Label: peter lik
Wednesday 25th February 2015Remember the $6.5 Million Dollar Photo?
A little while ago, we wrote about the biggest sale price ever achieved for a photograph. The photograph, Phantom by Peter Lik, reportedly sold for $6.5 million dollars, blowing away any other possible contenders for the title. Naturally, the art world went a bit bananas about it, and social media was even worse (though that shouldn't really surprise anyone, at this stage of the game. We expressed a few reservations about the closed-door nature of the sale, which meant that not only was the buyer's name not released, the private sale didn't offer any way to verify this sale price. It may be that those reservations were well founded.
According to a recent article by the New York Times, the entire thing may simply be a clever usage of the media and their readiness to trumpet astonishing headlines. There is little doubt that the sale actually took place, but it's hardly fair to compare it to the works of the previous record holders, Andreas Gursky and Cindy Sherman, who garned $4.3 and $3.9 million respectively in 2011, both of which were sold in full view of the public in a traditional auction setting.
Speaking to the New York Times about Phantom and the sale headlines, Michael Hoppen, a London gallery owner, said, "It’s an abomination. Art, whatever the medium, is something that moves and informs you or changes your opinion. This has nothing to do with art or creative photography, and the tragedy is that it brings the whole business down."
He may very well have a point. Lik has apparently been frustrated by his lack of critical acclaim, despite being one of - if not the - most financially successful fine art photographers in the world. Art critics are rarely swayed by money, priding themselves on the quality and impact of the art itself, as Hoppen described. But on the other hand, Lik's narrative that the elitist art world has shut him out directly due to his mass appeal may also have some merit. Phantom certainly is a beautiful photograph, that cannot be denied - but is it really $6.5 million USD worth of beautiful? Lik and at least one other person certainly seem to think so, but is it really worth that much? That, dear reader, is up to you.
Posted on February 25th 2015 on 05:11pm
Friday 26th December 2014Artist Spotlight: Peter Lik
Recently, Peter Lik captured the world's attention with the sale of his photograph, Phantom, for an astonishing $6.5 million dollars, easily making it the most expensive photograph ever sold. This wasn't Lik's first foray into incredibly expensive photography sales, but it definitely set the bar higher for every other photographer in the world. Before this new record, however, he has had a long and distinguished careeer as a landscape photographer, among other things (such as, incredibly enough, hosting a television show on the American TV channel 'The Weather Network', entitled 'The Edge with Peter Lik', their first-ever original television show).
Lik began his explorations in photography at the tender age of 8, when his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie camera, which as those of you interested in photography will know, was one of the first truly portable snapshot cameras, and was a wild success, being in production for something over 50 years.
His first high-ticket sale was the photograph entitled 'One', which, as the name suggests, will only ever be printed once, helping to ensure that the $1 million USD paid by an anonymous buyer will be an investment well made. The photograph depicts the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire, USA.
His production and printing processes are very specific, and tend to make up the large difference between what you or I might be able to produce with our natty little DSLRs and something that becomes worth $6.5 million. The majority of his work is shot using large format cameras, which dramatically increased the quality of the resulting image, and when he makes prints, they are printed on a high-quality FujiFlex silver halide emulsion, which can increase the sense that they have a kind of light-emitting glow.
This is all incredible enough, but it becomes even more impressive when you learn that Lik is entirely self-taught as a photographer. New York School of Photography, eat your heart out. He's a testament to the fact that passion is a more effective driving force for knowledge and learning than any schooling can be, and that the most important thing you need to succeed in your own artwork is a powerful passion and determination to continue refining your technique.
Posted on December 26th 2014 on 05:27pm
Wednesday 10th December 2014The 6.5 Million Dollar Photo
The world of art over the course of the last century or so is often told in the impressive sums of money that various pieces achieve at auction. Whether tens of thousands or hundreds of millions, the intrinsic value of the work itself rarely rates so high, but the perceived value can put sale prices into the stratosphere and beyond. As talk goes on about the potential of a bubble in the current art market, and many shakeups happen in the traditional buying patterns as the newly wealthy of developing nations enter the marketplace, this frenzy of high-ticket auction sales has touched almost every area of the art world, with one notable exception: photography. At least, until recently.
Typically, the biggest sale prices are awarded to the paintings of European old masters, but they rarely change hands nowadays. Sculptures also often command high prices, but photography has been left largely out of the big leagues when it comes to pricing. Perhaps this is due to the ease of reproduction - it's hard to be entirely sure that you're buying a singular, unique object, after all, and digital photography has made this even more true that it ever has been before.
It's remarkable, therefore, to see the truly eye-popping figure of $6.5 million USD attached to a photo, as in the case of 'Phantom', by Peter Lik, (shown above, all credit to Lik, of course), which was sold in early December. The piece is ethereal and atmospheric, shot in what looks like a sandstone cave. Lik is naturally a bit coy about where exactly it was taken, as numerous other photographers have attempted to recreate the image. The most he'll say about it is that it was shot in the Southwestern United States, which appears consistent with the type of rock formation shown.
According to the press release published on PRNewsWire, “The purchase also included Lik’s masterworks “Illusion” for $2.4 million and “Eternal Moods” for $1.1 million. With this $10 million sale, Lik now holds four of the top 20 spots for most expensive photographs ever sold. He already has a position in the ranking with a previous $1 million sale of famed image, “One.”
From a technical standpoint, the image is quite remarkable, as it features a very high dynamic range in black and white, but the actual aesthetic quality of the piece is also quite moving.
Posted on December 10th 2014 on 06:32pm