If instead of looking for bargains (lots of luck) you are hunting for surprises, there are other lessons to be picked up amid the wide-ranging array of high-priced work for sale. At Edwynn Houk, the importance of scale is emphasized. In “Underpass With Elephants (Lean Back, Your Life Is on Track),” shot last year, the English photographer Nick Brandt hung a life-size print of his portrait of elephants from a highway overpass in Nairobi, under which homeless glue sniffers congregate. More than three feet high and six-and-a-half feet wide, it is a big photo that incorporates a big photo. In the same booth are rare contact prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson, from 1933, which measure about one and a half inch high by two and a quarter inches wide. Studying them is like putting your eye into a peephole. It concentrates the mind. The one of a man descending an outdoor staircase while a car drives by on a wet city street is especially Bressonian.
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