” which was dazzling, beautifully colored, and completely imbued with how America looked over 100 years ago
I own a small collection; the images can sell for $250 or so; but Taschen released not too long ago this magnificent book called American Odyssey. It is brilliant on multiples levels and really takes one back to the entire period of time from 1888 to 1924- a pivotal period for the growth of America.
These rediscovered Photochrom and Photostint postcard images from the private collection of Marc Walter were produced by the Detroit Photographic Company between 1888 and 1924. Using a photolithographic process that predated the autochrome by nearly 20 years, they offered people the very first color photographs of The United States.