Billy the Kid portrait fetches $2.3m at Denver auction
The only known authenticated portrait of the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid has sold for $2.3m (£1.4m) at auction in Denver, in the US state of Colorado.
The tintype - an early form of photo using metal plates - is believed to have been taken in 1879 or 1880 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
It depicts the gunfighter in rumpled clothes and a hat, gazing at the camera and holding a Winchester rifle.
The tintype was bought by private collector William Koch.
It went for some six times the estimate - making it the most expensive piece ever sold at Brian Lebel's Annual Old West Show & Auction, said auction spokeswoman Melissa McCracken.Lawless
Billy the Kid gave the image to a friend, Dan Dendrick, in whose family it has remained ever since.
It is a classic image of the American West, said Ms McCracken before Saturday's auction.
"There's only one photo of Billy the Kid, and I think that's why it captivates people's imagination," she said.
The outlaw was reputedly born in New York but moved to Colorado with his mother and brothers when his father died.
He fell into a career of thievery and lawlessness and was hunted across the southern US states and northern Mexico.
He is widely thought to have killed 21 people, although some sources put the figure as high as 27.
Billy the Kid was captured and sentenced to hang for the 1878 murder of a county sheriff. He then escaped, only to be hunted down and killed by Sheriff Patrick Floyd Garrett on 14 July 1881.
I went to Selfridges today, there's a sale on don't you know. Thousands of people all looking for something they like and really don't need with the added motivation of 50% off. Amongst the chaos I spotted a wonderful looking pair of shoes. They sparkled in the spotlight like a multi faceted jewel tempting me to take them home like some high end escort. Although half price it was still a fair amount to spend on a pair of fancy shoes and to be honest I really did not need them, but they were the only pair and this was a temping offer. And so with this in mind I decided to go away and think about it. If someone else bought them then fair enough.. A lovely lunch and several coffees later I made my way back to the shoe department certain that someone else would of bought 'My Beautiful Shoes'. I imagined my disappointment at the same time of imagining myself on some fabulous dance floor shuffling my feet in my cosmic shoes with everyone admiring my magical foot work. My eyes filled with delight as I seen that the shoes had not been sold, and then the questions started;
Could I get them any cheaper?
Will anyone else have the same pair?
How would I feel about them in a couple of months time?
Would they actually go with anything else I had?
And then it struck me. This whole shopping experience was just like the art market. The whole experience of finding something you like amongst the thousands of other things. That one pair of shoes could easily of been one of my images amongst a plethora of other images up for sale. I approached those shoes like a potential buyer approaches one of my photographs. I asked all the same questions and actually talked myself out of it, just like a lot of potential buyers. And just like a potential buyer I went off and bought a different pair.
Market, Rovinji, Croatia, June 10th 2011. ©Marcus Doyle
Church Street and Second Street, Easton,
Pennsylvania, June 20, 1974 © Stephen Shore
Strolling along the streets of Rovinji, Croatia, one morning (as you do) I noticed a scene which reminded me of an old Stephen Shore image (see left), so of course I made a photograph of it.
The VW in my shot is green, the image is made in a different country and the composition is totally different, yet somehow its similar...
Sometimes you come across a project idea that is so brilliant that its hard to know if the actual images are good photographs (personal speaking of course). Take the work of Murray Ballard.
Its a superb concept photographing prospective clients and the workings of Cryogenics. Although the idea of freezing someone like Walt Disney has been around a long time, it is not something that has been really documented through photography. Finding the right project (which is something I touch on often stating how much photographers feel the need to come up with the most original, fantasical, glorious, wizard like ideas for their work) can be the hardest part of a project and I for one have lay awake at night coming up with crazy ideas, and even when you do come up with a good idea you then have to see who is; 'Thinking about it, Doing it, Or has don it.' But back to the work. I think this is just superb from the young Mr Ballard. The large format approach to the subject works exceedingly recording every necessary detail and I am reminded of the work of Taryn Simon and her 'An American index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar'.
You would think work of this calibre would be jumped on by UK galleries (all three of them and one of those is shut), but these are of course hard times and who wants to take a chance on a subject matter, lets face it, no one really knows about. But that my friends is what makes this project so good.
Once again a project arises that I wish I had thought of. The Desert in Winter is a series made by Julian Dufort in the deserts of the United States. The title alone was enough to send a shudder down my spine and made me wish I was out there once again staring up at the icicles that had formed inside my camper van overnight.
Its a great series, and although attracted by the title alone, I was pleasantly surprised to see the project shot (or maybe I should say produced these days) in black and white. The monochrome really adds to the feeling of the cold and the isolation of the American Desert..
After a very enjoyable, and therefore successful, workshop along the Adriatic Coast in Rovinji, Croatia (see excellent video shot by my good friend Josip), I realised that the Coastal Project had left a huge impression on me and I just could not resist more coastal images, albeit in another country.
My little group were exceptionally enthusiastic like little sponges hungry for the juice that in this case was looking at the landscape and working the light.
Most of the workshops I do are based on how I work as a landscape photographer and I often use the 5/4 as a way of letting students see how I see which is something easily done by looking at the large ground glass screen. This particular workshop worked particularly well with the big camera.
Wonderful people and a wonderful place to make photographs.