Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-23-2012, 08:46 AM   #1
Pentaxian
Site Supporter
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,244
WHo took the world's most expensive photograph?

Continuing with my explorations in photography.... Yesterday I explored the size prints you could get out of each format with what i would consider to be acceptable IQ. And I pretty much came up with D800 120 inches wide, K-5d 60 inches wide, and I'm comfortable enough with those guesses that I'm actually going to print one of my K-5 at 60 inches to see how it does.

So the next question was, how important is high definition work to photography. In terms of how important is high definition to graphic artists, I'd say , not very , the top money maker as a painting is The Card Players by Cezanne at 240 million..



The reason I was looking in painting, just to see how the "realist" or in painting terms "high defintiion" guys did iin the painting world. Clearly not nearly as good as the more abstract guys. And as far as I can tell paintings bring in far more money than any other art form.

Photography is sort of Paintings' red haired orphaned step sister in the art world, in terms of maxed out prices.

But the question still remains , what is the most expensive photograph.

That honour goes to Andreas Gursky.... if you're like me your first question is "Who?" But look at the list, of the highest priced Phtographs of all time (for which someone actually paid the price) Gursky sits at #1 Rhien II at $4,338,500. That's a lot of coin for a photograph. He's also 4th on the list with 99 Cent II at $3,346,456. AAnd as far as I can tell, unlike many paintings that sell on the painters reputaion for a lot more than the artist ever got for them, as far as I can tell he's the guy pocketing the coin.

Gursky sells high resolution photographs of huge dimensions often taken from very high angles. He uses a 5x7 film camera, which he scans and then alters digitally.The resolution he gets with this process defies logic. People can walk up to his prints and examine objects in the photograph as if they are standing in front of the real object in some cases.


10 most expensive photographs.

This is a Gursky image, not the one that sold for 3 million but one to illustrate his style. The one that sold for 3 million doesn't translate well to the small screen.



Andreas Gursky Interviewed

What camera does Andreas Gursky use?



For those of us shooting at lower resolutions , the best pseudo painting was Pond Moonlight by Edward Steichen ALmost 3 million... not too shabby, but it is valued I'm guessing as much as a historical artifact as for it's artistic value.

Thought of the day... very high resolution images have to be printed very large to stand out from the crowd. Despite the huge impact of digital images on photography, digital has yet to make much of an impact on highly valued image market in terms of works taken with digital cameras. Looking down th list of expensive images, they are almost all 5x7 film or higher. Even Gursky, wo would seem to be the king of high resolution and large prints, still shoots film.

So the question becomes, is this just a matter of time, or do the sensor sizes of digital cameras seriously limit the IQ of modern photographers. And has the loss of large format films and 8x10 cameras been a detriment to ability to produce top quality prints.

Of the guys still shooting, I find it interesting that the two guys still shooting are still shooting film.

“I’ll probably always shoot some film,” concluded Peter. “It’s a big part of my career, so why stop now?”

This is Peter Liks million dollar image... and I have to say, I have lot of images like it, but I'm not Peter Lik.



Digital has come a long way... but apparently in terms of producing images people are willing to pay the big bucks for, it's not there yet. At least that's appears to be the case from a bit of light reading on a tuesday morning.


Last edited by normhead; 12-18-2013 at 08:34 AM.
10-23-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,047
With film you have the original unaltered negative or slide that is in your possession and not a file on a hard drive that could be virtual. The trouble with digital is there can be multiple copies of the source and you can’t prove ownership as easily. It's also a lot easier to steal a digital image than an original negative/slide.

Phil.
10-23-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
Veteran Member
ihasa's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: West Midlands
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,064
Hey, I like that Gurskey. Modern subject matter, but reminds me of an Old Master painting - the chiaruscuro, the little crowd details, and the very well balanced composition.
10-23-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
Pentaxian
Site Supporter
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,244
Original Poster
I t really is quite an image, now image it big enough on a wall that you could stand by it and actually imagine you're in the pit with those guys.

10-23-2012, 01:13 PM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,720
Her is another Andreas Gursky's pic which sold for ... fetched £2.7 million !!

Why is Andreas Gursky's Rhine II the most expensive photograph? - Telegraph


Amazing, isn't it?

