martes, 27 de noviembre de 2012


Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Berlin, mid July 1932. The 35 mm film rolls exposed by Harald Lechenperg during the wedding of the future maharaja of Patna in the Punjab (India) have just arrived at the seat of Dephot Agency (Deutsche Photodienst).

A young 18 year old laboratory assistant, Endre Ernö Friedmann, known with the nickname of Bandi, who is also working as a delivery boy, has just seen the 24 x 36 mm contact sheets of the aforementioned reportage after the development of the negatives in the darkroom. It´s a turning point in his life. A huge enthusiasm invedes all of his being, and breaking every protocol, he takes the contact sheets in his hand and rushes towards the office of Simon Guttman, director of Dephot Agency, abruptly bursting into it, showing him the little 24 x 36 mm images and crying that those are the best pictures he has ever seen.

Guttman, a highly experienced man regarding the visualization and selection of images (he was the founder of Dephot in 1928 along with Alfred Marx) and one of the best picture editors in history along with Edward K. Thompson, John G. Morris, Jimmy A. Fox, Howard Chapnick, Wilbur E. Garret, Robert Pledge, Monica Cipnic, David Friend, Jay Colton, Jeffrey D. Smith and others, is at those moments the flagship of the German photojournalism, the unchallenged benchmark in early thirties, with such outstanding publications as Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Muncher Illustrierte Presse, Die Dame, Kölnische Illustrierte, etc.

He has worked closely with Muncher Illustrierte Presse and other illustrated magazines (while Weltrundschau Agency, directed by Rudolph Birnbach, sold its pictures above all to Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, Republican Illustrated and A.I.Z), and also with top-notch photojournalists like André Kertész, E.P. Hahn, Felix H. Mann, Kurt Hutton, Umbo, Walter Bosshard, Harald Lechenperg, Balkin, Wolfgang Weber, Comeriner, Seldow, Tim Gidal, Willy Rugge, Martin Muncaksi and others.

Both the queer situation and Bandi´s unconscious daring greatly draws the attention of Guttmann, who knows Lechenperg deeply (the remarkable Hungarian editor was always accurately aware about the most suitable photographer for every assignment) and guesses that the pictures made in Punjab have to be superb indeed (as a matter of fact, the reportage would be published in the number of Die Dame of August 15, 1932).

He realizes the huge passion that has inflamed the heart of the very young Bandi, and with his great nose for photographers hunting, after talking to him again some more times during the following weeks in the Romanisches Café of the Kurfürstendamm, decides to put him through his paces as a photographer and gives him

the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 with Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5, with which between late August and mid November of 1932 he orders him to make some not signed small photographic tasks in the area of Berlin (mainly getting pictures of people walking through streets and sports events) in order that he can get accustomed to using the little camera in action contexts, as well as verifying his talent, until during the last week of November of 1932, he assigns him his first important credited reportage as a professional photojournalist: to go to Copenhaguen (Denmark) to get pictures of Leon Trotsky during a lecture he will pronounce on November 27, 1932 in the Sports Palace of that city before an attendance of some thousands of university Danish students.

Endre Ernö Friedmann successfully fulfills the mission, takes very good photographs and the first photojournalistic reportage of his life is published two weeks later in full page by the German magazine Der Welt Spiegel in its number of December 11, 1932, with the byline Aufnahmen Friedmann Degephot appearing on its right lower area.

© Lisl Steiner

1961. Twenty-nine years later.

Julia Friedmann goes for the last time to Amawalk Cemetery (New York) to pray by the grave of Robert Capa, her son.

She is being accompanied by a woman whom she met two years before and was about to marry a friend of her son Cornell Capa and has become a great friend of hers.

Julianna Henrietta Berkovits, born in 1888 in Nagy Kapos (Ruthenia), driving axle of Friedmann family in Budapest and the woman who managed to carry her sons Laszlo Friedmann, Endre Friedmann and Kornél Friedmann forward during twenties through strenuous effort and sacrifice of years (with usual exhausting working days from very early in the morning until midnight in the sewing salon of the family, while his husband Dezsö Friedmann spent part of the household income playing cards) is 73 years old.

In spite of the great affection and cares given to her by Cornell Capa, his wife Edie Capa and other persons who went out of their way trying to make her feel well, Robert´s death in 1954 shattered her.

Since then, she has visited some countries like Japan and Italy, invited to speak about her son Bob, but she hasn´t been able to overcome his absence and his memory, which flow every second into her mind and have filled her life with very deep sadness and grief since she attended his burial on June 11, 1954, in this same place in which she is now with her friend.

Julia Friedmann, who changed her name to Julia Capa in United States, is visibly aged and very worn out by suffering. The great health, strength and stamina she always featured have significantly waned, and the warmhearted and beloved Mother Goose is almost without energy to go on living.

Seven years have elapsed since she lost Bob, her favourite son, killed when stepping on a land mine while he was getting pictures during the Indochina War in the area of Thai Binh (Vietnam) on May 25, 1954.

Her elder son Laszlo had died in 1935 from rheumatic fever, and her husband Dezsö had died in 1939.

