Finders Keepers A Survey of Collecting, London

The Michael Hoppen Gallery will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in fabulous style by opening a treasure trove of private photography in the gallery’s largest public exhibition to date. Finders Keepers A Survey of Collecting will open on 12 December and run until 30 January, exhibiting 130 photographic gems over three floors. The gallery has handpicked these stunning photographs for their fascinating narrative, masterful technique and historical relevance, ranging from anonymous 19th century pictures to iconic post-war snapshots.

The chosen photographs reflect Michael Hoppen’s unique personal interests and his detailed appreciation of the image. Beginning in 1992, Hoppen’s collection draws from two distinctive elements: a strong enthusiastic interest in photography, and an obsessive love for collecting. Never just about ownership, Hoppen sought to uncover an image; the hunt outweighed the purchase. Finders Keepers is made up of contemporary and vintage photographs, covering a wide variety of genres, such as anonymous photography, evidential photography, boxing images, travel and anthropological photography. The vast variety of images exemplifies Hoppen’s eclectic interests, clearly these images were chosen based on preference rather than attained for a “collection”.

More specifically, the exhibition includes Charles Jones’ lovely, luminous peach; Nikolai Kuleschow’s surveillance balloon; Fredrich Seidenstucker’s trio of kitchen maids; Anton Stankowski’s photogram of a haunting baby; anonymous images of birds on wires;
fireworks leaving mysterious words in the sky, and the forensic close-up of a pistol pointed directly at the viewer. Other artists represented in the collection include Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Roger Ballen, John Deakin, Garry Winogrand, Lee Miller, Ernest J Bellocq, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Hunter S Thompson, Boris Savelev, Tod Papageorge, Terry Richardson, Sarah Moon, Desiree Dolron, Polly Borland, Weegee and Enrique Metinides, amongst others.

Alongside the exhibition there will be a limited edition book published of the same title. Rather than being organised by date or genre, the photographs are arranged by date of acquisition, with each page including annotations by Hoppen about their discovery and the history behind the works. As both a book and an exhibition, Finders Keepers showcases a captivating body of photography that celebrates, not only the photographers, but the eye of the collector that united them.

Finders Keepers A Survey of Collecting, 12 December – 30 January 2013, Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TD

All images courtesy of the Michael Hoppen Gallery
1. Denise Grünstein, Tied, 2009. © Denise Grunstein, courtesy of Charlotte Lund Gallery
2. Photographer Unknown, from The French House boxing collection, dates various. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery
3. Unknown Photographer, Gerald Chapman, Chicago Bootlegger, Singled out with the Editor’s arrow, 1940s. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery
4. Unknown Photographer, Inspection, 1940s