Articles & Features

Collectors of the Copenhagen Photo Festival

Copenhagen Photo Festival
Portrait of Thomas Suchy with work by Michaela Maier

This weekend a selection of works from The Censored Exhibition at Copenhagen Photo Festival will go under the auction hammer at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.
We sat down with several collectors who have used past editions of the Copenhagen Photo Festival as a resource, and as a place of discovery and inspiration to fuel their own collecting interests.
Here are their stories.

Artwork by Sara Timar
Artworks by Irina Kholodna

Thomas Suchy

I have been attending the Festival since the early years when it still was located in the old Carlsberg brewery. Since I have always been interested in photography, it was exciting to see Copenhagen get its own Photo Festival.

The censored exhibition is a must for me, even a bit more than the main show, I think.
The satellite exhibitions usually run a bit longer than the Festival itself, some of those I try to see before or after the Festival.

What is great about the Festival is the diversity of the exhibited artwork. You get to be exposed to works you usually would miss and might discover exciting new artists that just might end up in your collection one day.

I never saw myself as much of a collector, but somehow It started with a Vee Speers exhibition poster from Fotografiska in Stockholm a few years ago. Then came some art books and at some point, the first unique artwork. At last years Festival
auction I bought four artworks in total. It was well above my original budget, but I do enjoy them literally every day. Photography has been part of my life for the last twenty years, and I love to share that passion. Art is a great conversation starter and photography as a relatively new art form is easily approachable, even if you’re not into art as such.

Personally, I enjoy both fine art and documentary photography, but it is when when the lines get blurry between them is where it becomes fascinating for me. That’s why I am collecting both and also show them in the same room or even the same wall.

I try not to pick a favorite artwork because each artwork has a unique story that I connect to the artist. Michaela Maiers’ work that I bought last year, for example, was the beginning of a friendship. She even invited me to be part of a group exhibition in Berlin last November. In fact, she will be back in Copenhagen at the end of June when we will have a small off-beat show in a small atelier in Vesterbro.

I also bought two pieces by Irina Khoholdna, another Berlin-based photographer. I really love her dreamy works, and some of them are shot close to where I lived during my time in Berlin.

Generally, I stay in touch with the artists and follow their development, and it is great to see how the Copenhagen Photo Festival can be a great start to a photographers career.

Copenhagen Photography Festival
Fassi, 33 ("the dough warrior"), 2008, Søren Dahlgaard

Daniel Fassi

My first experience with the festival was in 2016 when I was notified by Bruun Rasmussen about an upcoming auction of selected works from the curated exhibition. I went to the preview at the Museumsbygningen (then the space of the gallerist Banja Rathnov) and I found that many of the works in the exhibition were to my liking (and to the chagrin of my wife I ended up acquiring quite a few)

I often tend to promise myself to go to a lot of the exhibitions, talks and performances but most often I am to busy to go. I tried to get a ticket for a workshop on cameraless photography for this year’s festival for My 8 year old daughter, but unfortunately I was too late.

For me it’s a general thing with museums and exhibitions – I often buy annual passes to these institutions just to remind me to go back to them – but often end up returning some days after they have expired!

My collecting focus is quite broad and not only photography, but on works that intrigue me. Lately I have been acquiring more photographs than previously because they are relatively easily archivable – a great advantage given my limited wallspace.

I have become more aware of modern photography as an art form – and this has led me to start exploring the historical and technical aspects of photography. Richard Winthers experiments with homebuilt cameras, and recent Nicolai Howalts works from his ‘Light Break’ series are examples of artists going back to basic optics.

It is vital for me to live with art in my home – and at work – the media is not so important – and I tend to mix things. I have no problems with different genres being exhibited together the larger number of works on exhibit the more likely it is that I will stumble upon a work that gives me a special sensation or experience.

For instance my work from the “How to Hunt” series is grouped with works by Svend-Allan Soerensen relating to hunting – and works by the other Danish artists Flemming Rosenfalck, Thomas Bang and Jørgen Haugen Sørensen. Probably my favourite photograph that I own is a largeformat ‘Nordskansen’ from the How to Hunt Series by Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt – it is one of the few works in my collection that never leaves its spot – it is also too heavy to move around!

Copenhagen Photo Festival
Highway #1, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2003, Edward Burtynsky
Copenhagen Photo Festival
Michael Perch and Burtynsky work

Michael Perch

I originally heard about the photo festival from the internet. I was not actually able to attend last year but did attend the previous year, and had pinpointed several exhibitions of interest. I think the festival is a good chance to get inspired by new as well as established names within photography and if you are lucky you might even find a good bargain.

Since I was a teenager I have been interested in photography. This interest has since developed into collecting photography. Especially fine art photography. Actually, I enjoy both fine art as well as documentary photography. What is important is the story the photo tells.

A favorite photograph that I own? That is a difficult question. I am happy for all the photographs I own, each in their own way. That said I think my favorite is by Edward Burtynsky, picturing the intersection of Highway #1 Los Angeles, California from the ‘Oil’ series. Even though it is man made the form is almost organic.

I enjoy living with art, not only photography. I especially enjoy combining old with new, figurative with abstract to enhance the contrasts.