There has been one only survivor: her youngest son Cornell Capa, a great photographer who will sacrifice his career to fight to his utmost trying keep alive the memory of his brother Robert and his photographic legacy, founding the ICP of New York in 1974, with the help of Edie Capa (who had a very good eye and visual memory for images and had become a remarkable picture editor working from contact sheets, as well as featuring a great organizing talent), Cornell Capa´s secretary Anna Winand - both women had already worked intensively for some years before 1974 inside Cornell´s office in Manhattan, located in the Lower Fifth Avenue, classifying Bob´s huge photographic archive- and Micha Bar-Am.

Julia Friedmann, the all passion and huge working capacity woman, who cooked by the piece - specially Krautfleckerln in Hungarian Káposztás tészta style - from 1937 in the brownstone of West-eighty ninth Street of New York, where she lived with Cornell Capa (who worked as a printer in the laboratory of Pix Agency, founded in Manhattan in 1936 by Leon Daniel, Celia Kutschuk, Alfred Eisenstaedt and George Karger and would quickly become a Life magazine darkroom expert, and after working in the photo intelligence unit of the U.S Air Force during the Second World War,  he turned into a Life staff photographer in 1946) and his wife Edie, preparing meals not only for them but also for many future great pros then still fledging photographers beginning their careers like Ralph Morse (who went to see Mother Goose, Cornell and Edie after finishing his photography classes in the City College of New York) , Eileen Darby (who worked in Pix laboratory in the same way as Cornell Capa and subsequently founded her own agency Graphic House in 1941)), Yale Joel, Phil Schultz and others (including Ruth Orkin from 1943), perceives the proximity of death and sits by the grave of her son Robert Capa, doing it in such a way that she can´t see the inscription with his name on the stone slab, because she can´t stand the sorrow. She is immersed in her own thoughts, with an almost lifeless gaze, and it is at this moment when the woman who has accompanied her to the Amawalk cemetery, gets her last picture.

A few seconds later, a terrible and heart-rending scene happens when suddenly Robert Capa´s mother bursts into tears and throws herself on the grave of his son, yelling: Bob, Bob, Why are you here? !

Next day, two months before her death, Julianna Henrietta Berkovits gives her friend the first Leica camera used by his son Robert Capa: the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 with which the famous war photographer made the first reportage of his life, getting the pictures of Leon Trotsky during the lecture imparted by him in Copenhaguen in 1932 and which Julia Capa had preserved since Bob´s death in 1954.

 Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

A few weeks before its 22nd Camera Auction to be held on November 24, 2012, in its headquarters of Vienna, Westlicht announces that the first Leica camera used by Robert Capa will be among the items on sale.

It brings about a remarkable excitement, for it was known that the famous Hungarian photojournalist had used a chromed Leica III with non coated Leitz Summar 5 cm f/2 designed by Max Berek during the Spanish Civil War(now we know that he also used the Leica II Model D number 90023 with an Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 lens) until late May 1937 and a Contax II with Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 designed by Ludwig Bertele from that date, but there was very scarce information about the cameras that he had used before 1935 (year in which he acquired a second body: the Leica III because it was very important for him to be able to use its new dial with 1/20 sec, 1/15 sec, 1/10 sec, 1/8 sec, 1/4 sec, 1/2 sec and 1 sec slow speeds lacked by the Leica II Model D - then, the 35 mm films had a very low sensitivity- after turning the high speed dial to the also new speed mark 20-1 and the quick Summar 5 cm f/2 lens) and above all, it was utterly unknown the fact that Julia Friedmann had given in 1961, shortly before her death, to a person of his utmost confidence, the first Leica camera used by her son Bob in 1932.

51 years later, that person has arrived in Vienna coming from New York and is already within the great hall of Westlicht Photographica Auction, where she is going to attend to the bids for the quoted Leica II (Model D) camera number 90023 that she has discreetly kept for more than half a century and which has decided to put on sale in order that it can be in the hands of a collector or investor in a position to preserve it in future.

Lisl Steiner shows the full page of the number of the German illustrated magazine Der Welt Spiegel of December 11, 1932 with the first reportage made by Endre Ernö Friedmann to Leon Trotsky in Copenhaguen on November 27 of that year with the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 with Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens sold in the 22nd Westlicht Camera Auction held in Vienna on November 24, 2012.

This woman is Lisl Steiner, one of the best women photographers in history, great friend of Julia Capa, Cornell Capa and his wife Edith Schwartz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Pau Casals, Leonard Bernstein, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Erich Leinsdorf, Louis Armstrong, Pablo Neruda, Pele, Oscar Niemeyer, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Friedrich Gulda, Martin Luther King, Nat King Cole, Jorge Luis Borges, Rod Steiger, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Sir Thomas Beecham and many other internationally renowned personalities whom Lisl has captured all over the world throughout her professional career of more than 60 years as a photojournalist, and whose pictures were published in top class publications like Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Keystone Press Agency, O Cruzeiro and others, having also been featured in the number 2/2000 of the legendary magazine Leica World, and has likewise worked in a vast range of TV productions for NBC and PBS.

