Interview with fine art photographer Janet Sirmon
As a longtime fine art photography dealer, Janet Sirmon brings over 20 years of experience to Janet Sirmon Fine Art. Specializing in photography from the 19th and 20th century, Janet Sirmon Fine Art is particularly noted for its expertise regarding the Czech photographers of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, as well as the American Social Documentary work of luminaries that include Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Robert Frank. Although Janet Sirmon Fine Art is well known for these particular specialties, Ms. Sirmon has gone to great lengths to ensure the company she owns is more than capable of working with materials common to all eras of the medium, including everything from daguerreotypes and C-prints as well as everything in between.
Ms. Sirmon, a resident of Los Angeles, California, has earned a reputation for her unique ability in locating and securing the specific pieces sought by clients, and she has a lengthy track record of success in finding a particular photograph for museum curators and serious collectors alike. As a result, Janet Sirmon Fine Art has earned widespread acclaim and is considered a fixture in the fine art community. In order to demonstrate her gratitude and continued commitment to the world of fine art, Ms. Sirmon has endeavored to contribute to this passionate community in any way possible.
A graduate of the renowned Pratt Institute with an MFA in photography and sculpture, Ms. Sirmon also holds an undergraduate degree in economics, which she earned from James Madison University. In the more than 20 years since she completed her MFA at the Pratt Institute, Ms. Sirmon has worked diligently to curate an impressive inventory of fine art and has repeatedly raised Janet Sirmon Fine Art’s standing in the fine art community through her unwavering commitment and unyielding passion for photography and the arts.
Which is your favourite specialisation in photography? Why did you choose them?
Although I am deeply fascinated by all of photography’s eras and artistic movements, my favorite area of specialization is the photography produced in Czechoslovakia shortly after its break from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a period of time that runs all the way through the tail end of the 1940s. Unfortunately, turmoil and upheaval often contributes to the production of wonderful works of art, and in this part of the world in particular, the post-WWI era brought a newfound independence that was quickly followed by the lead-up to WWII. The fine art produced during this time period uniquely conveys a wide range of conflicting emotions along with a sort of uncertain optimism that is quite enchanting.
What are your unique ability and track record?
Many of my clients reach out to Janet Sirmon Fine Art with the goal of locating a specific photograph that is rare or is otherwise hard to find. Over the course of my career, I have had a great deal of success in identifying and securing these fine art photographs for my clients, many of whom are serious collectors of fine art with private collections that could just as easily be housed in a museum.
What is your standing within the fine art community?
Since I’ve been a part of the fine art community throughout the entirety of my professional career, I’m certain my peers respect my expertise regarding fine art photography. I’ve always worked diligently to support the fine art community as a whole, and it has long been my philosophy to pursue goals that benefit every member of our community whenever possible.
As a curator in the arts or as a museum professional, what new knowledge or curatorial work do you hope to acquire/embark on?
Even after more than 20 years in this industry, I am still energized by the possibility that accompanies each and every day. I hope that I am able to direct this energy into new academic pursuits and curatorial work, and I can’t imagine ever turning down any opportunity that would contribute to an even greater understanding of the world of fine art.
Please share with us your art background and education?
I’ve discovered that my academic background is fairly unique among my fellow art industry peers, as I actually studied economics while attending James Madison University. After completing my undergraduate studies, I applied for and earned acceptance to the Pratt Institute, and it is with great pride that I hold an MFA earned from such a wonderful and highly regarded institution such as Pratt.
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