“Point and Shoot” at the inMotion
By Emily Bierman
Active competition for Daniel Kramer’s iconic portrait of Bob Dylan playing chess in Woodstock, NY.
NEW YORK—Written by and for photography enthusiasts and connoisseurs, our newest blog, Point and Shoot, reports on exciting events in the world of photography, while giving you an insider’s view of the Sotheby’s Photographs department. Our goal is to bring you must-know information about new photography exhibitions, auctions, events, fairs, and publications from around the world. We are also looking forward to providing you with behind-the-scenes access as we prepare the monumental sale, A Show of Hands: Photographs from the Collection of Henry Buhl.
We couldn’t think of a better way to launch Point and Shoot than with a post on inMotion’s recent 17th Annual Photography Auction & Benefit , which attracted a crowd of nearly 1,300 to the Sheraton in midtown Manhattan. Since 1993, inMotion has been providing free legal services to low-income women and children who otherwise would not be able to afford proper representation in New York’s legal system. It has affected the lives of thousands of women, and happens to be a favorite cause of many photography collectors and aficionados, some of whom are on inMotion’s board of directors. As a result, the annual benefit has included a photography auction since 1995, with Sotheby’s Denise Bethel serving as the benefit’s auctioneer every year.
This year’s auction Co-Chairs were Cathy Kaplan (of Sidley Austin LLP) and Robert Mann (of Robert Mann Gallery), and the event paid tribute to the Baby Boomer generation, sourcing photography donations with connections to the 1960s and 1970s. The groovy evening began with a cocktail reception and viewing of the silent auction items. A bevy of volunteers, wearing disco-cool silver hats and wielding iPads for instant bidding, assisted the legal-based crowd with placing bids on works by Wolfgang Wesener, Baron Wolman, Arthur Leipzig, among many others.
Volunteers channeling the 1970s, while taking bids on iPads.
This year, Denise was in Los Angeles for a meeting of the Getty Photographs Council (she will be posting about the trip soon!) so Daile Kaplan of Swann Galleries stepped in as auctioneer. With the help of an army of white-gloved, enthusiastic young spotters (this writer included), Kaplan scanned the sea of suits for bigger and better bids during the live auction. Between appetizers and entrees, vanity and wallets competed for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a private portrait commission by Harry Benson, famed photographer of the Beatles, Jackie Kennedy, and every president from Eisenhower to Obama. Table attempted to best table as bidding heated up for the 27 works on offer by Mitch Epstein, Ernst Haas, James Bleecker, Graham Nash, and the Starn Twins, among others.
A portrait commission by Harry Benson sold for five figures!
After the plates had been cleared, the cavernous ballroom emptied, and the winning bidders had claimed their prizes, the benefit dinner and photography auction was an undeniable success. Even in a room full of lawyers, there were no objections to inMotion having raised more than $2.3 million by night’s end.