Part #1 of 3 Part Series - "What is the value of a photograph or image?"


Hello fellow Google+ followers. This was first posted on my Facebook page and I realized I had left out my wonderful Google+ followers.  Before I start let me get the credits out of the way. The idea of a multi-part facebook (Google+) blog entry comes from Kathy Lucas and her FB Blog about her experience as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. The inspiration for the blog on the value of a photography goes to my friend Doctor Sid and his Random Thoughts Blog entry on September 4th article “Wake up and Smell the Photograph” and from another good friend Mark Hamilton who has shared a great deal of delightful discussions on this very subject.

So what is the value of a photograph anyway? Today is truly a visual world more than any other time in history. It is estimated in 2011 that approximately 140 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook; that’s 10,000 times the number of photos in the Library of Congress. Everyone seems to have a camera. Cameras are in our phones, tablet computers, pocket camera, or a digital SLR so it seems that everyone is a photographer. Most of these images never make it to a print but are shared digitally. So all this I believe has an impact on how the market perceive the value of a photograph. Years ago when I made my living with a camera I had a large corporate national client who valued my photos based on the cost of making a print. So is a 8x10 inch print worth only $2.84? (Walmart price at 1 hour photo 12/18/2012). Lately we have seen a number of tragedies occur where people have lost everything they own. Their home was destroyed by flood or fire. Besides our loved ones and what would you consider your most valuable possession? My guess would be that one of the items would be family photos. So if someone said they could replace them what would you value that at? My guess is some of the pictures you have you would consider priceless. Now you say, you know the difference. The value is not the paper or the printing service but the image that is printed on it right? So what is the value now of the image?.

The value of a photograph depends on many things. It depends on the market. It also depends if the image was documenting an important event in your family life or of a loved one now gone. The photograph may be a fine art print that makes you feel a special way each time you view it or it may be a documentary image that is newsworthy and important to share. The image may be a decorative work that helps complement your office or home. The image may also be of a product or promoting a service that communicates the message to the viewer. All these are part of the visual world today. So what is the value of a photographic image?. Tune in tomorrow for more discussion on this subject.
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