Lisl Steiner holds with both hands two enlarged 24 x 36 mm contacts of the reportage made by Endre Ernö Friedmann to Leon Trotsky in Copenhaguen in 1932, using the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 camera with Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens and bulk loaded black and white cinematographic Kodak Panchromatic Nitrate 35 mm film featuring a sensitivity of Weston 32, roughly equivalent to 40 ASA.

Two years after being delivered the camera by Robert Capa´s mother, she covered with Cornell Capa the presidential campaign of John Fitzgerald Kennedy until the very day of his assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The starting price of the camera with its Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens was 8,000 euros,

Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

because the Leica II (Model D) was manufactured in great quantities: 21,970 units during 1932 (first production year to which belongs the camera given by Julia Friedmann to Lisl Steiner in 1961), with a total figure of black lacquered 36,938 units and 15,573 chromed ones made between 1932 and 1948.

In spite of it, the bidding minutes for Capa´s first Leica inside the hall of Westlicht Photographica Auction had an indescribable not free of stress thrill, with a very strong ´bidding battle´ that quickly made the price increase by leaps and bounds until reaching the figure of 50,000 euros, which was widely surpassed on attaining the 65,000 euros,

Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

after which a final bidding of 78,000 euros, far superior to the starting price, became the winner, which was a great success and has an important merit, because it is a camera model produced in great quantities, though it isn´t less certain that the persons who took part in the bid were aware about the fact that this camera captured a number of very relevant episodes of the history of photography in the hands of one of his foremost photojournalists.

As a matter of fact, this camera made such assignments as the already mentioned Leon Trotsky´s speech in Copenhaguen in 1932; the reportage of the exhibition of drawings by Heinrich Zille in Berlin in February 1932 which was published in Der Welt Spiegel of March 12, 1933; the Tame Wolf in Hungary in 1933; the reportage of Saarland made in the last week of September 1934 and published in two chapters in the numbers of Vu magazine of November 7 and 21, 1934 with very modern layout of text and pictures for the time; the photographs of the arrangements of the flight of Spanish colonel Emilio Herrera trying to beat the altitude world record with an airship, published in the number of Vu magazine of June 5, 1935; the Seville Easter Holy Week in the number of Voilà of April 4, 1936 with pictures made in 1935; the French voters in the municipal building of Saint Dennis (France) the day of elections on May 3, 1936; the pictures of León Blume speech in Paris on July 14, 1936; the workers of Renault factory on strike in the factory of Boulogne-Billancourt in late May 1936; the workers on strike with a basket of sausages in Saint-Ouen in early June 1936; the exchange brokers under the porch of Paris Bourse building in May 1936; the actors tests in the cinema Crochet of Paris in May of 1936; the reportage made in the last week of June 1936 during the special session of the League of Nations in Geneva and published in the number of Vu of July 8, 1936; the reportage of the International Meeting for Peace held in Verdun (France) on July 12, 1936 celebrating the 20th anniversary of the battle; the street dances celebrating the Day of Le Bastille Capture in Paris on July 14, 1936; the Armistice Day in Paris on November 11, 1936

and a number of historical and famous  reportages made by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War (in which he used two cameras, the Leica II Model D with Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 sold in Westlicht and a Leica III Model F with Summar 5 cm f/2 lens) such as the bombings of Madrid (Regards December 10, 1936); a number of the pictures taken in Barcelona and its surroundings and in Aragon Front (Santa Eulalia, Leciñena, etc) in August 1936 published in Regards number of  September 10, 1936; a percentage of the pictures made in Puerta del Sol of Madrid in late August 1936; some of the pictures made in Cerro Muriano and Espejo (Córdoba) in early September of 1936 and published in the number of Vu of September 23, 1936 and Regards number of September 24, 1936; a number of the pictures taken in the University City of Madrid, Parque del Oeste and Casa de Campo during November-December of 1936 (published in Regards numbers of December 10, 17, 24 and 31 of 1936, along with Life of December 28 of that year) and February of 1937 (published in Ce Soir March 11, 1937, Ce Soir March 31, 1937, Ce Soir May 3, 1937, the New York Times of April 4, 1937 and Life of April 26, 1937 ); many of the photographs taken during the escape of Málaga refugees going across the coast road on foot towards Almería fleeing the Francoist troops advance; the Battle of Monte Sollube in Bilbao area during the first week of May 1937 (published in Regards May 20, Ce Soir May 14 and 15; Bilbao city being bombed by Francoist planes and its population running through the streets or watching the aerial combats in early May 1937 (published in Ce Soir May 17, Het Leven June 19, 1937), and others.

The back of the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 has the plug in the back typical in the earliest Leica II cameras. It had been originally been created to be used with the Leica 1 Model A (introduction year 1925), Compur Leica (introduction year 1926) and Leica 1 Model C first version (introduction year 1930), all of them being non standardized models, in such a way that a skilful employee in Wetzlar could put the correct back focus through a hole in the plate enabling the use of a screwdriver from inside the camera, until 1931, year in which the back focus distance was standardized.

