In 1982 when I first inherited the collection of photographs and negatives I was astonished by how many their were.
Andrew Smith of The Andrew Smith Gallery was carrying my fathers prints at the time, and was commissioned to inventory
and authenticate the vintage prints left that Ernie had printed, and inventory the nearly six thousand negatives that he had left.
I soon discovered that their were thousands of negatives that had never been printed, and knowing that they were Nitrate Gelatin
with a silver coating, produced in the 1930's and 40's before the invention of plastic and were not stable, according to Kodak
they were surprised that they still existed. Gelatin is an organic substance and is subject to deteriorating, the fact that they were
kept cool and dry left them in an almost pristine condition. Realizing that I was compelled to make contact prints of as many as I
could. This was not an easy task being that many of them are 8"x10" but the subject mater is of people and places that existed
then, and could never be captured again.
The limited number of pictures on line is but a small fraction of the negatives. What I find most interesting is the vast number
of pictures of people and street scenes, mostly that he did not print for the museum and gallery shows he was having. He was
Howard Hughes's personal photographer from 1942 to 1949 when he left to work for National Geographic, during that time their
is a large collection of pictures of people and projects that Howard was working on. He also did flat work ( pictures of paintings)
for many of the artists in New Mexico and of them. The Fiestas, the Indians, the coal miners, and people of importance at the
time were some of his subjects but their is also a collection of buildings, towns, and landscapes many that don't exist today.
Their is a collection of vintage prints, (prints that were made when the picture was taken) and a collection of prints that he
made before his death in 1982. I was asked to make a limited number of reprints of the more popular images that we had few
or none of, and also to print images that he had never printed, having his note books and formulas helped. The photographs are
all printed on double weight fiber base paper with silver, and mounted on acid free museum rag. The originals, matted and
signed by Ernest are the rarest, their are more that were inventoried, numbered and some signed in verso by Ernie usually one
to five, or eight. And the reprints that I am making, if it is an image that he did not print they come one to thirty, and a hand full
of the most popular images one to two hundred fifty. These come estate signed and numbered.
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