British photographic history

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How to turn £50 to £128 million .....

Nope, I'm not turning to be a con-man, but if this story is true then I'll be heading to the car boot sale at Laycock soon.

It's been reported in the press that a Californian antique buff, Rick Norsigian, found some negatives in a stack of ageing manila envelopes at a garage sale in Fresno, California 10 years ago. He claims to have paid less than $70 for the negatives from a man who bought them from a salvage warehouse in Los Angeles, California in the 1940s. They are now worth a mere $200 million (£128m).

This is because they are not just any negatives - a team of experts concluded that the 65 negatives were the early work of Adams, most likely taken between 1919 and the early 1930s and rescued from a fire in 1937. The photographer declared himself heartbroken at the fire, which destroyed an estimated one-third of his work.

However, the photographer’s family rejected the claim and insisted that the photographs were fakes. Matthew Adams, the photographer’s grandson, said: "There is no real hard evidence. I'm sceptical."

Bill Turnage, managing director of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, said: "It's an unfortunate fraud. It's very distressing."

Even though, it might sound like an episode of Dallas, I'm still off to the car boot sale .....

Photo: Rick Norsigian holds up a photograph made from a glass negative shot by the late photographer Ansel Adams (Copyright: AP)

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Comment by Michael Wong on July 30, 2010 at 10:46
The saga continues ...

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