August 2019
writer: Agata Mayer   |   images: Sherman, Lik, Gursky, Prince, Ray, Witkacy, Opałka
World wide trends are showing that the most wealthy people tend to locate their capital not only in luxury residences, cars, exclusive liquors or original jewellery. But they are also getting more and more interested in acquiring photographs made by known and celebrated artists. Today, the prices of the most unique and limited edition of photographs by outstanding authors can get as high as even a million of dollars and more. The world-wide record in the sale of photography is 6.5 million dollars for „Phantom” by Peter Lik. This is a great change, since almost 20 years ago, the established record was 840,000 dollars for „The Great Wave, Sète” by Gustave Le Gray. This kind of shift in prices proofs that photography finally reached a position of independent art genre. Our local, Polish art market and its photo sector is also growing dynamically. The current value record belongs to Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. His „Monster from Düsseldorf” has been sold for 200,000 PLN. The history of photography becoming the established art form is long and painful. “Snapshots” as a form of individual expression? It sounded ridiculous. Firstly, critics raised a question of photo’s identity, accusing them of commercialism. English art critic, John Ruskin, accused this medium of being more of a technology than a creative work of man, while the ironic Zbigniew Beksinski in „Letters to Jerzy Lewczyński” frankly expressed his aversion to photography. Alliance with painting was not made until the 20th century. So what is it exactly, that makes photography so compelling to the viewers? The invention of cinema and television, the success of illustrated magazines, the golden era of advertising and the Internet massively popularized photography: it became an inspiration for many different areas. Thanks to its flexibility, uniqueness and the possibility of infinite duplication, it played a significant role in global communication. Finally, it was understood that photography not only develops sensory impressions and arouses higher feelings, but it can also become a great investment for the future. This kind of deposit is still a niche, but is already brushing against uniqueness and exclusivity.
My comment was published in Book of Luxury magazine.