World’s Most Expensive Photo

Believe it or not the photo which is shown below has fetched $US4.3 million ($A4.23million) at an auction at Christie’s in New York. The photo was taken by Andreas Gursky, and is digitally doctored as well. I don’t know but it looks like a very boring photo to me, but then I’m not a photographer, but I certainly wouldn’t even buy a print of this to hang anywhere in the house. I really don’t understand how someone could pay so much money for a photo, that isn’t even original. The mind boggles.


Fetched $US4.3 million … Andreas Gursky digitally doctored his image of the Rhine. Photo: AP/Christie’s/Andreas Gursky

There is an article about this in the Sydney Morning Herald if you would like to read about the world’s most expensive photo.

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38 Responses to World’s Most Expensive Photo

  1. I wouldn’t throw my money at that particular photograph either (or any photograph, for that matter). I love to take photographs, but I don’t consider myself a photographer. That said, no matter how you slice it, I don’t see ANYthing in that photograph worth anything remotely close to that kind of money. And you say it’s digitally doctored? I wonder what’s “better” or “enhanced” about it?

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Laurie,
      From the article in the paper it stated that:-
      “The artist removed all features in the photograph, including a building, dog walkers and cyclists”
      This photo doesn’t say anything to me at all, but obviously other people loved it.

  2. Texasjune says:

    The same as any artist at any level of talent, I have my preferences in assessing images (whether painted or photographed). When I saw this image (and visited the link you provided), I immediately saw a story behind the obvious. Don’t know what’s more interesting, art or the mind. If we assume it is the mind, then images are the storage media!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Texasjune,
      Yes one of his previous photos sold for over $3 million, but even if I could invest that type of money on famous peoples photos or paintings, personally I think I would have to like the item in some way, there would have to be something in the photo that “spoke” to me. This photo just doesn’t seem to do that for me at all.

  3. Rebekah says:

    I like the photo, but that kind of money is beyond my comprehension. Of course, people do whatever they want with their own money, but sometimes one would wish they could do something else … like donating to the hungry or something.

    Would it make me happier to have this on my wall?! I don’t think so. Would it make me happier to be able to show it off to my friends and acquaintances ..that I have a ‘Gursky’?! I doubt that too, and they’d have to know who he is in order to get impressed.

    No matter how you slice it…

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      Even if friends and acquaintances knew who the photographer was, how many would actually like the photo itself? I know a lot of investors just buy for the name and not the item, but for me I would still have to at least like the item in some way.
      Maybe that’s why I’m not mega rich. πŸ˜€

  4. Texasjune says:

    I’ve stared at this photo to find any perceived value. It’s a map, a treasure map of data. Wonder where the story could go from this point! Isn’t this fun! The older I get, the more intrigued I become to find the truth behind the obvious. Having learned that Obvious is the name of the most successful influential power on earth, drilling down behind it is a worthwhile trip!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Texasjune,
      I’m so glad you have found something in the photo that you can relate to πŸ™‚
      I’m afraid for me, I still cannot see anything. 😦

  5. barb19 says:

    So what makes this photo worth so much – the name of the photographer? I’ve never even heard of him so must not mix in the ‘right’ circles! I don’t like the photo, it does nothing for me and in fact, I find it boring; all I see are straight lines – perhaps they call that art!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi barb19,
      You see exactly what I see in the photo, as I said in my post, I find the photo really boring.
      I obviously don’t mix in the ‘right’ circles either. πŸ˜€

  6. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Well, I managed to read some of the blather about why it was considered so priceless, but then I got nauseated and had to stop reading. The entire gallery industry and what fuels it is extremely corrupt and ridiculous. It’s a lot of people with way too much money and not a lot else.

  7. dearrosie says:

    I dont understand why he removed all signs of the people, dogs, buildings… Its apparently very big so maybe one needs to see it before we can really understand what convinced the purchaser to pay so much for what looks like a bit of grass and a river to me.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi dearrosie,
      Oh yes the photo is huge. It’s 1.8 meters or 5.91 feet, by 3.6 meters or 11.81 feet. What you say may be right, but for myslef, I just see a larger version of the above, which to me just seems like a bit of a boring photo. I don’t know why he took everything out of the photo, but this is what he said in an interview:- (from the link in the post)
      Gursky has called Rhein II – one of an edition of six photographs – his favourite image, saying it was an “allegorical picture about the meaning of life and how things are”,

  8. Kymbo says:

    I am a photographer and I’ve got hundreds of pics in my portfolio MUCH better than this one. I really cant see what is so special about it… I guess it’s about the linear aspect to it….

