WorldExecutivesDigest.com | 3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Collecting Photographic Art (& How to Begin) | Photography is a relatively new art form (the first photograph was taken in 1827). However, it has evolved fast, thanks to a tide of great artistic movements and technological innovation.
Photography’s original purpose was for documentation and record-keeping. However, as an expressive medium, it has well and truly made its mark on the popular consciousness. And its best examples are nowadays rightly acknowledged as fine art.
There is an incredibly diverse range of photographic styles and genres to enjoy. A world of beautiful, evocative and fascinating fine art photography is out there ready to explore. Collecting photography is understandably becoming increasingly popular. Here are three reasons why you should consider starting a collection of photographic art prints yourself.
1. Fine art photography always tells a story.
A photo captures a single moment in time. However, what makes it so compelling is the story behind the moment. A photo can demand you to ask so many questions about what is happening, what has already happened and what will happen next.
You could find yourself pondering the subject of the photo, details in the background, the photographer’s story, and so much more. A good photo could capture a truly historic, monumental moment or something far more spectacular every day. Either way, it has the power to fascinate, entrance, and light up your imagination.
2. It’s accessible.
For beginners, the thought of collecting paintings or sculptures can be very daunting. However, as a fine art, photography feels like a far more accessible medium. Perhaps this is because it is one that almost everyone dabbles in themselves. Most people have captured a landscape with a camera or smartphone, but far fewer have painted one. That said, the same people would acknowledge that, like any other art form, it is very difficult to truly master.
It’s also straightforward to learn about the world’s leading photographers and what to look out for in fine art photography. There is a range of dedicated websites, and some excellent books and magazines that will help you make an entry into this world. Over the last couple of decades, more and more exhibitions and photo art fairs have been held too, arranged by museums and galleries.
Another reason for photography’s accessibility is its affordability. While there are photographers whose work can command million-dollar sales, there are plenty of high quality works out there at more affordable price points. Move fast, however, because as the popularity of fine art photography grows, so does its price index.
3. It’s interesting.
Another reason for fine art photography’s appeal is its fascinating diversity. There are so many reasons for starting a collection and different ways to begin.
For example, you might:
Enjoy a certain subject
Many enthusiasts’ collections center around a subject, depending on their interests. There are so many possibilities that it would be impossible to list them all. Your inspiration might come from flora or fauna, a person, a geographical place, architecture or engineering, to name but a few.
Be interested in a certain genre
Some of the most popular genres include portrait, landscape, and still life photography. Note that these are popular art forms in terms of painting, too.
But there are other genres that are bound to photography. These include street photography and photojournalism. They are fascinating, lively genres where the visual narrative is key.
There is also a growing interest in conceptual and surrealist photography, where a photographer takes advantage of digital editing to create unique images that twist standard genres and evoke endless curiosity. They always provoke a lot of questions and provide an interesting talking point.
Be inspired by a certain photographer’s work
Another focal point for a collection might be a photographer whose work you particularly enjoy. Of course, the most famous and admired photographers’ work will often command very high prices (although your purchases are likely to retain their worth or increase in value).
But if you spot a talented up-and-coming photographer, you could begin an excellent and possibly more extensive collection at a lower price point. As well as providing you with much enjoyment, this might also prove to be a good financial investment.
Be fascinated by a certain historical era
Vintage photography appeals to many collectors. Good photos can make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Some people prefer photos that capture pivotal moments in history; others prefer images that capture a lost way of life or bygone fashions.
Love to travel
As well as transporting you in time, a photographic image can transport you to another place. Travel photography is incredibly popular. It’s diverse, too. Some photographers might trek to the quietest corners of the planet to capture images of nature that you may never see otherwise; others can capture urban scenes with incredible atmosphere that leap from the print.
What to look for in photographic art
If you’re interested in collecting fine art photography and you have established the kind of photography or Photographic Art you’d prefer, the next step is to understand what to look out for.
Here are a few basic principles to guide your research:
- Follow your instincts and your own tastes. A photograph should engage, move, or intrigue you. It should be thought-provoking. Above all, you should enjoy looking at it.
- Aim to find work that you love rather than looking solely for a financial investment.
- Take time to enjoy reading books and websites, and researching your areas of interest. This could be certain genres, techniques, or photographers, for instance. Allow this knowledge to feed into your tastes and preferences, but not overwhelm them.
- Visit galleries and ask lots of questions.
- If you are interested in a particular work, spend some time looking into the number of editions there are in existence, how it was printed, and the materials used, checking for a signature as well as closely examining the condition of the print. All these affect its value.
Collecting photographs or Photographic Art, whatever the style, genre or subject matter, is an ideal way to start a fine art collection. There is a wonderful array of fine art photography out there ready for you to explore, and perhaps even purchase.
American artist Shea Winter Roggio is the CEO of Winter Museo. A documentary and fine art photographer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as a University of the Arts graduate and an Eddie Adams Workshop and Center for Emerging Visual Artists alumni, Shea aims to reinvent the gallery shop. Winter Museo offers everything art, from posters, canvas, gifts, souvenirs and stationary to limited edition fine art prints, hand signed by the artist.