There are hints indicating that a high percentage of the earliest Leica II (Model D) cameras made during 1932 were built by the Leitz factory in Wetzlar using remaining bodies featuring the plugged hole on the back coming from both the second half of twenties when Leicas had not interchangeable lenses and also from the period of birth of interchangeable lenses with the Leica 1 Model C Non Standard Mount from 1930-1931, in which lenses were matched to individual cameras as the lens mount flange to film distance varied with each camera, which was individually adjusted for infinity focus, while each lens had to be matched and adjusted for each body.

The non coated and interchageable nickel Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 number 133594 manufactured in early 1932 matching the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 is historically valuable and interesting, because it was one of the first made featuring 7 o´clock infinity lock.

The earliest interchangeable nickel Leitz Elmars 5 cm f/3.5 lenses (previous fixed Elmars converted to the new screw mount able to accept different lenses by the Leitz factory in Wetzlar) had appeared in early 1931 (year of introduction of the Leica 1 Model C Standard Mount, which was the first Leica camera to sport the new so versatile mount, with a 28.8 mm distance betwen the lens mounting flange and the film plane, while the design of the Leica II was very advanced), and featured an 11 o´clock infinity lock along with bell-push release button and went on being manufactured until early 1932, but soon later in that same year, Leica changed the infinity lock of its Elmars from 11 to 7, because it had more advantages for the photographers.

The interchangeable nickel Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens number 133594 made in early 1932 with a 7 o´clock infinity lock was one of the last ones manufactured showing its serial number chiseled on the ring of noble brass under which can be seen the glass of the front element of the lens and the diaphragm blades, a trait it shares with the earlier standardized bell-push models with 11 o´clock infinity lock.

On the other hand, because of its intensive use for years, this lens features some little scratches and cleaning marks on its front element.

The Leica II (Model D) which began its production in February of 1932, was a superb camera for its time, and meant a turning point in the history of Leica rangefinder cameras, since it was one of the crowning works of the Leitz Westzlar Team directed by Oskar Barnack and the first to feature a rangefinder coupled to the focusing mechanism of the lens until two images coincide by means of the classic system of superposing into one, and though the rangefinder and viewfinder windows were not integrated between each other, the presence of the quoted rangefinder enabled the photographers to easily find the distance and accurately focus the lens, with the focusing and composing operations being made in a separate but quickly way.

On the other hand, the non coated Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 lens, featuring a 4 elements in 3 groups Tessar optical scheme, designed by Max Berek in 1924, rendered a huge image quality for the time and was the world benchmark in resolving power and contrast, together with the much more luminous and extraordinary for the period Mehr Licht Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5 sporting 6 elements in 3 groups and Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 featuring 6 elements in 3 groups designed by Ludwig Bertele, albeit the amazing compactness of the Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 with its weight of 125 g and its exceedingly reduced dimensions also turned it into a powerful weapon for handheld shooting in sinergy with the likewise very small size and weight of the screwmount RF Leicas like the Leica II (Model D) and the Leica III (which was provided with a new dial featuring slow speeds between 1/20 sec and 1 sec, rangefinder magnification increased up to 1.5 x, strap lugs and usually coming with a Leitz Summar 5 cm f/2 as a standard lens), which were used by many of the most important photojournalist in the world during thirties like Ilse Bing, Otto Umbehr, Erich Salomon, Tim Gidal, Alfred Eisenstaedt, David Seymour ´Chim´, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fred Stein, Robert Capa (who changed to Contax II with a RF base of 90 mm with magnification of 0.75x and a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 from late May 1937), Agustí Centelles, Thomas D. Mc Avoy, Jean Moral (who mostly used a medium format Rolleiflex), and others.

© Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA


Eleven years years have elapsed since June 11th, 2001, when Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie opened in the Westbahnstrasse, 40 of Vienna (Austria), founded by its creator and driving force Peter Coeln through the private initiative of camera collectors and enthusiasts of top-notch photography, with the aim of enhancing the significance of photography both from a historical viewpoint and in terms of the relationship between photographic cameras and lenses and the art of photography.

In all this time, Westlicht has become a world class reference as a camera gallery, picture gallery and very high quality selling point of new and vintage cameras, lenses and all type of accessories, simultaneously managing to likewise turn into a benchmark venue of photographic equipment and images auctions with its two already worldwide famous events Westlicht Camera Auction and Westlicht Photo Auction.

Until now, there have been twenty two camera auctions and seven photo auctions.

This time, for the first time in history, the Westlicht Photo Auction (November 23rd, 2012 at 6 p.m) and the Westlich Camera Photo Auction (November 24th 2012 at 11 a.m) were held in two consecutive days, with remarkable attendance of audience arrived in Vienna from all over the world and a very high figure of bidders taking part in the auction through the different choices available: written, live, online, by phone, by fax, etc.

