By SnapSquad - March 31, 2019

1.The Art Photography Market

Photography is something of a young child in the world of art collectors; a 1970s child really. For being so new, its guidelines are still pretty much in the making and the vocabulary attached to it still needs to be refined to gain universal recognition. 
You are a new collector or perhaps you are still at the consideration stage, trying to find the right moment or the right way to start. Here is how you can begin.

Don’t be intimidated

Even if you don’t know much about art photography try walking into a gallery and you’ll probably find out that there will be no intimidating atmosphere. So get yourself to the next exhibition near-by and enjoy it. You will find out that all collectors have different parameters and different reasons to want to purchase a print, depending on their interests and background; they also have a different budget to allocate.

Some will see an investment (and not necessarily a heavy one): an emerging photographer’s work; a vintage print… And of course, many pride themselves of owning works by renowned photographers. 

Some will be there because they have started collecting work from this particular exhibiting photographer. 

Some collect according to subject matter: Macro photography, Paris between the wars… Artur Walther, a very well-known collector, specialises in art photos from Asia and Africa. It has been estimated that his African photography collection is the largest ever!

If you are worried about price when considering getting into collecting photo prints, photography is a very accessible art. Emerging photographers can be very affordable and famous one can sometimes surprise.

Whatever your reason for purchasing a print or your budget, letting your heart, your guts even, talk to you, will always guarantee that you feel happy with your purchase. Remember that every photo tells a story and the emotions it awakens in you are what matters: Falling in love with what you see and what you feel is the key.

Educate Yourself

You may or you may not be savvy in the art of photography, and assuming that you are, you would still want to learn more about how photo prints are sold so that you may make good decisions. You may even consider enrolling in a workshop? Here are a few things you may like to familiarise yourself with:

Ways to buy

There are so many ways to buy art photography, thanks to online marketplaces (including eBay), auctions (and online auctions) and galleries of course. The best course is obviously to purchase from reputable websites and galleries.

How prints are valued

You will find out that retail prices in galleries or on different online marketplaces may be quite different from one to another and even from what the photographer is asking for. 

Original photograph:
What is an original photograph? Simply said, any print from the negative is an original; which means there can be many originals!

Limited edition:
Limited editions are a way to rarefy the number of prints circulated in the market, thus ensuring their value to last. The highest number of print is in the edition, the higher the price. Nowadays, 25 prints editions are quite common with some giving only 3 to five or even just one!

Vintage photograph:
Hunting for vintage images can be a very exciting collector’s speciality that may tempt you. A vintage print is one that was made during the same time period as the negative was taken. Estate auctions are a good place to find this type of prints.

2. Sharing collections

Collecting art photography is not just about acquiring and keeping. Wealthy collectors often share their pride with the public during temporary exhibitions in galleries. Elton John, for instance, is known for sharing his collection of famous photographers’ prints.

Gifts to museums are not uncommon either; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, for instance, hosts the John & Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest photo exhibition space in the USA! Now your collection may be humble in comparison to those mentioned above, but I know your is one of the heart and that you too like to share with your friends and visitors. Displaying art photos in your home can be an art in itself it seems, so I’ll keep that in mind for a future story.                                                        

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