‘Drive, 2021’. © David Yarrow, courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London. Archival Pigment Print / 132 x 180 cm / Edition of 20 / POA.

These are the photographic prints you should be investing in this summer

Photographic prints have the power to be a portal to another place and time. Here's our selection of prints rife with investment opportunities...

“Photographic prints transport you to a different world.” So says Jay Rutland, Creative Director of London’s Maddox Gallery — and so says Gentleman’s Journal, too. 

Photographic prints can do what our imaginations — exhausted from necessary overuse in lockdown — can’t always manage; and we’ve snapped up a selection of prints that are bursting with investment opportunities. They can transport us elsewhere; back to the ‘good life’. A time of decadence, debauchery and sheer, unbridled excess. The age of glamorous Hollywood mystique: before the internet encroached on the lives of the world’s elite, rendering them just as mysterious as you or I.

 “It’s [the] incredible sense of intimacy and documenting a moment in time that appeals to so many,” says Rutland. Read on for our selection of prints that have documented an incandescent moment of the golden era.

Terry O’Neill, Faye Dunaway, Beverly Hills Hotel 1977

'Faye Dunaway, Beverly Hills Hotel, 1977'. © Terry O’Neill / Iconic Images, courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London. Posthumous C-Type Print / 93 cm x 93 cm / Edition of 50 / POA.

The year was 1977, and Faye Dunaway had just won an Oscar for her leading performance in Network. Photographer Terry O’Neill wanted to capture this iconic, life-changing moment; but not in the usual way.

“I didn’t want to take the photo everyone else would take,” O’Neill once said. “You know, the one right after — where they look surprised, happy, holding up their shiny new Oscar. I wanted to capture something different…the morning after. The moment when the star wakes up and it dawns on them that, overnight, everything in their lives just changed.”

O’Neill explained the idea to Dunaway, and suggested that she meet him by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel — where she was staying — at dawn, with her Oscar. “I knew the guy who worked the pool. I asked him to let us in for a few minutes and then arranged the papers and the breakfast tray. I had it all set when she suddenly appeared, in her dressing gown, Oscar in hand. The photo was just us. There were no stylists or PR, no lighting or assistants. And it only took a few moments.”

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Albert Watson, ‘Cindy Crawford with Flag, U.S Virgin Islands, 1993’

Albert Watson, ‘Cindy Crawford with Flag, U.S Virgin Islands, 1993’. © Albert Watson, Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery, London. /Archival pigment print /106.7 x 142.2 cm. /Edition of 10 /POA

Taken in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the early 1990s, this particular print evokes breathtaking connotations of a bygone age: a golden era that predates the internet (or, at least, the internet as we know it today). Though it feels hard to remember now, there was a time when images of supermodels with goddess-esque statuses weren’t simply readily available online, for all the world to see at a click of a button or the swipe of an iPhone. Stars like Cindy Crawford were almost equivalent to higher beings; such was their mystique, intrigue and cerebral aura of glamour.

This print goes straight to the heart of that ‘otherworldliness’; and its bold, jubilant colours and sense of play are a joy to behold. If there was ever an escapist print, this would be it; the sun beating out from the image is almost tangible. It’s a testament to Watson’s considerable skill, as well as a joyful collaboration between two great artists: during the 80s and 90s, Crawford was a near ubiquitous presence on magazine covers, while Watson has shot over 100 magazine covers worldwide.

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Drive, David Yarrow, 2021

‘Drive, 2021’. © David Yarrow, courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London. Archival Pigment Print / 132 x 180 cm / Edition of 20 / POA.

Does this scene look familiar? There’s a reason for that, and it was deliberate on Yarrow’s part. “There is one Ridley Scott movie that has prompted me in my work more than any other; and that is Thelma and Louise, which inspired the location to tell our own road trip story,” Yarrow has previously said.

“[Scott’s] vignettes of Arches National Park in Utah were shot with picturesque sentimentality and were the defining moments of the film. I [had] long wished to shoot there, but out of respect to [Scott], I knew my narrative could not be lame.”

Yarrow knew there could be no more powerful lead for this particular story than Cara Delevigne. “The rest was up to good fortune, and [particularly] the light. We shot in early March, when we could secure road permits by the iconic organ rock which features in the film. But the weather had to play ball; and the forecast the previous night looked unpromising.”

But the weather didn’t fail the team in the end: “At 7.10am the next day, there was a shaft of full-on light, and we had our moment. Cara smashed it.” And for anyone wondering, Cara’s companion is a dog of the rare Tamaskan breed — “almost genetically identical to a wolf.”

