Photography and the Frame

20th June 2023

Artist Jefferson Hayman creates timeless photographs and pairs them with unique, vintage frames. Here he talks to Head of Department for Bonhams Photographs in New York Kelly Sidley about his practice and why he likens his work to a short story from another age.


Jefferson Hyman


Jefferson Hayman is an artist whose work explores the themes of nostalgia, common symbols, and memory. Through a quiet minimalism, he invites the viewer to partake in the narrative process in a way that is both intimate and deeply personal.

Drawing from his education in the fine arts and his training in the art of frame-making, Hayman approaches his work with a deep understanding of traditional craftsmanship and a sense of artistic heritage whilst remaining tied to the present through the timelessness of aesthetic simplicity. Through an understated language of visual symbols and meditative studies, Hayman’s work manifests as a visual journal chronicling transformation, discovery, and solitude, boldly stripped of the extraneous. Each photograph is handcrafted as a silver gelatin, platinum or pigment print, capturing a delicacy in tonality reminiscent of early Pictorial photography as well as the subsequent modernism movement’s refined interplay of light and shadow. Finished prints are paired with antique or artist-made frames, meticulously custom-made by the artist, whose attention to the unique attributes of each photograph imbues every piece with a completely unique story and sense of personality. Hayman’s work is found in numerous private and public collections, notably the Museum of Modern Art Library, The Boston Athenaeum, The New York Public Library, the collection of Sir Elton John, and the collection of Robert DeNiro, amongst many others.

In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Pollock Krasner grant. He lives and works in Tappan, New York, a small historic village minutes from the heart of Manhattan.


Kelly Sidley

Kelly Sidley is Head of Department for Bonhams Photographs in New York. She oversees a diverse schedule of live and online auctions, with a growing emphasis on contemporary photography. She also advises institutions, private collectors, and estates on executing their individual goals, from smartly growing their photography collections to strategically streamlining their holdings.

Before joining Bonhams in 2022, Kelly was Specialist and Head of Sale for Photographs at Sotheby’s New York. There, she executed their New York-based auctions while also completing a robust volume of insurance, fair market value, and estate appraisals each year. From 2006-19, Kelly held curatorial and educational positions at The Museum of Modern Art, where she assisted with numerous exhibitions, including Out of Time: Contemporary Art from the Collection (2006-2007); Comic Abstraction: Image-Breaking, Image-Making (2007); Aernout Mik (2009), Inbox: Hans-Peter Feldmann (2017); and Louise Lawler: WHY PICTURES NOW (2017). She has written and lectured broadly on modern and contemporary art and served on photography juries and review panels. Her diverse network spans the museum, gallery, academic, and auction worlds.

Kelly received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in the History of Modern and Contemporary Art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she wrote her dissertation on Andy Warhol’s 1960s self-portraiture. She earned a B.A. in Art History and English Literature from Dartmouth College. She is a USPAP-certified appraiser, an Associate Member of the Appraisers Association of America, and a member of ArtTable.