LUMAS: A LEADING INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY TO THE WORLD OF ART PHOTOGRAPHY: INTERVIEW WITH DR. JAN SEEWALD

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Image: Jan Seewald (©Jordana Schramm), Director of Public Relations at LUMAS Gallery

1.  Tell us about LUMAS, how it was founded and what makes it unique as a space ?

LUMAS was founded in 2003 by two passionate art collectors who were committed to offering inspiring, original art in limited editions. Their goal was to make high-quality editions more accessible to new collectors and a wide audience of art enthusiasts. At present LUMAS has over 230 artists in the portfolio, more than 2,000 works and over 40 galleries around the world. 

2.  How significant do you think photography has been as a medium of communication for the artists ? 

Artists have been using different tools throughout art history. From cave paintings more than 37.000 years ago to modern day photography, they expressed themselves with means that fit their vision and way of expression.

" When photography arrived, artists came to discover many new ways of communication which were not possible before through painting or sculpture. And through photography other artistic mediums came into existence: film and video art gave words to pictures and enabled artists to tell stories in different and exciting ways. "

Image: Highlander @ Claudio Gotsch

3.  How do you select and curate the works? What are some of the challenges ? 

Our portfolio and our exhibitions in the galleries represent a very well-balanced list of artists and photographers, as we want to support and work with a collection of new artists as well as continuing to work well with those who have been part of the portfolio for many years. LUMAS has a team of expert curators who keep informed on the latest trends in the international art market by regularly attending exhibitions, conventions, and festivals. In this way, LUMAS always stays current and exciting.

4.  What are some of the top tips you would give to current photographers looking to get their work in front of collectors, dealers and curators ?

Getting it out there. We consume art differently now compared to the way it was consumed 20 or even just 10 years ago. The best way for artists - not only in art, but also in music and many other art forms - is to use platforms on the web to make their work visible. However, nothing beats the visual experience of exhibitions in gallery spaces. 


Image: Glebe House Estate, Morning View © Justin Barton

5.  What is the current Photography market like and how do you see it changing in the next 5 years? 10 years ?  

The current photography market is booming, having seen a rapid increase in popularity over the last five years. Public interest is so much stronger - fairs like Photo London or Paris Photo are hugely well received.

" I would say that the UK (and the wider world) now view photography as an art form in the same league as painting and sculpture. There has been an evolution from it as a niche market. Documentary photography and photojournalism are now, I would say, one of the most important mediums in art. "

I think the industry will continue to grow in popularity and we haven’t seen its peak yet.

6.  What photographers or photographs are currently selling very well ?  

" Our London collectors tend to prefer fashion shots such as the works from our Vogue Archive Collection, which includes masters such as Horst P. Horst, Edward Steichen and Erwin Blumenfeld. Wolfgang Uhlig’s photographs are also among our bestsellers, indicating our collectors are equally likely to fall in love with contemplative images. "

However, in June 2016 we released works by Swiss photographer, Claudio Gotsch. His breathtakingly intense black & white shots open our eyes to the wildlife of the Alps, showing us an animal kingdom worth preserving. His work is selling extremely well, not just in London but also in Zurich, Munich and Berlin. Our London collectors immediately fell in love with Gotsch’s portrait of a highland cow, or “Hochlandrind”, as the piece is called in German.

7.  Considering many of your works are available in hand-signed limited editions of 75-150, how does one define rarity in a market of objects that are infinitely reproducible ? 

That’s a hard question to answer. In his essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (or Reproducibility)“ art critic Walter Benjamin already pointed out that photography and other techniques such as woodcutting, etching, engraving or lithographs are challenging the concept of authenticity, particularly in application to reproduction. Some artists still work opposed to the thought of limitation and create prints without encapsulating them in a fixed number of prints. Especially until the late 1960s, it became common practice to make prints on demand, and not think in terms of “editions“. So for some prints by famous photographs we don’t know how many prints were actually made of one image and some were printed in very high numbers - still these prints fetch high prices at auction. But this insecurity is one of the reasons why in the 70s smaller editions and limitation came into existence and became common practice amongst photographers as a means of control and assurance for the buyer. Nowadays, most photographers tend to stick to limiting their works, since it is an accepted and learned way on the art market to create a value system for art and photographic editions. 

8.  What advise would you give to our readers, looking to become collectors ? 

Although it’s tempting to consider art as a financial investment, I wouldn’t recommend collecting with a purely financial motivation when starting out. Work out your budget, and don’t let a limited one stand in your way - the pieces you fall in love with might be out of reach in your first years of collecting but there are ways around this by exploring the market.

" The most important piece of advice however is to work out what you like - visit museums and galleries, attend art fairs and begin to narrow down your taste - you’ll soon see where your areas of interest truly lie. "

LUMAS
Flint PR


Image: Mount Uvita Greda, Montenegro © Jonathan Andrew

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