Both of the auctions were a great success, wisely managed by Nikolaus Schauerhuber (Auctioneer) helped by Jonny Glanz, Olivia Coeln and Mona Coeln, with a total volume of sales of 8,240,000 euros and 92% of the cameras, lenses and accessories lots sold regarding the 22th Westlicht Camera Auction, and what´s even more outstanding:

the remarkable success of the 7th Westlicht Auction of Photography, that has been one of the best and most important events of this kind ever held, and which has probably meant a new turning point in the history of Westlicht and will foster even more if feasible its prestige, recognition and influence.

This truly unforgettable photographic auction has encompassed pictures of such legendary photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertész, Robert Capa, Cornell Capa, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, László Moholy Nagy, Lisl Steiner, Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke White, Rene Burri, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti, Paul Wolff, Josef Koudelka, Hugo Henneberg, Lothar Rübelt, Brassai, Mark Riboud, Philippe Halsmann, Robert Mappelthrope, Herb Ritts, Arthur Rothstein, David Lachapelle, Inge Morath, Elliot Erwitt, Erich Salomon, Bill Brandt, Tina Modotti, Alberto Korda, Frank Horvat, Diane Arbus, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Elfriede Mejchar, Jan Saudek, Dennis Stock, Eve Arnold, Cindy Sherman, Joel Meyerowitz, Josef Polleross, Mario Giacomelli, Leonard Freed, Phillip Jones, Wegee, Imogen Cunningham, Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Josef Sudek, Berenice Abbot, Yousuf Karsh, Shoji Ueda, Bruce Davidson and others.

And new peaks were reached with examples like the 31,200 euros attained by Hugo Hennenberg´s Landscape with Sheep (whose opening bid had been 18,000 euros), the mythical Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare made by Henri Cartier Bresson in Paris in 1932, whose hammer price was 12,600 euros (its starting bid had been 7,000), the Portrait of Lucille Ball made by Cindy Sherman  was bought for 7,800 euros (the starting bid had been 2,500 euros), and amazingly, the Untitled Towelhead, a further work by Cindy Sherman being the cover front of the auction, reached a final bid of 4,800 euros; Emma Bacher´s Klimt with Telescope had a hammer price of 14,400 (the starting price was 6,000 euros); Tina Modotti´s Landscape attained a hammer price of 19,200 euros (start price 12,000 euros); Horst P. Horst´s Still Life New York, Surreal Beauty Cream (start price of 4,000 euros) achieved a hammer price of 13.200; Josef Sudek´s Emmaus Church (starting price of 1,400 euros) reached 4,080 euros; Frank Horvat´s Fashion Study Cardin (start price of 1,200 euros) fetched 5,040 euros; Yoursuf Kars´s Three Men on a Mountain (start price of 2,500 euros) reached a hammer price of 5,760; René Burri´s Ernesto Ché Guevara (start price of 4,00 euros) reached a hammer price of 6,840 euros; Shoji Ueda´s Winter (starting price of 1,800 euros) reached 4,080; David Lachapelle´s Elton John (start price of 600 euros) reached 2,880 euros; Lisl Steiner´s Waiting for Fidel (start price of 800 euros) reached a price of 1,800 euros, etc.

And as if it were not enough, there was an added golden clasp:

the formidable NASA and Soviet Space Program Collection including 2,456 prints and 2144 transparencies of Pre Mercury Space Program, Mercury Space Program, Geminis Space Program, Apollo Space Program, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, etc, along with pictures of the Sputnik 2, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, Soyuz 7, Soyuz 9, Salyut 1, Lunokhod 1 vehicle, etc, it all reaching a hammer price of 240,000 euros (starting price of 200,000 euros).

This massive assortment of pictures from NASA and USSR Space Programs, with difference the most complete ever seen and put on sale, contained two troves of the history of photography: 15 silver 20 x 30 cm and ten 20 x 30 cm vintage silver prints of pictures of sleep deprivation and endurance tests made by Cornell Capa for the U.S Air Force School of Aviation Medicine in late fifties, and the pictures of early designs of space attire also made during late 1950s.

The outstanding success of this 7th Westlicht Photo Auction deserves accolades, specially if we bear in mind that the 1st Westlicht Photo Auction was held on December 5, 2009, so it has only existed for three years, unlike the Westlicht Camera Auction, whose first edition took place on November 1, 2002, and has been the core of Westlicht till now along with the 20 years old Leica Shop and the great Vienesse Leica Gallery held inside Westlicht building and which is in thorough relation with the Leica Galleries in New York, Tokyo, Solms, etc.

It´s likewise something specially praiseworthy because Westlicht Photographica has established itself as the biggest auction house for cameras in the world for many years, attaining some amazing record breaking results like the staggering 2,160.000 euros hammer price for a Leica 0 series from 1923, and it was known well in advance (there had been a preview in Hong Kong on November 10, 2012) that the 22th Westlicht Camera Auction of November 24, 2012 would be a sensation (as it happened, with a selection of 650 cameras, lenses and accessories of the highest quality on sale and 3,6 million euros fetched by only three Leica cameras: David Douglas Duncan legendary Leica M3D, the gold plated Luxus Leica from 1929, the chief engineer of Leica Willi Stein´s first serial production M3, along with many other highly coveted cameras, resulting in a total volume of sales of 8,240, 000 euros).

