Marilyn Monroe, 1955 | Photograph by Eve Arnold
This isn't going to be backed up with any scientific proof, but i did make a rather interesting observation when i was at an exhibition on Friday . The exhibition in question was 'The Photographers' at Nunnington Hall, a rather grand little country Manor not far from where i live.
The observation wasn't anything to do with the excellent exhibition itself but rather the collection of exhibition catalogues on sale on a table nearby. Nunnington Hall has exhibited photography for a number of years and the work displayed has often been by one or a number of photography's top name talents.
On the table next to the exhibition spaces were around 10 or 12 different high quality exhibition catalogues from previous shows dating back a number of years. All were available to buy, however, some appeared to be far more popular than others. The top seller was obvious - Steve McCurry - just one, slightly over handled catalogue left. The other photographers seemed to have faired pretty well too with well over half of the catalogues gone for Bruce Davidson, Lord Snowdon, Bailey and a multitude of others.
Who wasn't popular? Well this surprised me - by a landslide it was Eve Arnold. The wonderfully talented Eve Arnold! Poor Eve had a full compliment of catalogues piled high. Now this observation in popularity is based purely on what i saw on the table at that time yesterday afternoon. Maybe Eve's catalogue had sold out the day before and the staff had added a new stack of Arnold catalogues from the stock room.
On the other hand, did that that table reflect that the exhibition viewing public are more receptive to Steve McCurry's colourful and exotic photography? Maybe it is no coincidence that the top selling catalogue on that table featured colour images - the others all contained black and white imagery.
Maybe the general viewing public just prefer the bright colour of McCurry's India to the monochrome tones of an Eve Arnold portrait of Marilyn Monroe. I don't know. I do know that I'll be back in a week or two for another exhibition and I'm going to take another look at that table.