Many retailers claim to offer fine art photography for sale, but very few actually do. It is fairly easy to make customers believe what they are buying is fine art. Good presentation, beautiful photography and a decent material quality will do it most of the times. The key here, and what most people miss, is the volume of prints available of one single image.
Traditional art (such as paintings and sculptures) almost always comes in limited edition fashion, so by definition, it qualifies as fine art. Photography, back in the day, qualified as well, as there was a limit to the amount of copies you could make out of a single plate before it started fading and losing definition and quality.
The issue arose when technology advances developed film to the point you could make infinite copies of a single photograph, which is even more true in today's digital era.
With these readily available means today, the ball is solely on the photographer's court. Some professionals prefer to sell volume at reduced prices, some prefer to focus on quality and a limited number of copies.
Don't get me wrong, both approaches are legit and have their purpose. What MUST be made clear is a volume approach IS NOT fine art. Ever. It may be the most beautiful image ever taken, printed on the latest available media, but it has no value whatsoever for collectors. It just has a cost, which is what you paid for it, making it a liability, not an asset. Unlimited number of copies make photographic prints not more valuable than a 25-cent postcard at a stand on a touristy beach or a $10 poster.
On the other side of the spectrum is the quality approach. Limited editions are defined as a series of one photograph, with a predefined number of copies, produced using the same technique, resulting in prints of identical size, format and material. No additional copies of the same photograph can ever be produced once the number of copies in the Limited Edition series is exhausted.
All this should be backed up with a Certificate of Authenticity, detailing at the very least the photograph title and its copy number within that limited edition. Globop Photography LLC also includes technical data about the photo and print production process as well as the photographer's signature and the company's seal.
Limited editions create actual value by themselves, just by the scarcity of copies available. When you acquire a copy of a limited edition, you are getting an asset that can only go up in value. Once a limited edition series is exhausted, the sold copies value in secondary markets can skyrocket, as it is impossible to find additional copies anywhere. No supply plus demand equals very high prices.
Buying limited edition fine art photography, is not really buying. It is investing on an asset that has real value as there is an embedded worth in every art piece.
Just remember this next time you are offered fake fine art prints and decide for yourself if you want to make a purchase or an investment.
Click here to find out more about our limited edition fine art photography
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