Backstage Auctions offers up investment opportunity with photos, image rights

By Patrick Prince

One of the main attractions at Backstage Auctions’ Rock ‘n’ Pop Summer Auction on June 4-12, 2011, will be more than 350 auction lots of negatives and slides — classic rock artists ranging from Eric Clapton to The Doors — with a full transfer of rights.

A 1965 photograph of the Yardbirds by Philip Kamin. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions

One hundred auction lots will be from the archives of rock ‘n’ roll photographer and author Philip Kamin. An example of how Kamin  captured the personality of his subjects can be seen in a 1965 shot of the Yardbirds (featuring Jeff Beck), at left; a fabulous shot which will be included in the Kamin lots.

Backstage Auctions claims that Kamin only sold his photographs to the bands he toured with, the bands’ managers, their public relations firms, record companies, or bands’ merchandisers. The Kamin images up for auction have never been sold to newspapers, magazines or photo agencies. As a result, these photographs and their original rights have remained in Kamin’s possession for decades.

“I have had a lot of time to enjoy these images,” Kamin says, “and I want to make sure they end up in the hands of individuals who will cherish them as much as I have. Bringing them to avid collectors seems to make the most sense.”

The real golden nugget of this auction is that all of these images will be offered with a full transfer of image rights. According to Backstage Auctions, purchasing photographs, negatives and slides with the transfer of rights is becoming increasingly popular, as it represents a fantastic investment opportunity for any music collector.

“We have customers that have purchased similar lots from us in the past to produce limited prints for resale, larger-scale book projects in concert with the artists and hosting of the images with various agencies, such as Getty and Corbis,” says Jacques van Gool, founder of Backstage Auctions.

What should not be overlooked is the inclusion of negatives and slides (with full transfer of rights, of course) of lesser-known photographers, such as the late Jim Townsend and the late Larry E. Lent. And many of these images have never been used.

“Jim Townsend and Larry E. Lent were both Houston-based, independent, concert photographers, who were mostly active during the 1970s and 1980s,” van Gool explains, “and are locally best known for their contributions to Music News, Houston’s longest running local music magazine.”

The Who's Roger Daltrey, Nov. 20, 1975, at The Summit in Houston. Photo by Jim Townsend. Photo courtesy of Backstage Auctions.

Some of the Houston venues where Townsend and Lent took photos were Hofheinz Pavilion, Sam Houston Coliseum, Music Hall, The Summit, Astrodome and Rockefeller’s. Townsend’s photo of The Who’s Roger Daltrey (at left) was from a Nov. 20, 1975, performance at the Summit.

“In the ’70s, concert photos were typically used by the existing music press,” van Gool says, “and all of those magazines — whether it was Creem or Hit Parader or Rolling Stone — either had offices on the East Coast or West Coast, and as a result, live photos that were used were typically from East or West Coast venues. Photos from venues in the middle (of America) were hardly used or seen, for that matter. These two photographers in Houston were really the only two who archived almost every band that came through town — and every major band made a stop in Houston just as much as they stopped in any other major city. The irony and the sad part of it was that there was no outlet for it. The Houston media was hardly interested in it. I would say that a good 99 percent of these images had never been seen.”

The auction also will include a number of vintage posters and signed memorabilia, including signed artwork by The Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood. For more information about the auction or to obtain your VIP All Access pass, visit www.backstageauctions.com.

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