The Million Dollar Potato Picture

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JDDavis, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    Jan 16, 2009
    #1
    Saw this in the news. Thought I'd post the story about this little hot potato here.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/27/arts/potato-photo-million-euros/index.html

    I figured I'd get rich and famous taking landscapes but I guess the lesson here is that millions of people take great landscape images but the competition in high end potato imaging is a bit smaller. I'm joking...and I'm not. Art, is always in the eye of the beholder and value (monetary at least) is defined by what someone will pay for it.
     
  2. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #2
    He's a bit of a one trick pony isn't he.

    Rich people are easily parted with their money when it comes to "art"
     
  3. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #3
    Ouch, somebody got taken...I wouldn't have paid any more than $900,000 for that spud shot. Maybe it was nicely framed.
     
  4. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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  5. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I wonder what the print actually looks like in real life....size, material...ect. Just curious what you got for over 1 million
     
  6. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #6
    I am just without words on this one. Really? For a potat-rait... ?
     
  7. Cheese&Apple, Jan 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016

    Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #7
    For Sale:

    [​IMG]

    Only $500,000! But if you act now I'll also throw in at no extra charge:

    [​IMG]

    Just think...you could own an original Cheese&Apple.
     
  8. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

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    #8
    That's one of three prints of 'Potato #345'. If there are three prints of each of potatoes #1 thru #344 then he's potentially a potato billionaire...
     
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #9
    Unfortunately you destroyed any possible sales by offering the second print for free. Giving something away like that cheapens the whole. You would have been better off offering both for $500,000 but if they only take the first one you would be willing to part with it for only $700,000. Then you could sell the second one for $1,000,000 because the only other one in the set already went for $700k.

    Logic? This is art!
     
  10. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

    JamesMike

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    #10
    He gets $500,000 for portraits of famous people! I wonder how many he has taken?
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #11
    A while ago I read something interesting about that Australian guy Peter Lik's photos -- like the one in Grand Canyon that allegedly sold for millions. The article didn't dispute that somebody paid a lot of money for a single print, but went on to say that there's a distinction between primary art markets and secondary art markets, and it goes like this:

    Person A paid a lot of money for a photograph in the primary market -- artist to buyer.

    Now if Person A is able to move that same photograph for the same or a greater amount to another buyer (the artist has no role here) then that's the secondary market -- buyer/seller to another buyer.

    The article went on to suggest that there would never be a secondary market for that Grand Canyon picture, unlike, for example, a genuine Ansel Adams print or a painting by a famous artist, where the secondary market is strong.

    It made sense to me, but of course not being in the art market I can't say whether it's a reasonable position or not.

    I do know that the art market can be counter-intuitive. Years ago I bought a Jim Dine lithograph (one of his "Eight Little Nudes" series). I never wanted to sell it, but at one point I was talking to a person familiar with the art market, and I asked what she thought my Jim Dine might be worth, considering that the edition was only 30, and he was a famous artist. She said, "Maybe what you paid for it, maybe less," and when I expressed surprise she said that unusual work or themes by even famous artists were never valuable because the market wanted the kind of works that the artist was famous for. "If you had a gate or a robe, that would be another matter, but Dine never did nudes again and so no one cares about them." And she was right, because every now and then I look up what my Dine is worth, and it's never been worth much more than I paid for me. Lucky for me, I love it.
     
  12. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #12
    After visiting the Peter Lik and other photographer's galleries here in Las Vegas I said to myself "I can do that!" While he does have several pleasing images, technically I did not find them all that impressive. In another photographer's gallery I found many of the images to not even be in sharp focus. It was looking at these prints that led me to open my own, small, gallery.

    There is nothing magical about his images but his marketing is on point. This is an interesting read and it does talk about the "Phantom" and "Ghost" images.

    https://news.artnet.com/market/new-york-times-exposes-peter-lik-photography-scheme-264858

    I choked when I read this part:

    I'm happy with my photography but I wouldn't turn down a hundred million dollar business selling more banal prints. ;)
     
  13. someoldguy macrumors 65816

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    usa
    #13
    Just out of curiosity ; I wonder how many $100,000 french fries did they get out of the potato after the picture was taken ?
     
  14. mrex macrumors 68020

    mrex

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  15. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #15
    While it is easy to joke about the fine art market, but I am always thrilled to see photography valued in any way. I'm also always a bit disappointed to see photographers degrading other people's work. We all need to believe in what we do and that what we create has value.

    A few months back I wandered into a small shop/gallery and found some unframed prints by a local landscaper. Nothing outstanding perhaps but nice work. I was horrified to find that he was selling them at £20 each (numbered and signed). Even if he had a well paid full-time job and just made pictures for a hobby this would barely pay for the ink, paper and shop commission. A six-figure sum may have been too much (who am I to say) but really, have some self-respect! If photographers really give such low value to their work then how should we ever expect anyone else to.

    Sorry, rant over.
     
  16. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #16
    Valuing a print is a difficult thing but I agree, people often undervalue their work. Last year I was showing some work with a local group that charged $10 to hang and 40% of any sales. Every month there were framed prints listed for 20 or 30 dollars. That $30 framed print will bring in $8 for the artist before the cost of materials. The $20 print a whopping $2. :'(

    Some people just like to see their works sell but in most cases I believe people don't really understand the costs involved. They look at the cash in hand and forget about the frame, print and hanging fees.
     
