Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Ed B on December 10, 2014, 01:48:52 pm

Title: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Ed B on December 10, 2014, 01:48:52 pm
I probably should post this in the "8 Easy Ways to Know if an Image is Fine Art" thread but.....

http://petapixel.com/2014/12/10/peter-lik-print-sells-6-5-million-shattering-record-expensive-photo/
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 10, 2014, 01:54:54 pm
That's really sad. At least Gursky and Sherman are trying to say something, they're making a stab at Art with a capital A.

Lik appears to be entirely about decor. There's nothing wrong with decor, I've shot lots of it. But it's not at all clear to me that decor should enjoy the same open-ended pricing that Art with a capital A does.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 10, 2014, 01:56:51 pm
There is a thread on the subject, with about 20 replies already:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=95855.msg783223#msg783223
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Ed B on December 11, 2014, 01:11:40 pm
I rarely venture into that forum which is why I missed it. Seems a strange forum for a subject like this.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Gulag on December 11, 2014, 07:04:45 pm
Welcome to the contemporary age,  in which everything has only exchange value. Even artist's own excrement has been marketed as art since 1960s.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: chez on December 11, 2014, 10:01:59 pm
That's really sad. At least Gursky and Sherman are trying to say something, they're making a stab at Art with a capital A.

Lik appears to be entirely about decor. There's nothing wrong with decor, I've shot lots of it. But it's not at all clear to me that decor should enjoy the same open-ended pricing that Art with a capital A does.


Unless you have millions of dollars of disposable income...I don't think Lik considers you as a potential customer so I'm sure he does not give a damn what you think about art.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Gulag on December 11, 2014, 10:12:28 pm
There is art market for proletarians,  there is art market for capital holders. Which market you target at is a business decision if you call yourself a businessman.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 11, 2014, 10:24:14 pm
You can buy a Lik for a few thousand. I'm totally in his target market.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Manoli on December 11, 2014, 11:13:24 pm
The Most Expensive Photo in the World, or the Best Marketing Stunt? (http://petapixel.com/2014/12/10/expensive-photo-world-best-marketing-stunt/)
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 11, 2014, 11:20:04 pm
Lik's press release does give the name of a lawyer you can contact for evidence of the sale.

This doesn't mean that it's not just a $10m cash infusion from an investor in Peter Lik Incorporated who has chosen to structure his investment in the business as involving some unique prints in order to do some marketing.

That's idle speculation from me. But it both fits the skimpy known facts, and illustrates that middle ground could in theory exist. A real buyer, real money, and yet still a marketing gimmick.

For example.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: chez on December 12, 2014, 12:03:10 am
Lik's press release does give the name of a lawyer you can contact for evidence of the sale.

This doesn't mean that it's not just a $10m cash infusion from an investor in Peter Lik Incorporated who has chosen to structure his investment in the business as involving some unique prints in order to do some marketing.

That's idle speculation from me. But it both fits the skimpy known facts, and illustrates that middle ground could in theory exist. A real buyer, real money, and yet still a marketing gimmick.

For example.


The tax that would need to be paid in the 6.5 million dollar phony transaction would make it one hell of an expensive marketing gig.

Maybe, just maybe Peter actually sold $10 million worth of photos to someone who has money to burn. People buy other art for much more obscene prices...why is it so hard to swallow a photograph could be sold for that much?
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 12, 2014, 12:15:54 am
Because photos don't cost that much.

If I claimed to have sold an egg for $700 dollars people would be justified in wondering just what the details of this transaction were.

Just because it's art doesn't mean prices are arbitrary.

Also, what tax are you referring to?
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: LesPalenik on December 12, 2014, 09:23:15 am
If B&W is not your thing, you can get it much cheaper on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ghost-Peter-Lik-/301424319313?pt=AU_Art_Prints_Posters&hash=item462e4a1b51 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ghost-Peter-Lik-/301424319313?pt=AU_Art_Prints_Posters&hash=item462e4a1b51)
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Isaac on December 12, 2014, 11:23:29 am
Quote
"I am suggesting that the price paid for a work of art becomes its absolute and authoritative value, even if the value the price implies is not particularly clear. It is presented without explanation -- the price is the explanation."

"Thus art has become a venue for the exhibition of money."

ART VALUES OR MONEY VALUES? (http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/kuspit3-6-07.asp) by Donald Kuspit 2007
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Ed B on December 12, 2014, 11:31:28 am


Also, what tax are you referring to?