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Kymbo,
      I don’t think there is anything special about it at all. What it means is over time this photographer has made a very good name for himself, and his photos have been going up in price. So to an investor it’s a really good buy, as they see this photo also bringing in more money than they paid for it.
      From the Sydney Morning Herald (link above)
      “It’s very simple, very graphic. In a funny way it makes you contemplate the very ordinary moments in your life,” McFarlane said about the 1999 photograph.

      “It’s a path, it’s a water course and it’s the sky. And each of these things are archetypes in the way that we see life. Great artists can take the very ordinary and make them extraordinary.”
      Take away the sales pitch, and you have a photo of the water and sky. πŸ˜€

  9. travelrat says:

    I like to think I am a photographer … and in the unlikely event I’d taken that picture, it would have gone straight into the bin. There’s just no sense of place, mood, atmosphere or anything.

    Surely, someone is having a laugh? I just cannot believe that someone would pay megabucks for this pretentious dross.

    (I’m congratulating myself on commenting without resorting to profanity! :D)

    BTW, did you hear Selma’s out of hospital? She had an accident; explains all in her blog!)

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      That’s very good of you to hold the profanity in check. πŸ™‚
      From what I have seen on your blog, you take very nice photos, and I’m with you, I would not of put this particular photo in my album.

      I am about to go through my RSS feeds very shortly. I’m happy to hear she is out of hospital, I will go to her blog first. Thank You for letting me know. πŸ™‚

  10. afrankangle says:

    I don’t get it either … besides, the image doesn’t do anything for me.

  11. El Guapo says:

    I was seized by the philosophical implications of the photo.
    Obviously, it is a juxtaposition of mans search for self in a deep and meaningless universe, left with only his joie de vivre and beef jerky to help him navigate the existential cataclysms that await us all from birth through our final, ultimate struggle with Sunday afternoon television.

    But yeah, it would have looked better if he left the dog in the pic.

  12. I actually like this photo, a lot. No, I don’t see the sense of paying $4million for it, but I do like the picture. I like the serenity, the smooth flow of lines, the geometry of it, reminiscent of the early abstract (Newman, Mondrian, Doesburg, Kandinsky, Matisse, Malevich, Frankenthaler) artists, and also of some of the modern artists. I like the serenity, the muted colours. I like the geometrical division, the way the soft clouds mirror the soft ripples in the water. I guess I’ve gone on too much. I do agree that the price was absurd, but as a photographer who hangs photos in art galleries and occasionally even sells something (but never for more than a couple hundred), I have to say that I wish I had done his beautiful flow of clean lines. Thanks for posting this – I would otherwise never have seen it. It inspires me to see my world with a new eye.

    Helen
    http://helen-of-marlowe.com/Helen_of_marlowe.html

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi helenofmarlowe,
      I am so glad you like the photo. It is amazing how we all see something different in a painting, photo, sculptures etc.this I feel is what makes a lot of art unique in it’s own way.

  13. Lafemmeroar says:

    The photo is intriguing. I’m going to get some scissors color paper and tape so I can do the same thing. I doubt my creation will get any buyers, but at least mine won’t be digitally altered. Sharing this on my Crazy Chicks FB page. I think the members will get a kick out of the price tag of the pic. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  14. souldipper says:

    Here’s what I figure, Mags. In Germany it is next to impossible to ever be anywhere without other people. That may be the “draw”. As simple as that.

  15. I like the fact that Man’s mark on the world appears, at first glance, to have been removed. All vertical things have gone, leaving only the horizontal lines which depict serenity. Of course, Man is still there in the path – very symbolic – the absence of trees, the clipped lawns. Life on a leash, nothing allowed to grow tall, just the water flowing by, taking its life-force elsewhere. It is serene because it is empty. Serenity is emptiness; the absence of emotion. This photograph is of an emotionally dead world, which sees Life passing it by, but feels nothing. No wonder so many people do not hear it “speaking” to them. I hear it, but it makes me sad. Just imagine it full-size: it’s sadness would be overwhelming.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Lady Marilyn,
      It’s good that you have found a meaning in the photo that you can relate to, but it just doesn’t do this form me at all. I love your description, on what the photo means to you.

  16. Red Nomad OZ says:

    All I can say is … that gives me hope! I’m sure some of my pix must be worth squillions if this is the benchmark!!!

  17. I think the photo is a calming effect:) I would not spend that kind of money for serenity. I would go to the Caymans. Thanks for sharing such a interesting article and picture. Who knew? πŸ™‚

  18. Selma says:

    When I saw the title of this post in my reader I was expecting something mind-blowing. It’s a nice shot but you’d hardly look at it twice if you saw it hanging in a gallery. It’s just incredible that it’s worth so much.

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