Fine Art Photography As An Investment

Fine Art Photography As An Investment

I was encouraged to read this article in late November 2017’s Rob Report on how fine art photography is a great investment. As a fine art photographer, I am pleased to see that art buyers and collectors are realizing that, given the affordable price of quality fine art photography prints — compared to other mediums — photography prints offers a great opportunity and value. Buy what you love, and choose archival quality products that will last for entire generations. What I love about nature and landscape photography is that it brings nature indoors, and provides an escape from our busy lives. Research led by Vrije University Medical Centre found that during a study of 46 participants who by just looking at still images of nature produced enough stimulus to significantly lower stress levels.

From the post:

While every market is subject to the vagaries of currency fluctuations, political upheavals, and all the things that adjust our lives on a daily basis, I am surprised that there has been such resilience in the market for photography over the past decade,” says Michael Hoppen of London’s Michael Hoppen Gallery. He will be among the 160 international dealers exhibiting at Paris Photo, the 21st edition of which runs at the Grand Palais November 9 to 12. Hoppen’s observation is underscored by a recent analysis of this niche, says Roman Kräussl, a specialist in alternative investments at the University of Luxembourg School of Finance.

“Benchmarked against other asset classes, photography remains a wise investment,” Kräussl notes. “Moreover, its relative affordability provides a wealth of opportunity for collectors looking to get in the game.”

Despite a recent cooling in the overall art market, sales of photographs at auction notched $72 million globally in 2016. Of that figure, $31.6 million was shared by category leaders Phillips, Christie’s, and Sotheby’s. According to the London-based art-market analytics firm ArtTactic, which has monitored sales in the medium since 2008, last year the trio brought in $12.78 million, $10.67 million, and $8.17 million, respectively. Their revenues were propelled by an increase in demand for contemporary photographs, which for the first time surpassed modern works in terms of dollar volume. Among the recent six-figure sales are images by blue-chip notables Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Gilbert & George, Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Cindy Sherman.

“The beauty of photography is not just its broad appeal,” says Emily Bierman, head of photographs at Sotheby’s, “but the fact that you can buy a masterpiece in a way that you can no longer buy a painting, making it a perfect gateway category for serious collecting.” Bierman notes that while the price points between these two categories may be dramatically different, the divide between them is beginning to narrow.

Sotheby’s has witnessed increasing interest in contemporary photographs over the past couple of years, according to Bierman, particularly from collectors of contemporary paintings and sculpture. This marked upsurge in demand prompted the house to hold its first stand-alone sale of postwar and contemporary photographs this past fall. “This season, we felt we were especially well positioned to make the move, given the extraordinarily strong group of photographs we had on offer, which was anchored by a selection of 49 lots from the Steven and Ann Ames Collection,” Bierman says, referring to the house’s September 28 sale, which brought in $2,486,125. The total was well within the house’s presale expectations of $2,099,00 to $3,162,000 for the 93 lots offered. From December 5 to 18, Sotheby’s is offering five additional images from the vaunted Ames Collection online, among them Thomas Struth’s chromogenic print Todai-Ji, Daibutsu-Den–Nara (1996), which carries an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. For those interested in the work of the German artist, Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics opens November 5 at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The exhibition runs through January 21, 2018. Fine Art Photography As An Investment.

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