I think he is referring to the income/sales tax Lik would have to pay on the sale.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: chez on December 12, 2014, 03:38:31 pm
Because photos don't cost that much.

If I claimed to have sold an egg for $700 dollars people would be justified in wondering just what the details of this transaction were.

Just because it's art doesn't mean prices are arbitrary.

Also, what tax are you referring to?


So what should photos cost? I've seen photos go from $20 to $35,000. Why should art go for over $100,000,000 and photos not command this type of money. Where is it stipulated how much a photo can be sold for? Did paintings always go for say $10,000? Someone had to break the barrier.

Being a photographer myself, I am rejoicing with this news rather than being skeptical about it. Finally photography is being viewed in the same light as other art, which in my opinion, it should.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 12, 2014, 03:49:00 pm
... Finally photography is being viewed in the same light as other art, which in my opinion, it should.

Paintings are still an order of magnitude more expensive (valuable?), as they sell for between tens and hundreds millions. The reason photographs are not there, and probably never will, is simple: uniqueness. Paintings are original, photographs are infinitely printable.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: chez on December 12, 2014, 05:37:34 pm
Paintings are still an order of magnitude more expensive (valuable?), as they sell for between tens and hundreds millions. The reason photographs are not there, and probably never will, is simple: uniqueness. Paintings are original, photographs are infinitely printable.


Unless you purchase the one and only print made and rights to have no more made.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 12, 2014, 06:15:21 pm
So what should photos cost? I've seen photos go from $20 to $35,000. Why should art go for over $100,000,000 and photos not command this type of money. Where is it stipulated how much a photo can be sold for? Did paintings always go for say $10,000? Someone had to break the barrier.

I have no opinion on what they *should* cost. I'm not sure that's a meaningful question.

The point is that I know what they *do* cost, and Lik's sale is completely out of line, and therefore suspicious.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 12, 2014, 06:44:33 pm

Unless you purchase the one and only print made and rights to have no more made.

And you know it is "one and only" how?
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Alan Klein on December 12, 2014, 11:20:46 pm
The tax that would need to be paid in the 6.5 million dollar phony transaction would make it one hell of an expensive marketing gig.

Maybe, just maybe Peter actually sold $10 million worth of photos to someone who has money to burn. People buy other art for much more obscene prices...why is it so hard to swallow a photograph could be sold for that much?

Taxes would be owed only if his company is making a profit.  The money might be supporting the high cost to run so many galleries. 
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: chez on December 12, 2014, 11:37:38 pm
I have no opinion on what they *should* cost. I'm not sure that's a meaningful question.

The point is that I know what they *do* cost, and Lik's sale is completely out of line, and therefore suspicious.


There have been over 20 photos sold for more than 1/2 million...in fact most for over a million. In that context, Lik's price is not really out of line. It just raised the bar for highest priced photo to be broken one day.

Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: LesPalenik on December 13, 2014, 03:24:31 pm
Taxes would be owed only if his company is making a profit.  The money might be supporting the high cost to run so many galleries. 

Alan, I think the poster meant the retail (sales) tax, payable by the purchaser for that specific transaction.
I don't know how it works in USA.  I guess it depends on the particular state and collector's status (individual, corporation, gallery).
In Canada, the seller is obliged to collect retail sales taxes from the purchasers and submit them to the tax collecting agency.

Income tax payable by the maker / seller is an entirely different matter. As you say, such a tax would be due only if the company shows profit.
 
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 13, 2014, 04:06:42 pm
Lik's price is, what, 1.5x the next highest? Looking at the gaps between 2&3, 3&4, and so on down, we find nothing like this kind of a gap. Prices tend to rise in small increments.

It's also a primary market sale. This isn't a piece that's been out there, growing in stature. This is, as far as I can tell, a new piece (albeit based on an old one, one that I can buy any of a dozen copies of right now on artbrokerage.com) sold directly by the artist to a client. It has no stature whatsoever in the world of high end Art.

It's also trite decor. As Slobodan is quick to point out, decor is a fine thing, and I mostly agree (except when I'm in a bad mood). As of today, however, trite decor does not price out as high as Art pieces do.

So, there's three reasons the quoted price is way out of line with any reasonable expectation of what such a thing sells for in today's market.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 13, 2014, 04:07:08 pm
Sales tax is extremely easy to avoid on a multi-million dollar purchase.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 13, 2014, 04:16:53 pm
Sales tax is extremely easy to avoid on a multi-million dollar purchase.


