Oct 19, 2010 - Sale 2226

Sale 2226 - Lot 324

Price Realized: $ 33,600
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 25,000 - $ 35,000
GOWIN, EMMET (1941- )
"Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself." With 14 (of 14) evocative photographs accompanied by text from the publication "America and Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait." Silver prints, approximately 7x4 1/2 inches (17.8x11.4 cm.), and the reverse, mounted recto only. 4to; flexible boards, with a drawing by Gowin printed on the front cover. self-published; one of an edition of 100, this one signed, inscribed and with additional ink embellishment on the cover. 1963-1964; printed 1965

Additional Details

"Virginia Beach, Virginia," 1963 "Richmond, Virginia," 1963 "Indian Springs, Georgia," 1963 "Danville, Virginia," 1964 "Richmond, Virginia," 1964 "Shilo Baptist Church, Shilo, North Carolina," 1963 "Danville, Virginia," 1964 "Fair Grounds; Richmond, Virginia," 1964 "Chincoteague Island, Virginia," 1964 "Stratford-On-Avon, Ontario, Canada," 1963 "Danville, Virginia," 1963 "Richmond, Virginia," 1964 "The Bowery, New York City," 1963 "Route 360, Virginia," 1964.

The present owner and his wife received the book as a wedding present from Gowin, who also served as their photographer. First meeting as college freshman room-mates, he returned to their room one day, to find Gowin working on a somewhat odd and rusty device. When asked about the contraption, Gowin replied "It is just an old camera I found in the attic and I am going to see if I can clean it up and get it to work," which according to his longtime friend "he did, brilliantly."

Gowin's visual discourse was privately printed while he was still an undergraduate student. These early photographs represent his exploration into image-making and focus predominantly on the social landscape of his Virginia birthplace, laying the groundwork for his later influential imagery of his family, particularly his wife. Only one of the images (of men walking in front of a white house) was reproduced in his first monograph, which was published in 1976. According to Gowin, the first time he experienced a memorable connection with a photograph was when he was looking though magazines in a doctor's office and came across an image by Ansel Adams. "From the beginning I wanted to make pictures so potent I would not need to say anything about them. When I discovered that artists had made photographs that could move me deeply, I decided on photography."

Gowin learned photography from books and was inspired by images he liked. His teachers, especially Harry Callahan, influenced his work as did Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. Although Alfred Stieglitz was not his primary visual influence, this publication focuses on Stieglitz's writings about the artistic importance and seductive quality of photographs. In a sense, Gowin's book is an homage to Robert Frank's "The Americans"; each document prophetic figures in mid-century America. And, like Frank, Gowin recognized that a successful picture could convey an authentic truth about daily life while simultaneously revealing one's own identity as an artist.

The Book of 101 Books, 172-173.