Quote Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Neither. It is simple fact, whether we like it or not. Provenance has nothing whatever to do with how something was made. Provenance is a record of a work of art's ownership, an important thing when buying and selling work after it has left the artist's studio. If you can show a paper trail documenting purchases and sales of a piece going back to the artist and showing every owner the piece has had, that proves the piece is authentic, not a forgery (or a modern print from the original neg).
I'm not explaining myself very well. I suppose what I mean is that if the 'galleries, museums, scholars, patrons, collectors, and artists all simply care about the final image and nothing else', does that not imply that collectors, museums etc. would place the same value on a JPEG of Gursky's 'Rhine II' as they would the original negative and print?

I'm not an art collector by any means, but I do buy original paintings, i.e. actual paint on canvas. For me that does provide a certain value over an inkjet print of the same thing, even if the final image is identical. Perhaps in the art world, that is frowned upon, but for better or for worse, I do place value on that.