Do tell! I might need it for my next art fair show  ;)
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: amolitor on December 13, 2014, 04:38:15 pm
Move the site of the sale offshore, or really to any sales-tax-free venue. You may have to hold the goods themselves offshore for a period of time. There are typically hoops to jump through of various sorts that depend on the locations involved, and the type of goods involved. Sometimes it is helpful to form an LLC to do the purchasing, and so on.

You wouldn't do it for a candy bar, but to save a couple percent of several million dollars it's obvious.

People do this all the time with boats.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Alan Klein on December 13, 2014, 09:20:40 pm
If the buyer has a house in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon, and the picture was shipped there, there would be no sales taxes as these states do not have one.

Here's an interesting way to avoid them if you don;t live in one of these states. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/13/business/buyers-find-tax-break-on-art-let-it-hang-awhile-in-portland.html
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: BHoll on December 19, 2014, 07:16:56 pm
Serious question (i.e. no "Lik bashing"):
If you look at the "Awards" section on his website, half of his awards from 2014 are "Acceptances". So basically (correct me if I'm wrong): pay entrance fee & upload photograph. I understand his marketing is fairly 'loud' and full on, but all these "Acceptances" sound as if he's needy of awards. Yet I think this is actually damaging his profile & potentially undermining his 'status'.
(Besides, this over-the-top marketing-BS could be seen as questioning his audience's common sense).

Anyway. Even IF I was interested in buying one of his prints, this would seriously put me off.
So what's the benefit in writing "Acceptance" underneath all these "awards" ? I don't get it...
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: MoreOrLess on December 19, 2014, 11:47:19 pm
There is a thread on the subject, with about 20 replies already:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=95855.msg783223#msg783223

Strange that the post in the technical forum was all about art and the one in the art forum is all about finance.

When it comes to art honestly I don't see Lik really making much of an example to argue from, he's a good landscape photographer no doubt but nowhere near the top of the pile in my opinion.

I would actually turn around the "pre visualisation" argument in that thread and suggest that what seems to limit Lik is that seems to depend too much on having planned out a work in advance. Gursky's subject and the message he's trying to convey might benefit from this kind of pre planning but if you talking Landscape shooting where the "message" will be conveying the atmosphere/feeling of the scene in a hopefully original fashion I do not think that long term planning alone is likely to give the best results. A certain degree of planning and some potential longer term pre visualisation is helpful but much of the originality of such landscape shooting is a reaction to changing weather/lighting conditions, the search for new positions from which to view a location in this lighting/weather and you own reaction to the scene itself.
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Ray on December 20, 2014, 12:50:13 am
Isn't the purchase of an expensive work of art merely one way to 'park' some excess money which is perceived as a better way than parking it in the bank, or some other investment?

The fact that the purchaser is anonymous in this instance, and that the price is not only a record-breaker in the photographic world but a very excessive price for a mere photograph, raises the speculation of all sorts of collusion that might have taken place.

Most people, including myself, would struggle to understand how anyone could genuinely fork out $6.5 million for something that can be reproduced countless times. A photograph of a painting is not a painting. But a photograph of a photograph is still a photograph.

Nevertheless, when people own far more wealth than they can practically use, a sum of $6.5 million might be spent with the same concern that a less wealthy person might spend 650 dollars, and the photograph is certainly interesting, perhaps even fascinating for some.

One piece of information about this photograph, Phantom, that I've been unable to find, is its size. Andreas Gursky's Rhein II, which sold for $4.3 million, was huge, 73" x 143" (approx. 6ft x 12ft).

What's the size of this $6.5 million phantom from Lik? Is size irrelevant?
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Isaac on December 20, 2014, 02:43:20 am
Is size irrelevant?

ďOf course, you know the adage, if you canít make it good, make it big (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/arts/design/03GEFT.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0). If you canít make it big, make it red. So we do like big red photographs.Ē
Title: Re: Peter Lik Print Sells for $6.5 Million
Post by: Ray on December 20, 2014, 09:27:17 am
ďOf course, you know the adage, if you canít make it good, make it big (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/arts/design/03GEFT.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0). If you canít make it big, make it red. So we do like big red photographs.Ē

No, I don't know that adage. This is the first I've heard of it. I like photos that are both big and beautiful (good).

When Epson first released an affordable 24" wide professional printer, the Stylus Pro 7600, I was delighted, and bought it. Printer sizes of A4 to A2 are very restrictive. Also the ink and paper, per unit of measurement, are more expensive than the 200 ml cartridges and 30 metre rolls of paper used by the larger printers.

If you're serious about photography, get a big printer. These pissy little A4 size prints are generally not impressive.  ;D