JP
10-23-2012, 01:34 PM - 2 Likes   #6
Pentaxian
Tom S.'s Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: S.E. Michigan
Photos: Albums
Posts: 4,299
Interpreting your title in a different way, I would say the most expensive photo was the first one taken on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts.
10-23-2012, 02:37 PM - 2 Likes   #7
Veteran Member
Northern Soul's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: The North of England
Photos: Albums
Posts: 494
I don't get the appeal of Gursky. It all seems a bit 'Emperors New Clothes' to me. For $3 million you could not only imagine you were in the pits with those guys, but spend a season following F1 around the world and actually be in the pits at every race.

It's on'y 'worth' $3 million because people imagine that one day it will be worth more. Here's another one of his. Because we all need reminding of what a cooker looks like, and none of us can take a picture of one ...

10-23-2012, 08:12 PM   #8
Veteran Member
Alliecat's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: East of Everywhere, Canada
Posts: 718
QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S.:
Interpreting your title in a different way, I would say the most expensive photo was the first one taken on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts.


QuoteOriginally posted by Northern Soul Quote
Here's another one of his. Because we all need reminding of what a cooker looks like, and none of us can take a picture of one ...
Oooh! I have a photo I took for fun, of my dryer with clothes hanging out of it & clothespins all over the top. I'll sell it for way less than 3 million -- who wants to make the first bid?
(Sorry I don't have a scan of it...)



Last edited by Alliecat; 10-23-2012 at 08:17 PM.
10-24-2012, 07:36 AM - 1 Like   #9
Pentaxian
Site Supporter
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,244
Original Poster
QuoteQuote:
Oooh! I have a photo I took for fun, of my dryer with clothes hanging out of it & clothespins all over the top. I'll sell it for way less than 3 million -- who wants to make the first bid?
I think the thing with Gursky... he has learned how to go into post processing, and enhance an image , to the point where it will stand out against any similar image one might take. He's meticulous, demanding, and he's developed techniques that are not only time consuming, but add value to his images.

QuoteQuote:
Gursky uses 100 ASA Fuji film in two large-format Linhof cameras that are positioned side by side, one with a slight wide-angle lens, the other with a standard one. Exposure time: 1/8 of a second, f-stop 5.6 to 8. He needs this for depth of field, and the relatively low-speed film for the resolution. Any occasional blurred movement is discarded later in the process. He gains speed by underexposing the film stock one f-stop, and has it developed using push processing.
You have hints here of some kind of extended post processing beyond what "normal" people do. He also scans his images into digital form, resolution unknown, for further manipulation and he somehow makes use of two images to make one shot at different focal lengths. It's intriguing. The man was obviously very rigorous and dedicated in perfecting his process. I'm guessing that's why people will pay for his pictures. And until I can analyze exactly what he does, I won't be able to make any judgement on whether or not his image are "worth it" but. obviously some people with a lot of money think they are.

And when you think about it, given the time he seems to put in to things, every image is gamble. One of the things I've discovered is if you put a quality image out there at a fair price, it will sell or not. But you don't know when if it's going to sell, and you don't know if you're going to put a lot of time and effort into an image that doesn't sell. And the ones that do sell have to pay for the ones that don't.Just from my own experience, I'd say if I put a months work into an image to bring it to some kind of photo perfection, and did that for every image I produced, not knowing if they were going to sell or not and incurring all the production and reproduction costs without the knowledge that I was going to get even a cent of it back.. I'd want a huge amount of money for that image if it sold. Because I'm gambling. And I', not going to gamble hundreds of dollars, unless I'm going to make thousands. Just the fact that these things are a huge gamble means the payoff has to be big.

My own rule of thumb is if I print 6 and sell one, I want that one to cover the cost of the 6 including some money for me. And I want the second sale of the lot to start making me money. That might seem outrageous to the amateur, but if I learned anything the last couple years, it's that you have to be have a reputation to get rich. TO the point that for pros starting out, I'd say, don't even worry about making money your first few years, do something that will give you a reputation.

If you click on the Peter Lik link above.. he spent 5 years going all over America producing a book called "The Spirit of America" that established his reputation. So now people will pay him millions for a print many of us could have produced. But they want the print by the guy who did the book "The Spirit of America." They want to have his book on their coffee table, and a couple of original prints by the same guy hanging on their wall. That may seem odd to you. Maybe you don't have any favorite photographers who's work you'd pay for. I bought a copy of Richard Avedon's "Nothing Personal" after being introduced to it a a television producers house, where I was being interviewed as part of a documentary he made. If I'd been a ridiculously rich person, I'd have an Avedon original hanging above where that book sits. I can't justify this in any theoretical way. I just know I would. So I understand totally why someone would pay over a million for a famous Avedon photograph.

