Annie Leibovitz's Sumo Book

Annie Liebovitz’s SUMO SIZE BOOK

Taschen; 2014
Signed & numbered limited edition of 10,000
19.7 x 27.2 inches, 476 pages

A limited edition of 9,000 signed and numbered copies, the Annie Leibovitz SUMO presents some of the most famed actors, musicians, artists, writers, athletes, and businesspeople of our time. Available in four different cover photos, this at once intimate and iconic portrait collection is presented with a Marc Newson designed tripod book stand and a supplementary essay compendium.

Cover selects include the following: Keith Haring, New York City, 1986; David Byrne, Los Angeles, 1986; Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley, California, 1984; Patti Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1978

On Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty

I confess only one regret as a Mississippian:  that I never met Ms. Eudora Welty, the great writer and photographer whose words and images have offered me consistent, generous inspiration.  As I was reminded during a recent visit to her home at 1119 Pinehurst Street, Jackson, a failure of courage deprived me of a chance to have the privilege of knowing her. I have since tried mightily to rectify this misjudgment by immersing myself in her photography, learning about the person posthumously through her lens.  

Engrossed in my Southern Literature studies at Ole Miss back in 1997, my mind was full of Ms. Welty’s words and images as I drove to Jackson for a wedding garden party.  With the bravado of youth, I parked in front of Ms. Welty’s home at 1119 Pinehurst Street and telephoned my then-beau for a last-minute pep talk. Instead, he chided me for the southern sin of dropping by unannounced.  The sound of rapid-fire pecking on a typewriter echoed through her open window as I drove away.  I still hear that dirge nearly two decades later.

Eudora Welty; ' Chopping in the Field'  1936

Eudora Welty; 'Chopping in the Field' 1936

Since then, I have been honored to appraise, consult, and broker various portfolios and loose prints of Welty’s photographs through Rebekah Jacob Gallery.  My deep desire to address her work with the appropriate respect led to copious (perhaps obsessive) research as my team and I have chased down every possible scrap of information.  We have diligently sifted through thousands of images and supporting texts and re-read every essay/book she ever wrote. The more I slipped into her photographic world, the more I started to see how the eloquence of her written narratives was also present in visual form in her photographs.  

The upper crust of Delta life that we both grew up in was such a dramatic juxtaposition to the images she shot alone on assignment for the WPA in the 1930s, way down back dirt roads.  Suffering and proud, everyday Mississippians were imbued with the politics and economics of this complicated land when seen through her compassionate lens.  From the images—supported by many discussions with Welty scholar Suzanne Mars—it is clear the gentle, cautious hand she took when approaching her fellow Mississippians for these photographs.  No pose was forced, no intimidation used.  Instead, Ms. Welty led with respect and the result was poignant portraits of strength and dignity.  Then she tightly trimmed her kitchen-sink prints using the same critical eye with which she edited her stories.  

This intense study has only fueled my quest to get to the source of her work and to share it with others who share my respect for her oeuvre.  The negatives from 1930-1950 are lovingly preserved at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History with rare portfolios (sometimes just a loose print, others as a full unit) elusively showing up in galleries and auctions. As scholarship builds, as more new photographs are revealed, interest in Welty’s photography continues to rise.  Given the current market, I think that Welty’s body of work on WPA-era Mississippi is one of the most compelling photographic studies of the American landscape available.  There is no doubt that  Ms. Welty’s work is now considered a must-have for any true Southern photography collection.

I will continue, like so many others, to gravitate towards my North Star of 1119 Pinehurst Street where I firmly believe her legacy lives on.  There is little doubt that she will continue to inform and inspire with words and images to tell the story of our mutual homeland with grace and dignity.  Transcending her time, Ms. Welty continues to be Mississippi’s most treasured documentarian and ambassador. 

In the meantime, I am eager to tackle yet another portfolio box of gems  that just arrived at my doorstep, ready for discovery anew.

- Rebekah Jacob 

 

The Rare William Eggleston: Red-Ceiling (Greenwood, Mississippi), 1973

“For any serious arts educator, rare photography lover, and collector of Southern photography, to build a significant Southern photography collection, it’s an imperative to hopefully acquire works by Eggleston, if one has the means.” says gallery owner Rebekah Jacob.

Jacob –– an expert in Southern photography and an Old Miss-educated curator of specific Southern genres — describes the photo as “powerful and intense.” This rare and famous dye transfer portrays a cross of white cable leading to a central light bulb mounted on a ceiling painted red. It was taken in the guest room of one of Eggleston’s dear friends in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1971.

William Eggleston emerged in the early 1960s as a pioneer of modern color photography, especially portraying the vernacular of the Mississippi Delta.

“Very few Eggleston "Red Ceiling" photographs were ever printed,” explains Jacob, “and at least two are locked up in the Metropolitan and Getty Museums, respectively. Few have ever been available for sale, so this is a rare window of opportunity for top-bidding collectors.

‘’I grew up along the Delta, mainly in Clarksdale, Mississippi, so Eggleston's subject matter is innately and intensely familiar to me,” says Jacob. “I visited the Metropolitan Museum in NYC last week just to view his current exhibition, ‘At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston.' It was touching to see the commonplace subjects of my Southern roots exhibited inside one of the highest levels of art exhibition in the world."

“Art dealing is truly an art form in itself. It is a long process of experience, credibility, smart business, and ultimately the invitation to participate." says Jacob. "Gratefully, my formal education, masters degree, apprenticeships with top photography dealers, certifications, and incessant world travel to curate rare works of art, I have mastered my eye and advanced my level of connoisseurship for top-quality pieces. The invitations to represent elite photography transactions are now trickling into RJG consistently." 
 

Radio City is the second album by the American rock group Big Star. Released in 1974, Radio City was recorded during 1973 at Memphis' Ardent Studios

Radio City is the second album by the American rock group Big Star. Released in 1974, Radio City was recorded during 1973 at Memphis' Ardent Studios