Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Mel Roberts' life's work to be auctioned off...
Something unusual to report, something that leaves me feeling rather sad...
The company ProfilesInHistory.com, as part of its Michael H. Epstein & Scott E. Schwimer Glamour Photography Auction, will be auctioning off Mel Roberts' life's work -- all of his existing negatives, prints, videos, and copyrights -- on March 27.
It still seems weird to me that Mel is gone, just over two years now. I only learned about his death last summer, when John Palatinus mentioned it to me in passing -- kinda took my breath away!
I've written before how I had been to Mel's house in the fall of 2005, a few months before I moved out of Hollywood. He was very gracious, and full of interest in my then-website, v-m-p.org. He gave me his blessing to use any of his photos I wanted on the site, and to link back to his own email with the fact that prints from his two books, "California Boys" and "The Wild Ones," could be special ordered directly from him. (He did say he would like if if I posted more from "The Wild Ones" as that book hadn't sold quite as well as the first!) He was gung-ho with the idea of moving some images through my site, and giving me a finder's fee if/when it should happen. I had all kinds of ideas as to how to put my Mel Roberts gallery together, but what with selling the house, looking for a new one, moving and settling in, getting a new job... well, visitors to the site saw "Coming Soon -- Mel Roberts: California Boys" on the home page for a long time without ever seeing that page -- and soon enough, the whole site went down anyway when I couldn't maintain it any longer. After the move, I lost touch with Mel, and I'm very sorry that happened.
And now, the collection of work which he so proudly showed me is on the auction block. The auctioneer's estimate of the selling price is $60,000 - $80,000, with $60,000 being the opening bid. Doesn't that seem an incredibly small amount for a man's life's work -- 8000 negatives, thousands of printed photographs and the rights to his name? It leaves me rather dumbstruck that anyone would divest themselves of something so special for so little money.
Thank you, Mel, for your art, your encouragement, and your uniqueness!
I was alerted to this event through the kindness of OUT.com's online editor, Noah Michelson. Please click here to see their announcement of the event, and to view a slideshow of some wonderful pieces of Mel's work. Thank you, Noah!