Frequently Asked Questions
When was the first photograph made? When was photography invented?
The earliest known surviving photograph made in a camera was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. The image depicts the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate in the Burgundy region of France. 1839 is the date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography. Niépce's associate Louis Daguerre is credited with the metal-based daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced and commercially viable photographic process. The daguerreotype soon had competition from the paper-based calotype negative and salt print processes invented by William Henry Fox Talbot. View photographs at A Gallery For Fine Photography by Fox Talbot.
What is an “original” photograph?
A photograph that is printed by or under the direction of, and usually signed by, the photographer during his or her lifetime is considered an original. Good provenance is essential to establish a photograph as an original, especially when the photographer is no longer living. A Gallery for Fine Photography exhibits and sells only original photographs.
What is a provenance?
A provenance is a written statement establishing the pedigree of a particular photograph – it is a history of the photograph's previous ownership. For many of our sales, the provenance simply records the direct route from the artist, to A Gallery for Fine Photography, to the buyer.
What are limited editions?
Some images are limited by the artist to a certain number of photographs that will be printed, meaning that they are produced in a limited edition. They are usually numbered by hand, either on the front (recto) or the back (verso) of the photograph. Edition sizes vary – most are less than 100; some are less than 25 or even less than 5. All original photographs can be considered limited, since they are produced during an artist's lifetime.
What is an unnumbered edition?
Some images are not limited by the artist to a certain number of photographs and have no stated limit that will be printed. This is referred to as an unnumbered edition. Unnumbered editions can still be considered limited editions, as photographers effectively limit their editions through time and their price structure. It is becoming a less common practice, but many fine art photographers print in unnumbered editions, from legends of the past like Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz, to contemporary masters like Elliott Erwitt and Sebastião Salgado.
Does the number in the edition make a difference in the value?
In our opinion, the particular number in a limited edition does not affect the value of the photograph.
What does “vintage” mean?
"Vintage" is a collector's term for photographs that were printed by the photographer or under the direction of the photographer at or near the time when the image was originally created. As a counterexample, a photograph printed 20 years after the original image was taken would not be considered a vintage print.
Do photographers print their own photographs?
Almost all professional fine art photographers print their own photographs. Those who don't do the actual printing work closely with an assistant or hired professional. The photographer/printer relationship is key to the final product of a legendary photographer's eye. It is important to ask and learn for each photographer what procedure they followed.
Do all photographers sign their photographs?
Most, but not all, of the original photographs for sale at A Gallery for Fine Photography are signed. Contemporary photographs should be signed. However, depending on the photographer and when the photograph was made, it is not necessarily problematic if a photograph is unsigned. Some very important photographers, such as Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, did not sign their work.
What is a darkroom?
A darkroom is a room from which normal light is excluded that is used to allow light-sensitive photographic materials to be processed and developed. Using traditional chemical processes, negatives are developed and photographs such as silver gelatin prints are made in the darkroom.
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a limited edition set of photographs presented as a group, usually in a custom made box. It commonly includes 10 or more photographs, each signed and numbered, and a colophon cover sheet with an index and introduction.
What do you think of digital photography?
"It is not the camera, it is the eye."
We love creative vision in any form it may take. Digital photography is another valuable tool and medium with its own unique qualities that can be quite beautiful. A Gallery for Fine Photography embraced digital photography early on, having presented one of the first major exhibitions featuring Iris prints (one of the early digital printing processes) by Joyce Tenneson in 1997.
I want to collect photography. How should I start?
Joshua Mann Pailet: "I would encourage anyone to surround themselves with photographs that move you, please you and challenge you. Trust your instincts and buy what you love. Enjoy the discovery!"
Can anyone collect?
Everyone should collect! A Gallery for Fine Photography offers a wide selection of significant photographs that are accessible to a variety of budgets.
How do I determine if a photograph is authentic? Are there fakes?
Fakes are unusual – they have surfaced, but infrequently. Provenance is essential to confirm a photograph's legitimacy. It is crucial to purchase original photographs from reliable sources like A Gallery for Fine Photography that will guarantee authenticity.
Are photographs good investments?
How long do these photographs last? Are the images stable?
Most silver gelatin photographs have a remarkable permanence, rated for stability for 100+ years. Digitally printed inkjet photographs printed on archival paper using archival pigment inks are likewise rated 100+ years. Chemically produced color photographs, such as Cibachromes and Dye-Transfer prints, are more sensitive – their colors may fade or shift over time. Image stability is dependent upon storage and display conditions, so it is important to frame, display, and store your photographs properly.
How should I frame my photographs for the best protection?
Photographs must be framed properly and exhibited under the proper light conditions to maximize their lifespan. It is imperative that you use only museum standards and frame with archival material and UV coated acrylic. Photographs should not be hung in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lighting. If unframed, photographs should not be exposed to light for significant periods of time and should be stored in archival sleeves and boxes.
Can a photograph be restored? Should photographs be restored?
Restoration and conservation is an important and specialized field. Deteriorating photographs can often be saved from further harm and photographs can often be cleaned and repaired. Whether or not to treat a photograph is a delicate decision. A Gallery for Fine Photography can advise on and recommend solutions to these questions.
Why should I buy from A Gallery for Fine Photography?
A Gallery for Fine Photography has been in business since 1973, under the care of Joshua Mann Pailet. Our reputation is respected worldwide, and the quality of our photographs is matched by our unparalleled expertise and guidance. Whether you are considering the purchase of your first fine photograph or seeking to add to a world-class collection, we are committed to helping you find the perfect piece. We guarantee all of our photographs for authenticity and condition, and happily provide follow-up services for appraisals and letters of provenance.
Is there an admission charge?