Therefore, the 7th Westlicht Photo Auction just the previous day to the Camera Auction was a substantial challenge which was surpassed with high marks and became a landmark yielding excellent results.

To attain this great success and international recognition hasn´t obviously been by chance, but fruit of a strenuous steady effort of eleven years fulfilled by the Westlicht Photographica team, who have worked very hard until arriving at this moment: Peter Coeln (Director), Olivia Coeln, Mona Coeln, the architects Eichinger oder Knechtl, Verena-Kaspar Eisert (Director), Rebekka Reuter (Chief Curator), Martin Reinhardt (Spokeman of Auctions in Westlicht), Lisa Riebenbauer (Project Assistant), Eva Mühlbacher (Projects and Members), Katharina Buschenreiter (Guided Tours), Stefan Musil (Press), Carla Benzing (Press Assistant), Malina Schartmüller (Events), Marie Röbl (Photography Collection), Michaela Seiser (Photography Collection), Johannes Faber (founder and director of Galerie Johannes Faber in Vienna, art dealer and expert on classic photography), Anna Zimm (Photographica Auction, cataloguer and expert on daguerreotypes), Jo Geier (a great expert on Leica),  Franz Gibiser (an experienced and knowledgeable dealer of classic cameras and lenses, movie cameras and accessories), Wolf Nolting (cataloguer, expert on drawings and prints), Taiyoung Ha (Conservation), Nadine Weiner (Conservation Assistant), Martina Nagyova (Library & Bookshop), Katja Schindler (coauctioneer in some auctions), , Marco Pauer (Photographer), Michael Kollmann (Photographer), Sandro Zanzinger (Photographer), Peter Jakadofsky (Photographer, catalogue administrator and image editor), Dominik Trat (Photographer), Gerhard Krejci (Photographer), S.Z (Photographer) and many more, without forgetting the great panel of world class experts on Leica cameras, lenses and accessories, who have been instrumental throughout these eleven years in the development of Westlicht Photographica and Leica Shop: Dr Bahman Bawendi, James E. Cornwall, Zoltan Fejér, Peter Göllner, Larry Gubas, Mayumi Kobayashi, Uli Koch, Jim McKeown, Ottmar Michaely, Dr. Milos Mladek, Dr. Wolfgang Netolitzky, Lars Netopil, Bernd K. Otto, Dieter Scheiba, and others.

From scratch, Westlicht has also made a huge effort of searching for the most beautiful, valuable and rare pieces all over the world, both in the scope of cameras and photographs, implementing the necessary major investments to satisfy the great expectation of customers and bidders, managing to create a very important international network of dealers and collectors after many years of exceedingly hard work.

To cite only an example, the French collector Michel Auer had a decisive role in the gathering of the 250 Weegee´s vintage prints for the exhibition Weegee, Retrospective 1932-1960 held in Westlicht Gallery between December 16th and February 12th 2012, the most important of this photographer made in the world hitherto along with the extraordinary Unknown Weegee exhibition held at the ICP of New York between June 9 and August 27, 2006, which was organized by Cynthia Young (Assistant Curator of the International Center of Photography) and the also remarkable recent worldwide itinerant Weegee: Murder is My Business held between May 18-September 2, 2012 organized by Brian Wallis (ICP Chief Curator) which is currently displayed in the Photomuseum of Antwerp (Belgium) and includes environmental recreations of Weegee´s apartment and exhibitions.

And it´s also important to mention the world class photographers who have supported Vienna Westlicht Photographica from its very birth, usually attending to all kind of events, auctions and exhibitions held in its facilities: Lisl Steiner, Erich Lessing, David Douglas Duncan, Rene Burri, Elliot Erwitt, Franz Hubmann, Wim Wenders, Josef Polleross and many others, along with international authorities on photography like Anna Auer (European Photography for Photographic History), Johannes Faber, Uwe Schögl, Ulla Fischer-Westhauser, and personalities of the cultural sphere like Dr Danielle Spera and Kurt Palm (Jüdisches Museum Wien) and others, without forgetting the very important sponsorship provided by ACM Projectenwicklung GmbH (ruled by Andreas Kaufmann, CEO of Leica Camera AG and owner of the Leica Gallery in Salzburg), Wirtschafts Agentur Wien, Econgas, Der Standard, Film Archiv Austria, ORF Radio Osterreich 1, Austria Kultur Kontakt, Hunger auf Kunst & Kultur and Gartenbaukino, etc.

As already explained, the 7th Westlicht Camera Auction has been a milestone in the history of this sort of events, with frequent episodes of what is popularly known as ´bidding war´, always within the very strict working guidelines of Westlicht Photographica Auction and the good manners, education and knowledge of attendees, who sometimes fought tooth and nail for the most coveted images, under the experienced management of the auctioneer Niki Schauerhuber,

specially during the moments of peak excitement and competition, like for example the mythical Behind The Gare Saint-Lazare picture, taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris in 1932,

a 32,5 x 21,5 cm gelatin silver print which quickly began to increase its starting price of 7,000 euros, with a number of biddings

taking place and appearing on top right of the high quality projected image,

easily reaching the 8,000 euros, 9,000 euros and 10,000 euros, until fetching

the figure of 10,500 euros, 11,500 euros

and a final bidding of 12,600 euros

which was the hammer price in the middle of applause inside the Westlicht Photographica Auction big room.

