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27 Jun 2020

5 Tips For Collecting Photography

Dima Abdul Kader

Despite photography being a relatively new medium in the realm of contemporary art, today it is regarded as a top collecting category for seasoned as well as new collectors. With its technological advancements, photography has been a crucial medium in the last century capturing historical events, unknown landscapes and beyond your imagination scenes. Fun fact, did you know Sir Elton John owns one of the largest collections of photography in the world? Given the medium's accessibility as a main characteristic, it's never too early to start thinking of diving into the world of photography for your collection. Here's a small essentials guide to help you with all you need to know to venture comfortably in the world of photography.

Mohajerat / Jalal Sepehr / Digital Photography

1. Understanding editions

A common misconception we hear when it comes to new collectors and photography is "Can't he/she just print more?" or  "How am I paying for originality?" The edition size of a photograph signifies the number of times the artwork is printed; the lower the edition size, the more valuable the artwork. Each limited edition printed is an original photograph, with the intent to be printed a limited number of times. Editions serve to keep the photograph production limited to maintain its originality and hence value from the artwork from depreciating. Artwork's edition typically read "Edition 1 of 5" - this means the photograph you are looking at is the first one that was printed and there will only be 5 printed, ever.

2. What's an Artist Proof (AP)?

Often times you will also find an edition number be described as "Edition 1 of 5 + 1 AP" - don't panic! It look's like calculus but this simply means the artist also prints an Artist Proof edition (AP) which  stays with the artist but if you ever get your hands on one, it is a very (very) valuable edition! Its purpose is mainly to gain an impression of what the finished work or the finished photograph will look like. These few “proofs” are signed by the photographer and generally sold for an additional fee of 10-30% of the standard edition

3. Invest a little (much) more in framing  

Really? What’s the difference in the framing?! As with any artwork that needs caring for, photography requires more gentle care than any painting or sculpture - and the framing can certainly enhance the work. If you're spending good money on a photograph, you wouldn't want the finishes touches to deter the quality of your artwork. A little investment goes a long way:  great picture deserves to be well displayed.

As the medium is sensitive to all the elements and mostly sunlight  (you wouldn’t want your favorite photograph's colors begin to fade away after a while) do spend those extra dollars on high quality framing to keep the dust particles out but also it's a must to also ask for UV protected glass, so if your artwork can’t escape that sun light pouring in, you’ve got it covered.

4. Wallet friendly 

Photography price points have long been more friendly on your wallet than other mediums. That’s because they start at very accessible levels for emerging artists and with often a higher number of editions. Once the artist’s popularity increases, prices tend to catch up pretty quick! So if you like what you see by an emerging photographer - you got yourself a keeper!

Exit of Shirin & Farhad series / Babak Kazemi / Digital Photography

5. Beware of addiction

Familiar with the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words"? This rings true every time you look at a photograph that is calling you. Every photograph says a story and beyond that story is the viewer's imagination. Collecting photography can be an addictive endeavour as you're presented with something different every time you look at it, when you realise you own a moment in time captured by the artist, collecting moments suspended in time becomes a truly gratifying experience!

Avec Pacis / M'hmammed Kilito / Fine Art Print on Hahnemuhle

“I’m drawn to collecting photography

due to the medium’s ability to capture serendipitous moments.

Marveling at that split second of the right time

and right place caught by the artist is an honour

for me everyday.”

EMERGEAST Collector, 30, London


To browse through our full photography collection click here!