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Image from a collection of more than 300 blue-toned cyanotypes showing American railroads on offer at the London Photograph Fair Special Edition.

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The annual event is a chance for participating dealers to bring some of their best material that they have been holding back during the quarterly collectors’ fairs that the organisers also hold at Bloomsbury.

Dealer Andrew Daneman, who brings the railroad cyanotypes, began his relationship with the collection in 1977. It was only after extensive research that he was eventually able to attribute the photographs to illustrator Frank Bird Masters (1873-1955).

Masters worked for book publishers and magazines such as Scribner’s and The Saturday Evening Post and used the photographs for inspiration. They had never been published or exhibited.

However, the modernist quality of the compositions, reflected in the attention to lighting and powerful angles, struck the dealer.

“Even in his recording of these details, though primarily intended as studies, he never relaxes his formal approach to composition,” Daneman says, “The result is nothing less than modernist abstraction of the highest quality.”

The collection is priced at $250,000.

Daneman is one of the fresh faces at the fair which this year boasts 18 international exhibitors (up from last year’s 14). A dedicated vintage event, it encompasses works from the 1840s to the 20th century and takes place in King’s College London, next to Somerset House and Photo London.

Exhibitors include Daniella Dangoor, Frederic Hoch, Maggs Bros and Richard Meara, as well as newcomer Daniel Miller from the US.

photofair.co.uk