The great picture ´Waiting for Fidel Castro´ of Henri Cartier-Bresson taken by Lisl Steiner in New York in 1961 became one of the most sensational moments of the event and brought about unutterable waves of enthusiasm and thrill among the great numbers of lovers of photography who arrived in Vienna to watch the auction live. To be able to see the 34,1 x 24 cm gelatin silver print projected on a large screen was a true relish. It fetched a hammer price of 1,800 euros, more than twice the original starting price of 800 euros.

It was among the most beloved photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Agency.

The legendary photographer Lisl Steiner on November 23, 2012 in Westlicht. Born in 1927 in Vienna (Austria), she features a experience of more than 60 years as a photojournalist and artist and has contributed with her images to reference class publications like Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Keystone Press Agency, O´Cruzeiro and others, having also worked in a wide range of television productions for NBC and PBS.

She made some very important reportages in the history of photojournalism, as her coverage of John Fitzgerald Kennedy presidential campaign and funeral in 1963, the Martin Luther King Funeral in 1968 or the Chimney Sweeps of Vienna, and photographed such personalities as Louis Armstrong, Oscar Niemeyer, Pelé, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Pau Casals, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Carmen Amaya, Friedrich Gulda, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fidel Castro, Robert F. Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Adlai Stevenson, Franz Beckenbauer, Miles Davis, B.B.King, Nat King Cole, Jorge Luis Borges, Rod Steiger, Nicola Walter and many others.

She is also considered one of the best photographers of classical music events ever, being a great authority in both directors and performers, and has photographed many rehearsals and live concerts conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf and others, and has probably been the most prominent photojournalist in history regarding this scope along with Ruth Orkin.

The strong competition and increasing bids constantly made by bidders from all over the world made the Westlicht Team work hard from scratch, striving after fulfilling with utter accuracy the biddings, specially the phone ones. In the image, we can see Rebekka Reuter (Chief Curator of Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie, on the right), and Peter Coeln (Director of Westlicht, on the left) paying attention to telephone bidders during a moment of the auction, while Jo Geier (a great expert on Leica, in the center of the image) and another member of Westlicht Team also keep tabs on the bids.

Shoji Ueda´s Winter (belonging to his series ´Children The Year Around´) made during sixties. This 15,7 x 23,5 cm vintage silver print fetched a hammer price of 4,080 euros, far superior to the starting price of 1,800. On the lower right area of the image is the auctioning table with Jonny Glanz, Nikolaus Schauerhuber (auctioneer) and Mona Coeln.

Cindy Sherman´s portrait Lucille Ball, made in 1975, at the beginning of its auction. This 26,1 x 20, 8 cm chromogenic print would reach a final hammer price of 7,800 euros.

A moment in the beginning of the bidding for Frank Horvat´s Fashion Study (Cardin), Paris, 1959, a 19,3 x 28,8 cm gelatin silver print which would reach a hammer price of 5,040 euros, almost a 500% more than its starting price tag.

Helmut Newton´s Model and Meccano Set. Paris, 1976, a 37,4 x 25,5 cm gelatin silver print which attained a winning bid of 4,800 euros.

Tina Modotti´s Landscape, México 1926. A 13,7 x 16,4 cm vintage silver print with a starting price of 12,000 euros which would attain a hammer price of 19,200. To watch projected on a large screen this image (and many others making up this auction) oozing the typical and very nice aesthetics of image inherent to the old chemical monochrome emulsions featuring apparent grain and great quantities of silver was a really unique experience.

Ansel Adam´s Sequoia Roots, Yosemite National Park, California. 1950, a 23,8 x 19 cm gelatin silver print made in 1998 by Alan Ross from Ansel Adam´s original negative. It reached a hammer price of 840 euros (the starting starting price had been 500 euros).

Professor Anna Auer, one of the greatest experts on History of Photography in the world and a pioneer in the creation of photo galleries with her gallery Die Brücke in Vienna (visited by Ernst Haas every time he went to Austria), that was strongly inspired by the legendary Camera magazine and the keynotes set forth by Helmut Gernsheim.

Already in 1972 and 1973, she showed in Austria exhibitions of American photographers like Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Duane Michals, Dick Arentz, Andrew Davidhazy, Minor White, Les Krims, Susan Barron, E.S.Curtis and Judy Dater, together with other significant exhibitions like Übersee, displayed in the Vienna Kunsthalle in 1998, fruit of a previous research on the Austrian photography in the emigration, and Die Materie die wir nicht sehen Franco Fontana´s solo exhibition in 1972.

A living encyclopedia of photography with tremendous knowledge and experience, she was also co-editor of Photoresearcher, the top-notch quality journal of the European Society for the History of Photography.