There is no charge for admission. Come on in!
What’s up with that awesome spiral staircase in the front room?
Isn't it beautiful! We can't be sure, but we were told that it came from a ship and that it actually predates the building.
Where did you get these photographs?
Most of the photographs in our inventory have been acquired directly from the photographers. Sometimes they are acquired from family or friends of the photographer, or from private collectors, or other dealers. Joshua Mann Pailet has been very fortunate to work closely with many of history's greatest photographers. Their personal support and willingness to work together have led to the amazing selection of photographs seen daily at A Gallery for Fine Photography.
Can you find a specific photograph that I don’t see in your inventory?
We can find almost anything. Just ask!
Do you buy photographs?
Yes. We are always interested in great photographs. Please send us an email.
Do you trade?
Yes. We are happy to discuss trading photographs on a fair and equitable basis.
How many exhibitions do you have per year?
We present three to ten exhibitions per year. Our exhibitions proudly feature both contemporary photographers and artists from the past, and take the form of solo and group shows. While most galleries devote their entire wall space to one exhibition at a time, A Gallery mounts curated exhibitions while also displaying a rotating selection of our inventory at all times.
Do you view new artist’s portfolios?
A Gallery For Fine Photography does view unsolicited portfolio submissions. Our procedure is outlined below. Given the high volume of requests, we are unable to make exceptions, so please read carefully:
All work must be delivered in print form and portfolios must not exceed twenty photographs. We do not consider digital submissions. Photographs must be hand-delivered and picked up the next business day. We will not receive or return your portfolio via third-party shipper. A Gallery For Fine Photography is not responsible for portfolios left at the gallery for more than one day.
An appointment must be made at least two weeks in advance for a portfolio delivery. Please contact us, by email or phone to make an appointment. Your work will not be evaluated during your appointment. Portfolio reviews or comments will not be given when the work is picked up. We will contact you if we have any questions.
We hope you understand that this procedure is necessary for us to continue to consider the abundance of great photography that exists outside our purview.
Do you have an intern program?
A Gallery for Fine Photography accepts applications for unpaid intern positions. Please send us a detailed cover letter and résumé if you are interested.
Can I join your mailing list?
Of course! A Gallery For Fine Photography offers a free gallery membership which includes a subscription to our mailing list, making you one of the first to know about new acquisitions, upcoming exhibitions, and other exciting news. Read more about our free membership.
What is “Treasures from the Third Floor”?
This is our latest project. Above the first and second floor exhibition space of the gallery is a private third floor that holds lagniappe from over forty years of collecting. We’ve been digging and have discovered treasures that are not currently in active inventory. Once every month or two we plan to offer for sale one or more of these very special items. Being a member ensures that you receive these offerings the moment they become available. Read more about our free membership.
Wait, what was that word “lagniappe?”
Lagniappe? It’s local New Orleans lingo meaning “a little something extra.”
Do you sell posters?
No, we sell only original photographs.
Do you have postcards?
Sorry, we no longer produce or sell announcement cards.
Do you have books? Are they signed?
We have an extensive bookstore in the gallery with a great selection of special signed and out of print books, some of which are available on this website. If you’re on the hunt for a rare photography book, don’t hesitate to ask.
Do you ship? Even to Australia?
We ship everywhere! Our shipping and handling charges include FedEx two-day service, a custom box, thorough protection, and insurance.
Do you offer payment plans?
A Gallery for Fine Photography is proud to offer clients the option of paying for their photographs over a period of time, interest-free – three to six months is standard. We require a non-refundable deposit of 10-50% of the price of the photograph. The photographs are shipped after the final payment is made.
Do you provide appraisals?
If an appraisal is needed for IRS purposes, we can refer you to an appraiser.
I am ready to purchase. How can I pay?
Wonderful! We accept all major credit cards, wire transfer, checks, and cash.
Joshua Mann Pailet, are you a photographer?
"Yes! I started out as a photographer before I opened A Gallery For Fine Photography, and I continue to produce new images every day as my camera accompanies me on this remarkable journey." You can view some of my photographs here.
Who is your favorite photographer?
"Everyone whose work is on view at A Gallery for Fine Photography is my favorite photographer. I only acquire and display photographs that I love. I encourage all potential clients to do the same."
Do you know the photographers personally?
Joshua Mann Pailet knows all the photographers that exhibit at A Gallery – the photography world is a small one. He considers the personal relationships he has developed with photographers, collectors, and colleagues to be among the greatest blessings of the last forty-five years.
What makes A Gallery For Fine Photography special?
A Gallery for Fine Photography maintains an enormous inventory spanning the entire history of photography, a selection of which is on view in the gallery at all times. The gallery has been described as “a museum for sale” due to the depth and breadth of its collection. As Joshua Mann Pailet explains: "the greatness of A Gallery for Fine Photography is a reflection of the photographers’ themselves, of their personal visions and trust in me to represent their work."
A Gallery for Fine Photography has served as an oasis for many people; it is a unique resource and a one-of-a-kind experience for all who visit.
Why did you open a fine art photography gallery in New Orleans?
New Orleans is a cosmopolitan city with a joie de vivre unlike anywhere else in America. Come visit and see why!
What is the best time of year to visit?
Anytime, although the summer can get hot. October to May is usually very pleasant. January might be wet and cold, but never for long.
Is the food really that good?
It is that good. Pack loose fitting pants, you’ll bring a pound or two back home with you.
Where’s Bourbon Street?
Over there – two blocks away!
I just came from Bourbon Street, can I bring my sugary alcoholic drink inside?
We kindly request that you leave all drinks at the door when entering.
Anything else I should know?
That about covers it! If you think of any more questions, come stop by the gallery – you won’t regret it!