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Hiro, ‘Tilly Tizzani with blue scarf, Antigua, West Indies, 1963’

Hiro, ‘Tilly Tizzani with blue scarf, Antigua, West Indies, 1963’. © Hiro Studio, courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery, London. /Dye transfer mounted to linen /46.4 x 34.6 cm. /Edition of 25 /POA

Japanese-American photographer Hiro — or, to give him his full name, Yasuhiro Wakabayashi — first moved from China to New York in 1954; and he started working for the world-famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon, whom he’d long dreamed of assisting, in 1956. And to say he won Avedon’s respect would be a severe understatement.

Hiro is no ordinary man,” Avedon once said. “He is one of the few artists in the history of photography. He is able to bring his fear, his isolation, his darkness, his splendid light to film.”

Hiro didn’t waste any time achieving his dreams: In just a few short years, he became a highly respected fashion photographer himself. He loved to explore the possibility of the extraordinary; to incorporate surprises, abnormalities and Surrealism into his work. This particular image was taken in the West Indies: somewhere Hiro visited a great many times and which often served as the backdrop in his photoshoots. He had a particular love for the way the light was reflected in the environment; and that exquisite light is certainly something that makes its jubilant presence abundantly known here.

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Terry O’Neill, David Bowie with Elizabeth Taylor, Beverly Hills 1975

‘David Bowie with Elizabeth Taylor, Beverly Hills, 1975’. © Terry O’Neill / Iconic Images, courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London. Lifetime Gelatin Silver Print / 120 x 80 cm / POA.

When O’Neill was working in Los Angeles, he received a phone call from Elizabeth Taylor, whom he’d worked with a decade previously. She had a favour to ask. “When Elizabeth Taylor asks you for a favour, you don’t say no,” as O’Neill once said. The favour, as it turned out, was to meet David Bowie.

“We decided to meet at the famed director George Cukor’s home. Cukor was planning to work with Elizabeth on an upcoming film and I think she was interested in speaking to David about a possible role.”

However, things didn’t initially go smoothly. “Elizabeth certainly had a reputation for keeping people waiting; but on this day, she was well matched. An hour went by, [and] I could tell her patience was waning. Then another hour, then another.”

After a few more hours, Bowie eventually turned up; and O’Neill wasn’t going to miss that opportunity. “You can see in these poses, which Elizabeth directed, [that] there was chemistry between them. David didn’t get the role — if it was even on the table — but they did become lifelong friends.”

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Mario Testino, ‘Amber Valletta, Rio de Janeiro, American Vogue, 1997’

Mario Testino, ‘Amber Valletta, Rio de Janeiro, American Vogue, 1997’. © Mario Testino, courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery, London. /Digitally Produced C-Type Print /180 x 226cm /Edition of 2 plus 2 artist's proofs /POA

Taken during the height of summer (January 1997, to be exact) at Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, this print epitomises escapism to the very highest degree.

This is a print with joy and vivacity at its very heart; and for that reason alone, it’s a print that is surely destined to grow increasingly popular as the global longing for joy increases following what — as we’re sure we can all agree — has been one of the most joyless years in history.

“Joy is not often considered a good thing in art and photography compared to pain, darkness or angst,” Testino once said. “But I like having a good time, I enjoy living! That is what this image is all about, Amber’s youth, beauty and joy in amazing Rio de Janeiro. Rio is very special for me, because growing up, South America was not really that open — you had to fit in, and I didn’t really fit in. Rio de Janeiro gave me the opportunity to feel free.”

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Terry O’Neill, Frank Sinatra, Miami Boardwalk (B&W), 1968

‘Frank Sinatra, Miami Boardwalk (B&W), 1968’. © Terry O’Neill / Iconic Images, courtesy of Maddox Gallery, London. Lifetime Platinum Print / 60 x 75 cm / POA.

O’Neill had received an invitation to go to Miami, to work with Raquel Welch. “I thought — terrific!”, O’Neill previously said. “Then they said her co-star was Frank Sinatra. He was a hero of mine — one of the greatest.”

Ava Gardner was a friend of O’Neill’s; he often took her to Soho’s Ronnie Scott’s, to listen to jazz. O’Neill mentioned he would be working with her ex-husband. “She smiled and said, ‘I’ll make the introduction.’ A few days later, Ava gave me a sealed letter. ‘Give this to Frank. Tell him it’s from me.’”

When O’Neill arrived on the Lady in Cement set, he started taking photos straight away — despite being initially intimidated by the sight of Sinatra, surrounded by bodyguards. “[Sinatra] walked right up to me, and I stood up. ‘Mr. Sinatra, I have a letter for you from Ava.’

He took the letter, opened it and read it. Then he looked at me, and smiled. ‘Boys, it’s alright. He’s with me.’

And I never found out what was in that letter.”

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