A unique press print
A young woman sits pensively in denim flares, waiting, thinking, asåÊpeople in suits and overcoats walk by.
This is one of a cache of press prints that Claire de Rouen will be releasing for sale in the run up to Christmas, because.. they are not only important, but also the most beautiful of gifts (for a loved one or for oneself!)
Printed in the darkroom in small, unnumbered editions by Homer Sykes, these prints had their important details written on verso and were stamped with his return address. They were circulated in the industry - sent out by Sykes to photographic agencies andåÊpicture desks where theyåÊmay have been catalogued, given numbers or colours, stamped, selected, cropped or annotated further, before being reproduced in newspapers, books or magazines.åÊ
Hailing fromåÊthe pre-digital age, these prints would have been returned to Homer by post, or simply thrown away. It is only now that we discern beauty and value in the functionality of these prints - in their status as objects which were passed around physically so thatåÊSykes's photographs could be published.
They are unique treasures from a time when the post was paramount,åÊdesks in newspaper offices were piled high with layers of prints and 35mm slides, and every art director had a pen in her hand...
6X9" handprint on 8X10" fibre based paper, printedåÊwhen the negative was made.åÊ
'[In 1967], in a country with an ailing economy, significant divisions of faith and race, and plural national identities, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson's promise of social modernisation were regarded with ambivalence by artists and photographers. Many found more attractive creative goals in an anti-modern focus. This scrutinised cultural memory, as well as fading and failing forms of life, ceremony and industry. These preoccupations would be an important concern to photographers right across the period, and none more so that the foundational hero of post-war British photography, Tony Ray-Jones, and his younger contemporaries, Homer Sykes, Chris Killip and Graham Smith. (David Alan Mellor writing in the catalogue foråÊNo such Thing As Society, an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery London in 2008).åÊ
Homer Sykes was born 1949 in Vancouver, Canada and moved to London in 1970.åÊ