  17. JDDavis thread starter macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #17

    Certainly a very interesting and valid point. For those who make a living at selling anything it's a big deal when the guy down the street offers a similar product for less. You hope on some level quality is recognizable and people place value on that. Sadly, it seems that's not always the case when the buyer just wanted a yellow colored picture of a flower to hang on the wall in the bathroom and the shop down the street has one for half the money. There's also something to be said for cost (money) not being the only way to ascribe value to something. Monokakata illustrated that in his post and while photography is a hobby for me at the moment I've had a few folks ask to purchase something of mine and I've thoroughly enjoyed just giving them a print for free. I would feel very differently if it were my business.

    I hope, in the case of this spud, that the photographer valued the picture for his own reasons even if the buyer had never offered that sum. He did have it hanging in his house. Or maybe he said, hey there's a super rich guy coming over let's hang up the tater picture and talk all artsy about it! Daddy needs a new Ferrari! ;)
     
  18. mrex macrumors 68020

    mrex

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    #18
    Well i was in an exhibition where you saw semen and piss in a washing machine, piss on snow, blood in a blender and you can quess the smell... And that was art.. For... Someone... I ... Quess...

    But then again... We even see people selling their used boxers...
     
  19. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #19
    Mate you need to be more selective about what you spend your time on... ! :)
    --- Post Merged, Jan 30, 2016 ---
    Lol... I paid £75 to have one of my pictures printed on canvas so someone would hang it on their wall...

    I am still at the "really?! You like that one? Enough to want it on your wall? You serious?" stage...

    Still bowled over when someone likes my crap...
     
  20. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #20
    I had some nice A3 prints done at work and mounted that we used at an exhibition at work. Afterwards I brought them home. My wife gave them to the hairdresser when she visited. I asked did she do your hair for free then? She said no she just liked them so I said she could have them.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #21
    Well, having seen some of that world from another perspective (writing, not photography), it seems to me to be almost like an inverse triangle where the artist/author/photographer puts in the graft, supplies the materials (time, research, equipment, physical photographs, or a painting, or a book in written form, or something in writing that can be published), creates - or crafts - the work in question, and that this whole secondary industry (galleries, publishing companies, shops, outlets) lives off the proceeds of these works, creaming increasing profits as the chain progresses from artist/author/photographer to the vendor of said product.

    This is because - usually - artists or authors - are not really constitutionally capable of marketing or selling their own work, or putting a true value on it, or making their way in the world of trading or the market. They can create, but the world of buying and selling in the market is alien to them - indeed, some artists disdain it, while yet others actually claim to despise it.

    Now, I am an historian by training and background, and used to be an academic before being enticed out from the Groves of Academe into The Real World.

    Anyway, some years ago, a book - a history book - I wrote was published, received excellent reviews, was put up for some prizes, and proceeded to sell very well. (That is, it sold a few thousand copies, which in the publishing world of history books is very good indeed).

    Candidly, to some extent, I was still at the stage described by @kenoh - astonished and delighted and awestruck that people were actually prepared to buy what I wrote, and that a publisher was prepared to put serious resources into making a beautiful edition (and it was a beautiful edition) out of my book.

    Anyway, around a year or so later, I remember reading the financial statement the publishers sent to me with stupefaction, as I had been thrilled to make a bit of decent money - and I did - briefly - make some decent money - in the year immediately after it was published.

    However, if memory serves, I received 6% of each paperback sold, and 12% of each hardback. (Mulling over this again, more than a decade and a half later, it might have been 6.5% and 13% for paperbacks and hardbacks, respectively). Everybody else, from publisher, to vendor, made an awful lot more. Researching, and writing that book took years of my life, - which I loved as an intellectual exercise, and hugely enjoyed creatively, for, it is wonderful to see your own name as the author of a beautiful book - but I do vividly remember how stunned I was to realise that everybody else in the process (that inverted isosceles triangle again) made an awful lot more than I did, out of what was, in essence, my intellectual labours.

    But that seemed to be the price that I was expected to pay for having been published. And - I suspect - that their argument would have been something along the lines of that most history books do not even recoup the cost of publishing them in the first place in subsequent sales. They will further argue, that therefore, they, as publishers, have to make a living as publishers of books that need to be - and deserve to be - published - even though they fail to sell well - because profit is not their sole motivation - which means, in effect, that the books that sell well serve to subsidise the others.
     
  22. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #22
    If only the photography that sold for high prices could subsidise the rest of us!

    Photographer's agents work in a similar way to a publisher in that they set the price and decide their own cut. Quite often the amount of money charged is much more than the photographer might have quoted themselves because the agent knows much better how much the images are worth to the client, while the photographer is still adding up man-hours, gear rental and fuel bills. Thankfully the photographer usually keeps the largest slice of the cake in this deal but it is still a tiny fraction of the overall marketing budget of the original client once the advertising agency and publishers have taken their share.

    The conundrum with the arts is they have no intrinsic value. While for a farmer there is a market price for a potato, there is no guide to how much a photo of one (or a piece for writing about one) might be worth. I think that the most difficult thing for most of us to grasp is that our work might be worth more to someone else than it is to us.
     
  23. MrAverigeUser macrumors 6502a

    MrAverigeUser

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    europe
    #23
    This story shows only how extremely the decadence of our western society has already gotten….

    More than 1 Billion people on earth don´t even have access to drinkable water and every 30 seconds there is a child dying from hunger…. reminds me about the "roaring twenties"….
     

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