30 September 2009

The value of art?

I want to start a discussion here. I suspect that it will go in all sorts of directions, but hell, why not? A few years ago, a friend who paints said that her stuff is art, but photography is not. I first got offended, then I thought she may have a point. For me painting is very difficult. I know I could produce something abstract, but I could not sit down or stand in front of an easel and paint the crushing waves... But have then I realized that she would have neither the equipment, nor the knowledge of how to take a picture of lightning striking the ocean off the North Shore.

Fast forward, to now. Unlike then, a lot of people do not have the disposable income to buy art. Whether it is the painting art, or the photographing art.

In photography, as people's tastes change, it may be better for someone to print a limited amount of posters and sell them at shows or events for $20-$40 a piece, rather than try to sell a framed photo of a favorite location in the hundreds of dollars... Most artists, photographers, sculptors, painters, do not produce on spec. We just create, and keep it as stock, with the hope that one day this piece will sell. My question is how much and when.

Take, for instance, the image at the top of this post. For some it may evoke the serenity of the ocean, or the fun memories of a vacation in the Saronic Gulf of Greece. Others may think "yes, nice, but I can take this photo, so it's not worth any money" without thinking of the costs and pre- and post-processing that was involved in generating this image. So what is art worth? What is photography worth? what is a sculpture worth?

I would like to invite all visitors to express their thoughts. Only request is that the discussion remains civil. This blog is moderated. That is, insults of any sort or unsolicited critique will be edited out. Let the games begin.

-- Andreas
www.andreasthanos.com -- Commercial Photography
www.marbleheadphoto.com -- Portrait and Event Photography


  1. I'm a hand papermaker. I was talking to my aunt a while back, and mentioned some of my art was in a show. She said, "I didn't know you painted!" And I told her I didn't, that this was one of my handmade papercast bowls. "Oh, I knew you made paper bowls!"

    What she didn't have to add was that she didn't consider it art. I do find that to be a common belief, that what we do is craft, not art. I don't tend to think that way myself, but it is a common belief out there.

  2. Hi Donna. Your aunt is funny, and your art is great. At least, in your case, you do not have people with no experience or talent who also think that they can do what you do.

    But my question to you then, is: who determines which pieces of your art are "worthy" of exhibiting or how much they are worth? The gallery owner who thinks that s/he can make 50% of the sale, or the gallery owner who can appreciate the thought that went into creating the bowls?

    -- A.