Buying photographs

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by severian, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. severian

    severian Member

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    Has anyone out there plunked down a considerable amount of money for a fine art photograph? Lets say over $500.00. What did you buy? What did you do with the print? The closest I came was 750.00 for a picture of Babe Ruth surrounded by a bunch of little kids ( long story, personal, sentimental) When I returned to the gallery with cash the print had been sold. The photographer was unknown. I probably would have spent a grand for that photo at that time. To those who collect photos. What do you collect? Why?
     
  2. wfe

    wfe Member

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    The most I have spent is $500 for a lith print by a photographer that I know personnally. I like to collect work from photographers that I know or have met. Some level of contact and knowledge of the photographer is important to me. The other expensive purchase ($1200) was a book containing 24 original silver prints. The book and the prints were all made by the photographer and I know the photographer through a week long work shop.
     
  3. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    I collected because it gave me a lot of pleasure to see the images. In the '70s I was working and had a moderate amount of disposible income, and original prints weren't terribly expensive. My first purchase was Ansel Adams' "Moonrise" from Lee Witkin's first New York gallery up near Bloomingdales. It was $700. My most expensive: Wynn Bullock's "Child in the Forest," for $1000 at Sarasota's Image Gallery. I'll admit to a little bit of avarice on that one/ Bullock had died after his show went up, and I could visualize the value skyrocketing -- it didn't! My biggest disapointment: Weston's "Pepper #30" at a San Francisco gallery, but I didn't have the $10,000 to spare right then. Now, every unknown "fine arts photographer" thinks that his prints are worth hundreds of dollars, and I'm retired and don't have any extra cash, anyhow. If I had the money, I think that I'd buy some prints from Dave Beckerman, who does wonderful B&W of New York City.
     
  4. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Yup, I have purchased a couple of photographs from William Clift: Factory Butte and White Wall, Canyon de Chelly. That was back in the 1970's though. I did pass on an AA "Moonrise", but by that time it had skyrocketed to $1500.

    Interesting question: Why is it most photographers ask a lot for their prints, but won't buy one from another photographer at the same price?
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Have several Manuel Bravos that were printed by his wife in the 70's. Paid $1000 each for them. They are exquisite. Have several from Dan Wiener that I bought for $100 each back in the 70's. To my suprise the last time I was in the MOMA there was a Dan Wiener photograph on the wall.
    Better to buy what you like and if it appreciates then so much the better.After all you're the one who has to live with it. Looking backwards I was a fool to not accumulate a large collection of artists in the last 30 years.
    A few Westons and Caponigro's; and Adams would certainly make for a good retirement portfolio. Upside is that I've been able to appreciate their art the whole time by going to galleries and museums....(going to the Lowe museum in Miami today to see the Weston show)
    Peter
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Good question Joe. Maybe because everyone is in the same boat (or rut); short on cash to buy with, hoping to get cash from sales? I dunno. I've traded/sold/bought from a few collegues here on APUG. I would like to buy more but I would need to sell more to do it. Kind of a circular rut.
     
  7. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Indeed, Joe.
    Along those lines, I have put three prints from my collection up for sale here on Apug. These are silver prints from very good photographers. I was asking very reasonable prices - in fact, half the price of 'new' value. To my surprise, however, the interest has been non-existent. No sale, no PMs, no questions, nothing. I'd have better luck selling bibles at an atheist convention. This, on a site where you'd think photographs, the end result of everyone's reason to dab in photography, would have paramount importance. I guess not.

    Anyway, the most I have spent on one photograph is $750 (so far). Some, I bought way back at the 100-200 range are now worth well over $1000 so the paybacks can be rewarding when selling. OTOH, I bought a few at the $400 range that are still worth no more than that - perhaps less. The main thing, though, is buy something you like and that you will enjoy. Financial gain is just a bonus if it happens.
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Ah, the joy of appreciation. Here's the other rub about collecting. Until you sell your photograph, it is worth exactly what you paid for it.
     
  9. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    This is why I dont think the APUG-Gallery.com site is going to do that great.

    There are tons of photographers that ask a high price for their prints, but they are unwilling to ever buy another photographers prints for that price, or even 1/2!

    I am a photographer, and also a collector, so I purchase prints quite often. I have paid full price for some of Kim Westons prints, Alan Ross, and a few others.

    I think the most I have spend on a single photography was 400 bucks on a 20x24 prints of Cole Westons "Surf And Headlands". I plan to purchase some Brett Weston prints soon, which sell for around 1,000.00 for 8x10-11x14.
     
  10. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Really good question..The most would be $650 for a Sexton, and a few other less known for $300-$400. Now, any extra income is spent on work by photographers here on APUG.

    Why, well the first criteria that has to met is - appeal, why buy it if you don't really like it. Sounds simple enough, but not sure people always do that. Example, I would not buy an Adams print just because it was an Adams print. Since, IMO the golden age of photography, as we know it, is over and traditional prints (silver and alt process) will become less common, the work of those here that offer it for sale is about as good a purchase as any collectible.

    Why not higher prices, well that is hard to say. Some of the members here are selling plt/pld work for what I consider way below market prices. At the big auction houses, there are lots that do not sell, because the minimum is not reached - at the same time there are works that sale for much more than the estimated prices...go figure..such is the world of collectors.

    In the end, it seems there are at least 3 types of collectors - the first, with the deepest pockets, are what I call the true collectors. They collect as an investment, some of the works they collect may never see the light of day. The 2nd group would be the general public, they may not be collectors in the truest sense, but they want something to hang on the walls of the office or home, to let others know they have good taste, etc. The 3rd group would probably be those here...they know quality work when they see it, the produce quality work as well sometimes, they have limited resources to expend on artwork other than their own. If given a choice between paper/chemistry/etc or buying a print from a fellow photographer they will probably buy the supplies they need. Some may even think - "I can do that" and some will even go as far as to say "I could do it better", but they never do and never buy a print either, sad to say.

