Value of a Photograph???

I have really been questioning lately what is the true value of a photograph? Now that I am networking on Facebook I see so many extraordinary paintings on various artist pages, I feel a bit intimidated and inadequate that I am not able to create something of such preeminence. As an art collector myself I know the value of many of the pieces I have collected have gained in value since they have been in my possession. But to me they are still masterpieces that hang on my walls that just make me laugh and smile. A couple of the artists long dead seems to have added value since that artist is no longer producing anything new. So what about a photograph? Though it can become art, what is it worth? Recently a Richard Avedon photograph Dovima with elephants, Evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, August 1955 went for $1,151,108 US dollars in Paris. It was the world auction record for that artist. And a Mapplethorpe photograph of a Zantedeschia or arum lily measuring 61 x 50.8 cm, unique in this format, sold for $210,000 by Christie’s NY (title: Calla Lily, 15 Oct. 2004), making this flower portrait one of the most sought-after of the artist’s subjects. It’s all relative and there is value, but both of these artists are now dead. Value is determined by collect ability. To be determined by type and process of printing and number in the addition, wither more can be produced and saturation of the market and if the photographer will produce anything more. The biggest consideration is achievability of the image and how long it will last. Are our modern processes worthy to stand this test of time? Hard telling yet, it’s all in evolution still.

In this modern era of electronic media I have to question the value of worth of such images. The old processes that I began in are dying and no longer used. Now with the Internet the world has become saturated with images, all kinds of images. Is the photographic medium becoming irrelevant? Am I living in a delusional fantasy of a dying art form? What is the relevance of what I create? I know part of it is my own unique vision, allowing others into my world and see it from my perspective? Though there may be great depth in my process and approach, is it of any value to anyone else? It is the history of who I am and how I have lived my life during this time but does that not gain any value until after I am dead.

I have put my images on Red Bubble for 10 months now and have only sold a few postcards. I do not know any artist on Red Bubble who have actually sold anything on there. Though I have certainly bought a few images I am not sure of their value. And I waffle between wither I should add a price or not to the images displayed and keep adding and removing them. Does this hurt and destroy the potential value of my future? But I am to the point where I need to make some money and earn a living. The greatest advantage to Red Bubble is they offer a safe beautiful place where your images can be seen and viewed without risk of being stolen and at least puts your images out for the world to discover. I believe Red Bubble is mostly a site of creation and to network with other creative souls like myself.

Personally I like to have more control of my process, from printing to mounting and framing and putting the signature at the bottom that says this is a part of me that I put forth into the world. To me this is really where the beauty lies is in a finished piece hanging on a wall. But how do you get known if it sits in stack with hundreds of other photos collecting dust in the corner of your studio. I have to figure out somehow to get some kind of return on what I do. I still have bills to pay. I used to have an amazing friend who collected my stuff and it kept my images fresh because it afforded me extra time to create while sustaining me financially. He recently passed away and that connection is now lost. I do work all the time at other jobs and am trying to balance between creation and living. I am afraid the making a living is beginning to win and the creation will be lost soon if I don’t make the connection. I now put everything forth in this project and give myself a year to see if I will survive or not.

3 thoughts on “Value of a Photograph???

  1. Kevin

    >A photograph is a hard thing to put a value on. For one person it could be a waste of time, for another, the same picture could be priceless…
    You put your heart in what you do and they are important to you and that is WHY you do what you do… so how can ANYONE argue that they are NOT priceless?
    You do amazing work, Terry! NEVER question yourself on what you do!

  2. Kate Best

    >..i would leave words of wisdom, i fear i have none tho, so i'll just say what works for me..revel in what u do..and u for one have a good reason to do this… and 2d, be in the moment…it will help u remove yourself from the doubting.. the very idea of you 'doubting' your work can undermine what you produce..and if you do that, several of us would suffer for it..we appreciate the beauty you're creating, and want you to continue…the money will come if you carry on.

  3. Terry J Cyr Photography

    >Thanks Kevin and Kate, I have been thinking about this all week and so many of the comments people have left on facebook regarding this post. I have actually found more courage and faith to trust more in the process and see things for the remarkable beauty that is emerging from within me and the strong connection I am gaining to so many others out there, struggling with the same issues.

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