Decoupling the Intrinsic Value of a Photograph from its Economics

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faberryman

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I came across this article from the photography website L’Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography) discussing the devaluation of photographs in the age of the cellphone, juxtaposing the intrinsic value and economic value of photographs.

 

AgX

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Well, to understand that article one really has to read the original article and see what photos are referred to.
And best be European, as they likely will not tell much to most Americans. Even most Germans of my generation they would not tell much...


(I wonder whether that chains photo would still be possible today, but this is yet due to another philosophical discussion.)
 
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faberryman

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Well, to understand that article one really has to read the original article and see what photos are referred to. And best be European, as they likely will not tell much to most Americans. Even most Germans of my generation they would not tell much... (I wonder whether that chains photo would still be possible today, but this is yet due to another philosophical discussion.)

Here is the link to the original article, which is in the link I provided. You can click on the horizontal band of thumbnails to view larger versions of the images in question.

 
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It's simple economics. When the supply goes up, the prices go down. There are so many good photos today, that it's hard to find a reason to put a premium price on them. Of course, the photographer mentioned in the article has shots of James Dean and WWII photos that can't be duplicated. So they're rarer and more expensive still. But who's going to shoot a great new version of the Eiffel Tower today?
 

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I came across this article from the photography website L’Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography) discussing the devaluation of photographs in the age of the cellphone, juxtaposing the intrinsic value and economic value of photographs.


What are your thoughts on the matter?
 

AgX

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Concerning the very topic of the original article, I do not even get the point. That there is a clientele that appreciates these old photos just is an indication that there is (again) a market for them.

One now can argue that just the people given the right of use (not the actual print) for free as they are living in resthomes are not a commercially applicable clientele to me does not contradict the above. Unless the photographer just made this experience, that only this group with limited means is interested.
 

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Despite the potentially interesting thesis implied by the title of the article (and the title of this thread), the article distills to self aggrandizement and only tangentially hints at the tantalizing economic discussion that could have been.
 
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AgX

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Yes, we better discuss the topic without that quoted example.
 
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No monetary value.

Well,, nothing has monetary value for it unless you can find a buyer and sell it. On the other hand, pure (fine) art doesn't have any inherent value because it cannot be used for anything other than looking at it. (leaving aside it;s hanging ability on your wall) On the other hand oil, wheat, autos, steel, etc. have inherent value because they can be used for something. It's exact value will be determined by supply and demand.
 

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Well,, nothing has monetary value for it unless you can find a buyer and sell it. On the other hand, pure (fine) art doesn't have any inherent value because it cannot be used for anything other than looking at it. (leaving aside it;s hanging ability on your wall) On the other hand oil, wheat, autos, steel, etc. have inherent value because they can be used for something. It's exact value will be determined by supply and demand.

I can put a piece of art on a wall to cover a hole or crack. Wouldn't that be inherent value? I can also burn it for heat or cooking, possibly wear it or use it as shelter.
 
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I can put a piece of art on a wall to cover a hole or crack. Wouldn't that be inherent value? I can also burn it for heat or cooking, possibly wear it or use it as shelter.

You got me on that and you've given me an idea. Maybe I can sell my inherently worthless photos to campers as kindling for their camp fires?
 

Sirius Glass

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With GWCs and GWPs running around giving their photographs away, of course that will devalue photographic works. I have been saying that for years. Keep up with my post and you can skip obvious articles like that.
 

Sirius Glass

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With GWCs and GWPs running around giving their photographs away, of course that will devalue photographic works. I have been saying that for years. Keep up with my post and you can skip obvious articles like that.

Gay White Couples and Global Warming Potential?

GWC = Guy or Girl With Camera
GWP = Guy or Girl With Phone
 

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First it was John Ruskin stating that Whistler's paintings were "like flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Then it was the Abstract Expressionists, who were basically accused of killing imagery. That worked better than anyone had hoped it might (in terms of killing off that pesky imagery stuff).

What's followed has been a sort of artistic, digital, living hell. If it's true that having a lot of something makes it worth less than having just a little, then today we're swimming in imagery that doesn't have much value. How much of it is really good and stops you in your tracks?

It used to be you could pick up an issue of Look or Life, or if you were lucky an issue of Warhol's Interview, and see outstanding images from serious B&W photographers. Art has to be touched, felt, held in your hand. It's something real, not a bunch of soulless pixels on a machine. These machines that we "communicate" with are what's killing the value of photography. Just like it's killed photography galleries, print shops, lab prints from your corner store, photography jobs, art co-ops,.......
 
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Pieter12

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First it was John Ruskin stating that Whistler's paintings were "like flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Then it was the Abstract Expressionists, who were basically accused of killing imagery. That worked better than anyone had hoped it might (in terms of killing off that pesky imagery stuff).

What's followed has been a sort of artistic, digital, living hell. If it's true that having a lot of something makes it worth less than having just a little, then today we're swimming in imagery that doesn't have much value. How much of it stops you in your tracks?

Most of it is amateurish, banal, or thinly disguised advertising for corporate products. It used to be you could pick up an issue of Look or Life, or if you were lucky an issue of Warhol's Interview, and see outstanding images from serious B&W photographers. It's not the same on a screen.
You are having a bit of rosy retrospection. Most magazines were printed on web presses and the reproduction varied from poor to mediocre. There were of course some exceptions, but the only way to appreciate a good photograph is in person--and lacking that opportunity, in a well-printed book.
 
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You are having a bit of rosy retrospection. Most magazines were printed on web presses and the reproduction varied from poor to mediocre. There were of course some exceptions, but the only way to appreciate a good photograph is in person--and lacking that opportunity, in a well-printed book.

A lot of good music can be enjoyed with crappy cellphone speakers.
 
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