    So, the best thing we can do is support each other...will we get rich from the work of a member, probably not, but we can have the satisfaction of owning a well crafted print, that is way above the average prints people buy and display in their homes/offices. After all, if we were doing this for money, we would probably be doing something else.

    Just my 2 cents...your mileage may vary.
     
  11. wbryant

    wbryant Member

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    The most I spent on a photograph was $1000. It was a Rolfe Horn. Dusk, Izumo Japan. I knew I was "closing" out that price range, (an immediate profit I rationalized to myself) and it now goes for $4000. I bought it because I loved it (and at the time had the money). I have also bought some photos here on APUG. I have a couple of Alex Hawley's prints, and I contacted and bought one from Andre Avillez even though he wasn't openly trying to sell it. I have also found some masterpieces in the group print exchanges. I recommend that everyone join those. another apuger here that I own a few prints is Bill Schwab, they are wonderful and I only wish I had more of them.
    Everything that I have read about collecting says that you should love what you buy. I love everything that I have bought.
     
  12. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Exactly!! Unless you collect with the intention to resell it for a profit, you will live with the print for a very long time. Buy something that means something to you.
     
  13. wbryant

    wbryant Member

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    Wow, I didn't realize until just now that the person replying to my post was one of those people that I would love to be able to collect...
     
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  15. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Thank you, that's very kind of you to say. I'd be honored to have work of mine in your collection.
     
  16. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    Great thread.
    I have a small Henry Gilpin, an Ansel "Oak Tree in Snow", and a few of other relatively unknown CA Coast photogs. Each one was a "love at first sight" thing. None are worth much in dollars, but by now all have lots of good memories. I now wish I'd gone out on a limb and bought some of the prints I loved 20 years ago, as they would be worth quite a bit now. So maybe some of the work we see in our compadres here will increase in value over the years.
     
  17. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Member

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    I've bought a few. A Cole Weston print for $600 (actually my wife made this purchase while visiting him) Also bought a Howard Bond print 15 years ago for $300. I've collected prints for a while mostly paying under $200 and in trade.

    Some day I would love to have the ability like Elton John to buy whatever print I want for any amount of money. A man can dream can't he :smile:
     
  18. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Allow me to help you realize your dream... you can probably pick up ANY of my prints for ANY amount of money. Congratulations Elton! :D
     
  19. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I've paid $1500 for one of Clyde Butcher's 1995 Limited Edition Collection. It is #1 of 3 with the other two copies owned by Clyde and Brevard County Museum. I'm hoping it's a good investment.

    I just sold my copy of Tom Mangelsen's 'Polar Dance' for $1600. I advertised it here on APUG and did not get a single inquiry or comment. Put it on Ebay with a Buy It Now only and it sold in 2 days. Paid $289 for it in 1990.
     
  20. laz

    laz Member

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    While I collect many things I've never purchased any photographs other then old prints by unknowns here and there. The main reason is price, so much of the "market" is wildly over priced, at least for folk of my meager means who have champagne taste and a jug wine wallet

    That is why I am looking forward to the APUG gallery. It has every chance of becoming a place to buy wonderful work from people I've gotten to know, at prices I can afford.

    -Bob
     
  21. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Every print I have received in print exchanges here is now, or will be very soon, in a frame and hanging on my walls - and that includes contact prints from 4X5 negatives. I've bought a lot of prints from photographers, not for investment value, but because I like the work. Most of these photographers are "unknown", but that doesn't make their work less worthy of wall space...
     
  22. lee

    lee Member

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    I bought 2 Edward Weston Shell prints that were printed by Cole and a SEP Ansel Adams print for my 1st wedding anniversary about 29 years ago. Still go them and they have appreciated considerably. I paid $65 each for the EW/CWs and $100 for the SEP AA

    I have traded with many photographers over the years for prints. I agree that you should buy what you love and not what you think will make you the most money.

    lee\c
     
  23. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    The prints I have obtained have either come from print exchanges or purchasing them from photographers that I know. I simply don't have the money to purchase prints as I'd like to.
     
  24. mikewhi

    mikewhi Restricted Access

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    The most I ever paid for a photograph was $4400 for a Brett Weston Garapata Beach, 11x14. I have paid $2k-$3k for some other work. I buy what I like and often pass up good investments because I didn't like the image too much (e.g. Roman Loranc Private Road, I didn't like the image but it would have been a great investment.). Like others, I've had the opportunity to buy great work at prices far below what they are now - e.g. Nude In A Box by Ruth Bernhard for $2000 - worth many times that now.

    I read a magazine article from this year where photography increased 80% in value during the same period the S&P index dropped 8%. Still, I buy what I like and I've only sold a few prints over the years from my collection and I miss each of them.

    I buy a lot of prints for small sums from 'unknowns' when I like the image.

    -Mike
     
  25. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Last sunday's Chicago Trib Magazine was all about collecting photography. Several good articles. Looks like collecting is going strong. Wish I had the money and wall space. I will add that exchanges are a great way to collect prints.
     
  26. Barry Dale Currence

    Barry Dale Currence Member

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    I purchased a Willy Ronis (b.1910) silver gelatin print: Rue Rambuteau, Paris, 1946, three years ago for $1500. I always wanted a piece of history from a fine photographer in the black and white medium. I have it. Now, I think I would be just as happy with an unknown contemporary artist whose work I like. In fact I have bought two of those for $300 and $350 from friends, I like these pieces as much as the Ronis.
    Barry