She attended personally to the 7th Westlicht Photo Auction and is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of the ESHPh, of which she was President between 2004-2008.

She is among many other subjects a great authority on Ansel Adams, and on April 23, 2007, she imparted in Westlicht a historical lecture during the Press Preview of the Ansel Adams Classic Images Exhibition which took place between April 24th and June 3rd of 2007 in cooperation with the Ansel Adams Trust and Anne Adams Helms.

On the other hand, Anna Auer is author of the most in-depth existing research on the great Austrian portraiture photographer Ferdinand Schmutzer, mainly delving into his remarkable technical expertise using lighting, shades, perspective and contrast geared to his gift to capture the personality of the photographed persons in his images, which was the core of the lecture given on November 12, 2002 in Maastricht during the ESHPh Symposium, and the exhibition Ferdinand Schmutzer 1870-1928, shown in Westlicht Gallery between November 29, 2001 and February 24, 2002.

René Burri´s Ernesto Che Guevara. Havana, 1933. A 16,7 x 27,5 cm gelatin silver print made in 1984, which had a starting price of 4,000 euros

and quickly achieved bids over 5,000 and 6,000 euros, getting a hammer price of 6,840 euros.

Helmut Newton´s Woman with Nikon Camera 1960s in the beginning of its bidding. The lady appears holding in his right hand a Nikon SP, along with the Leica M3 the best 35 mm rangefinder camera ever made. This 25,8 x 34,2 cm gelatin silver print fetched a hammer price of 3,840 euros (starting price of 1,000 euros).

Horst P. Horst´s Still Life New York Surreal Beauty Cream. 1941 in the beginning of its bidding. This impressive 18,8 x 18, 6 cm platinum palladium print became one of the most craved and disputed photographs, in the midst of full-fledged bidding battle, until it reached a hammer price of 13,200 euros.

Yousuf Karsh´s Three Men on a Mountain (Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Marino Marini). Ottawa, August 3, 1970. This 18 x 25, 3 cm gelatin silver print had a starting price of 2,500 euros and attained a hammer price of 5,760 euros. The fabulous mastery of the light and loads of detail in this picture made by the studio magician with a large format 8 x 10 (contact of 20 x 25 cm) Calumet bellows camera with 14" (356 mm) f/6.3 Commercial Ektar coated lens and orthochromatic b & w film projected on the large screen of Westlicht Photographic Auction large room was another of the highlights of the day.

To have masterpieces of photography like these, made from the original negative, as they were taken by the photographer when he/she was looking through the viewfinder of his/her camera, must be a real visual treat, fostered by the possession of a highly valuable piece of history.

It was something that until recently was mostly reserved to museums and institutions, because of the high costs of preservation of the pictures, but the arrival of new breakthrough fixtures of indoor lighting based on LED technologies and the current availability of customized installations for private houses embodied by highly experienced firms like Simon Indoor Lighting, is starting to enable collectors, investors and enthusiasts of photography pining for having these works of art at home to have a workable solution, since LED contrivances don´t irradiate heat and don´t emit UV or IR rays, so on not deteriorating tonal ranges of vintage monochrom prints, colours or textures, pictures are flawlessly protected and preserved throughout many decades, with the added bonus of a suggestive and exceedingly stable illumination of architectural spaces enhanced by an unaltered light over the passage of time and a very low energetic consumption.

Raymond Fabre´s Pablo Picasso portrait. Perpignan 1954 in the beginning of its bidding. This gorgeous 39,8 x 29,8 cm vintage silver print fetched a hammer price of 3,840 euros (the starting price was 2,000 euros).

Robert Capa´s Watching an air-to-air encounter. Second Sino-Japanese War. Hankou, China. April 29th, 1938 in the beginning of its biddings. The woman in the front row under the projected picture is the legendary photographer Lisl Steiner, great friend of Julia Friedmann, Cornell Capa and Edith Capa.

She came to Vienna from New York to attend the event and was another of the illustrious visitors of this historical 7th Westlicht Photo Auction.

The 15,7 x 23,5 cm gelatin silver print made during seventies reached soon the figure of 1,900 euros, subsequently surpassing the 2,000 euros and getting a hammer price of 2,280 euros.

Phillip Halsman´s Salvador Dalí in Port Lligat (Spain). 1959. This 32,9 x 25,4 cm gelatin silver print began with a starting price of 400 euros, and a winning bid of 1,200 euros finally prevailed.

Josef Polleross´s World Trade Center, New York. 1984. This 22,6 x 34,3 cm vintage silver print had a starting price of 600 euros and reached a hammer price of 900 euros.

Dr. Paul Wolff´s Pair Skating at the Olympic Park Arena in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936, belonging to a series of six 18 x 24 cm vintage silver prints which began with a starting price of 2,500 euros and fetched a hammer price of 6.600 euros.

André Kertész´s Washington Square. September 25th, 1969. This 24,2 x 20,30 vintage print began with a starting price of 2,800 euros and achieved a hammer price of 3,840 euros.

Some loyal attendees to Westlicht Photo Auctions are developing an outstanding penchant for the works of great photographers.

© Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA