Sunday, December 30, 2012

Glass Negatives

Ballet Students

Couple on Bench

Blocking the Curtain


Dancers Rehearsing



Tea Time

Men With Penguin

Man With Monkey

Men With Sea Lion

Two Men

A "lost" archive of glass negatives appeared on E-Bay in 2007. They had been made early in the career of Hungarian innovator Martin Munkácsi (1896-1963). The International Center of Photography in New York acquired the collection and has digitized the negatives. They are now viewable alongside many of Munkácsi's vintage prints, mostly dating back to the late 1920s and early 30s. In a few cases, newly-made prints of the previously unknown negatives are also displayed. But the negatives on their own exert an enormous authority.

Back in 2006 Steidl published a striking book (still in print) of  Munkácsi's photographs. The small surviving amount of fame he can claim these days rests on the crisp, dramatic, spontaneous-yet-technically-polished black-and-white compositions featured in the Steidl book, but virtually its entire contents come from a later period than the work shown here.