Some Thoughts on Collecting Fine Art Photography
There is no higher praise to an artist than being included in a fine art collection that is being collected for aesthetic value. And while I am a fine art photographer, I am also a collector of fine art photography. For my collection there a few simple guidelines that I follow:
I spend time learning about fine art photography and individual photographers. If the photographer has a Facebook or other social media page or profile I try to follow them to keep up with their work. I visit galleries and attend opening for the same reason. Most importantly, I collect what I like, what speaks to me, rather than what is the latest trend or style, or even whatever photographer is popular at the moment. Popularity does not quarantine that the work of a photographer, or any artist, will go up in value over the years.
Educating myself about up and coming photographers helps me purchase outstanding works while I can afford them, before their work becomes artificially inflated. While there is nothing wrong with purchasing expensive fine art photography from an already established artist, if you can afford it, it is not the only way to build up an exceptional collection, nor is it the most profitable way in the long-run. Remember that often the more popular an artist becomes, the more saturated the market becomes with the artist’s work, which ultimately drives down value.
I buy what I love.This cannot be stressed enough. The artwork I purchase will be with me for a long time. I don’t want to become bored with a piece that I’ve collected. I want it to add quality to my life every time I look at, for years to come. I also want to make sure the piece enhances both my lifestyle and my décor.
Early on, I learned that there is no “right” way to collect art. I needed to find the style of collecting that best suited my needs. I personally buy irregularly and what I can afford, when I can afford it. Everyone has their own style of collecting. Don’t let someone dictate to you what’s “right” and what’s “wrong.” There is nothing wrong with buying a select piece or two every few years, just as there’s nothing wrong with buying several pieces at one time, or commissioning a favorite photographer to create an individual piece that has personal meaning. (Psst… I do commissions!)
I ask questions, lots of questions. I talk with the artist when I can. Knowing the back-story to an image enhances the personal value of the piece to me. When I go into a gallery, I ask questions. A reputable artist, art dealer, or gallery should never hesitate to answer whatever questions you may have about a piece. Provenance, condition, print editions, artist information and history are import aspects of the piece that are important to your enjoyment of the piece and its value. Knowing about limited edition size and general run is especially important with fine art photography prints.
While there are many talented photographers out there producing high quality fine art photography, I hope that you might find one or more of my fine art photographs worthy of being in your collection.