Andre Cantelmo Photography | Purchasing Fine Art Photographs

Purchasing Fine Art Photographs

December 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

What exactly do I purchase when I buy a fine art photograph from the maker? On one level you are getting ownership of a creative work of art that will enhance your life. Hung in the proper light, a quick glance or lengthy stare instantly transports you to another emotional state of mind. Something about that work moved you to want to own it. Perhaps it sparked a memory of a time, place, or person dear to you. A memory that might not have occurred had you not had that work of art hanging in your home. It is an instant emotional journey that is always available. There is much more to that photograph than you might realize or see. A good metaphor to illustrate this would be an iceberg.  What you see in the matted and framed work is just a small percent of a large undertaking.


Good Photographers do a lot of editing. I would love to give you a percentage of how many shots it takes to produce a "keeper" however, that figure varies based upon the type of subject, lighting conditions, equipment considerations and other variables. Before I reach the point where I clean the glass on a framed matted fine art photograph, I've experienced failure, success, experimentation, lost time, repeat visits for better light, and so on. I can arrive at a shoot site only to discover that the composition I want is no longer the same as when I first saw it, access is now restricted where it was not previously, or the weather is not photogenic any longer. I sometimes do a bit of shooting, but I know I need to make a return trip if this is a strong enough subject matter. Lost time is not unusual when doing this type of work. Here is where you are buying time. In that framed work you fell in love with, is the time it took to get things just right. You are buying the frustration, as well as the joy when it all comes together. It is all in that framed fine art photograph hanging in your Living Room.


Photographers love to show their Portfolios to people. Keep in mind, that you are looking at the tip of the Iceberg. Lots of frames, and many miles have gone into the making of that work. The first edit a photographer makes is with his finger on the shutter button. That instant is a reaction to an emotion that needed to be made. A piece of heart and soul is right there in that moment. The artist's sensitivity went into that frame and will continue to go into that work until it is post processed and called finished. You are buying a piece of the artist heart and soul.


Photographers invest a lot of time in making a framed work of art that they sign their name on. Acquiring the raw image takes time and expense, editing a shoot over and over to get the best shots out of the pack takes time, getting your emotions into the finished work through post processing takes time, keeping your software skills up to par takes time, and then there are the equipment costs. When you buy an original fine art photograph from an artist, you are buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about. Your purchase is an endorsement that keeps the creative juices flowing so that the artist can put a frame around a composition and say here look at this wonderful moment. We do not ordinarily think of our spending habits as a vote, but they are just that. Purchasing an item is telling a vendor "I'll buy more of this". Purchase quality, and the style you love, and more will be available to enjoy. We live a fast paced life. Your home should be an environment that is restorative, and a place where you feel good spending your time. If you already are a collector, that is wonderful. If you have not begun yet, then decide to start the process now by looking for work that speaks to your emotions.


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