They pay for it because it has the ability to inspire them. And when you think about it. There's precious little in this world that has the ability to inspire you, day after day, month after month year after year. But pictures can be inspirational. If you ever see one that inspires you.. I hope you have the coin to buy it. On the other hand, I'm sure there are lots of folks no photograph could ever do anything for. And there's nothing wrong with that. Most of the world will never pay for a high quality photograph to hang on their wall. It's the ones that will that are the exceptions.
10-24-2012, 08:18 AM - 1 Like   #10
Veteran Member
ihasa's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: West Midlands
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,064
Interesting comment in the Daily Telegraph Gursky thread -

QuoteQuote:
Many comments from readers ignorant about photography and art markets. Van Gogh paintings were worth nothing in his lifetime and can now be reproduced by a talented forger for $100USD in art supplies. So is a Van Gogh worth several hundred million? Like a Van Gogh a Gursky is worth what the market will pay. Value in art has nothing to do with what something looks like. Gursky is the most famous of the famous Becher students. Rhine II has a value based on the decades of fame Gursky has built along with the reputation of other Gusky works as well as the scarcity of it. Fine art is a commodity and an investment out of the reach of 99% of us. What Rhine II looks like is not relevant to its value to collectors.

For those that think they could reproduce a Gursky - I'd like to see you try. It is an 80" x 140" photo with unbelievable resolution, captured with multiple shots on $50,000USD medium format digital back on a large format camera. The resulting enormous file that would kill most computers, is then processed over weeks of work. Good luck reproducing that with your Canon Rebel and Macbook.

The default argument for those who devalue art is that "I could do that." But of course, they didn't do it and they never do. Same thing was said of Jackson Pollock. When I'm out with my 4x5 or 8x10 camera (Gursky uses 4x5 and 5x7) people look at me like I'm a time traveler from the early 1900's but the images can blow away my Canon 5DMII images.

The author is not that far off regarding the rise of photography as an accepted fine art. Stephen Shore's 1976 color show at MoMA marks a turning point but photos were still not accepted in many galleries until the late 1980's, so in many respectes, she is correct. It is funny that the ignorant poster below asks if the author has heard of Ansel Adams but spells his name wrong. His selling photos in 1921 in art fairs or to locals is not the same as prestigious museum exhibition and major gallery representation. And the owners of Daguerrotype studios OWNED those exhibition places. Daguerrotypes were not valued the same as paintings and were not even allowed to exhibit in fine art salons.

Would I pay $4.3 million for a Gursky? Yes, if I had several hundred million in assets. But I don't have any millions so I just make my own art, happy in the knowledge that photography is increasing in value and may someday catch up with painting.
10-24-2012, 12:20 PM   #11
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bellingham, WA
Posts: 446
Normhead,
Thank you for your excellent advice and perspective.
07-18-2014, 05:45 AM   #12
Pentaxian
Site Supporter
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,244
Original Poster
Another bump..... I'm looking for an old post I did a long time ago, and not finding it... can you tell?
07-18-2014, 03:42 PM   #13
Moderator PEG Judges
Loyal Site Supporter
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 39,660
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Another bump.....
Thanks for the bump Norm, I completely missed this first time round, very interesting thread.
07-18-2014, 04:06 PM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 19,578
I don't know that I appreciate this photo. Size isn't particularly important to me when it comes to printing. Just use a longer focal length and stitch. The "vibrancy" that the reviewer in the Telegraph article saw just isn't there for me. It is just a photo with some linearity through it, but somewhat abstract nonetheless and with a fairly bland sky. But fine art fetches millions because it is an "investment" and not because it is great art.
07-19-2014, 04:00 AM   #15
Pentaxian
Site Supporter
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,244
Original Poster
But then, you aren't looking at the image...... many times I'm un-impressed by my own images posted at 1080, when I look at them on my 27 inch monitor they have depth and clarity they don't have at 1080 pixels across, so I'm guessing Gursky's images are pretty incredible when viewed full size.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
art, camera, cost, film, gursky, guys, images, list, methodology, million, photography, posts, prints, question, resolution, science, space, terms
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Most Expensive Photograph in the World... froeschle General Talk 11 11-22-2011 12:05 PM
Why is the FA*28-70 so expensive? Clinton Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 56 08-25-2011 11:31 PM
World's most expensive K-5 Jun Park General Talk 4 12-02-2010 01:41 PM
Is this the world's most expensive lens? (not Pentax) Ash Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 02-18-2008 10:58 PM
World's largest photograph mopar_man Photographic Technique 2 09-05-2007 08:43 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:13 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top