Clearly I'm not charging enough for my photos.
I figured this out after I saw a story about a photograph of the Rhine river by Andreas Gursky that sold for $4.3 MILLION DOLLARS! The most expensive photograph ever sold at an auction.
I've uploaded the photo for your viewing pleasure… or perhaps, as in my case, your viewing annoyance. Now, I'm not saying it's a bad photo, art being subjective, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that seven figures for one print is a tad excessive.
I don't know about you, but my first thought was, "Wha…? What am I missing here? I really hope it loses something on a computer screen because I'm confused."
And then I imagined trying to turn that picture into someone at the paper. (Oh, I was driving around and I snapped this. Yeah, I know it looks dreary and I could get a similar effect with a ruler and some markers but do you want to put it in the paper anyway? No? Why not?) There would be laughing and the proof would be thrown in the recycling bin.
After that I was left pondering what it would be like to have that much money to burn. Gosh, for less than $4.3 million you could buy your own camera, travel to Germany and take that picture yourself. Don't take very good photos or know how to use that new top of the line Hasselblad you bought? Throw in some lessons while you're at it.
Because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I tried my darndest to find some possible reason to justify this kind of expenditure on a single print. Obviously, this Gursky fellow is famous and it would be a cache thing to own some of his work, I mean, I haven't heard of him but clearly someone has. Still, $4.3 million. Yeesh.
Maybe it's the first ever digital photo printed and has historical value? Maybe Gursky hand printed it and then destroyed the original? Maybe Gursky is dead and the price of his work has skyrocketed posthumously? Maybe it was printed on a solid slab of pure gold?
Nope. As far I can tell from my research on the internet, none of these scenarios comes into play.
So, I'm left in the dark as to why this photo is worth seven figures, wishing I had that much cash to toss around and wondering if I could get away with charging half that price and calling it a bargain.