While writing my article on this year’s eclipse, I got to thinking about the real value of any given photograph. To start this conversation, I decided to define what kinds of photographs there are from my perspective.
- Snapshots: Images that you take on your vacation, or in my case day to day images I take of the things around me. I use the camera as a tool to see things around me that I am missing. I take my camera wherever I go and take photos and load them on my computer later and zoom way in so I can see them. Most of these kind of images I don’t keep. They document my day and with rare exception I delete them once a week or so. I personally don’t consider them valuable.
- Purposeful shots: Any image that I think for a significant amount of time about. If I want to do a landscape, I am going to bring my tripod and consider lighting and composition. I may do research for the location. The “right time right place” luck has a lot to do with this. Going for a sunset and having it be a spectacular one can lead to a keeper or better yet a shot that ends up in your portfolio. The value of this kind of shot varies because the guy standing right next to you could take the same shot as you. This kind of shot doesn’t require specific equipment other than a basic camera, tripod and lens setup.
- Rare shots: This is a bit of a broad category for me. I throw anything that requires specific knowledge or equipment to get in this section. A wide-angle lens at a car show, a macro lens to take insect photos, a lightning trigger to get storm images or a super-telephoto lens to get photos of wildlife. I personally place a higher value on this kind of image, especially if you are talking about using a studio strobe to get good quality low key images of a subject. Maybe you are paying a model for her or his time – or shooting a cool luxury car that not everyone would have access to.
- One-of-a-kind image: If you get an image of that wreck or a celebrity doing something that people want to know about. This is a really right time really right place example, with few or no photographers around you. This seems like it would be the most value potential photograph.
So, what is the value of a photograph? I think it depends on what you use them for…
I don’t sell my images, I prefer to show my work and speak to people so I can educate them at every chance I get about vision loss and how it affect people. That doesn’t mean I don’t know what my work is worth (especially to me). I personally prefer to donate my work to worthwhile causes that will make a difference in someone’s life. In the last two years I have donated significant pieces to ALS Art 4 the cure VSA/Access Gallery a fantastic gallery here in Denver that features work by the disabled and A toast to Wichita’s finest which is a charity that raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. So the answer to the question what is the value of my photographs? For me, If the work I am doing is helping someone then it is priceless to me. I would prefer to donate my work to a worthy cause any day than sell a print at an art and wine festival for 20 dollars. Both ways the art will end up on someone’s wall but with a donation I feel like it was worth so much more.
If you know of a charity that could benefit from a print donation please feel free to contact me to discuss at: firstname.lastname@example.org I only donate to verified charitable organizations.
Make your art make a difference!