Thursday, July 26, 2012

For the past several months, Marco Tomaschett, the coordinator of the new Fine and Vintage Writing Instruments Department at Swann Auction Galleries, and I have been assembling and cataloging our inaugural sale of fine and vintage writing instruments.  With that complete, now comes the fun part, creating the visuals and assembling the sale as presented in the online and paper catalogues.

We thought that you might like to see at least part of that process as we photographed the pens in our New York galleries during the third week of July.  The photography was done by Brilliant Graphics, the photographer Peter Philbin, assisted by Pete and Christa, whose surnames I did not get. Thos involved from Swann were me, department coordinator Marco Tomaschett and art director Bette Rothstein. 

For me, since I photograph pens for my own website, it was fascinating to see how the pros work, using lighting and shadow so carefully and the extent to which post production processing is part of the process. So here goes.

 This is the studio that Brilliant set up in our downstairs gallery.  It looks primitive, but I would learn that it's all in the skill of the photographers
Marco and Bette conferring over the "book" of shots to be styled.

Here is some of the property as we began to stage it.
 Christa and Pete quickly set up staging for the production shots that will be the main illustration for the catalogue.
 One still uses cameras, this the industry standard for this kind of work, a digital Hasselblad. Much of the work is done, however, in the computer.

The computer allows the photographers to instantly check their work on a large screen and then correct images.  This was less important for the production shots which were a matter of placing and shooting than the styled shots that came afterward.

In this sequence,  Marco  sets up a shot, we all at various times had visions of what we wanted use to illustrate various pens and set up shots which others might then modify. Here Marco wanted to see two of the azurite Montblancs staged against a medieval illuminated manuscript.
This is how the shot turned out.

Below, Peter, Christa and Pete analyse and correct.

 The three pens above, a Chilton Clown, a Montblanc Semiramis and an Aurora Etiopia were all contenders for the cover and would be included in various of the style shots.

In truth, the process takes time and oftenwe were standing and sitting around.  Pet and Christa, being the artists they are, found some creative use for the mounting putty we used to hold pens and props in place.
 These are just a couple of my favorite shots, those which I designed, of course.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Swann September Pen Sale

Please note that this is a jpg and the links are not clickable. For more information e-mail me

This blog has been too little used by me of late, but I do want to update those of you still following on our big September sale at Swann Auction Galleries.

 For the past few months I have been shuttling between home and New York where I have been working with the property that we at Swann Auction Galleries will be pleased to offer for our September 2012 sale.

 We will have print and online catalogues available in early August. Check back here.

Headlining the September sale will be the finest grouping of vintage Chiltons ever presented. The pens offered will include some unique examples of early Boston pens as well as Wingflow and Golden Quill models never before sold publicly.

 In addition we will be selling a very fine collection of vintage Montblancs, including pens in Azurite, coral, jet and pearl, faceted models in colored celluloid and gold filled metal. Included will be 128, 138, 139 and early silver band 149 models as well as tiger eye 244 and 264 models and a stunning gray stripe 146 set, near mint in the pouch. The same collection includes a significant number of signature vintage Aurora pens, including the Etiopia and Asterope, as well as colored and black celluloid vintage OMAS pens in standard and Grande sizes, and many other Italian pens from Ancora, Radius, etc.

 If you are going to be at the Washington DC Pen Show stop by the Swann table where we will have an extensive selection of pens available on exhibition.

Finally, a few more images and some text, just to tantalise: