ON COLLECTING PHOTOGRAPHY
by Ellen-K Willas
Photography can make us see the world in a different way. A photograph can enlighten or evoke an emotion. It can provoke or soothe. By surrounding yourself with photographs that says something about what you are interested in, your children and family, co-workers and clients, either consciously or subconsciously are drawn into your way of seeing the world.
Whether you are interested in an artwork for your living room, beginning a collection or augmenting an existing one, WILLAS contemporary can source and recommend photographs based on your specifications. With expertise ranging from emerging artists to established masters, we specialize in photography which is bold yet technically accomplished. Our expertise enables the acquisition of works with value and longevity in addition to resonating with the individual collector.
Defining the scope of a collection
As with most areas in life, it’s always good to have a plan. There is an endless amount of works out there and you should have some sort of idea of the direction you want your collection to take. A collection can be based on people with shut eyes, flying objects, freaks, animals, the general human condition, turned heads, abstract figures, architecture, a time period, celebrities, vintage, fashion or sport. By establishing a direction for your collection it will keep you reined in a little.
Does it hit you in the gut?
Love at first sight can be short lived. You should look for a photograph with 'wallpower' that will challenge you and question aspects of life or how we live it, or in some way evoke your emotions. A photograph that you love just because of its aesthetic beauty will quickly fade and become part of your wallpaper. That being said, the photograph does not have to be provocative.
Craftsmanship is essential!
A photograph is not a photograph. There are gelatine silver prints, albumen prints, chromogenic prints, dye-transfer prints and digital prints. Understanding medium is important and can help guide you in understanding what criteria your photograph should meet. The technical aspects of photography might be overwhelming at first, but is essential knowledge. The quality of glass and even the frame is also of major importance if you want to keep your artwork for future generations.
Photographs, like all art, come in a range of sizes. Pay attention to dimensions and try to visit the exhibition so you can see the photograph hanging on the wall.
Most artists have limited editions of their work. A motif might be available in different sizes. The Artist Proof is the artists own print, in some cases also available for sale.
Iconic works will never go out of style
There is a reason why a monograph is graced with a specific cover image. There is a reason why timeless, iconic works always do well in auctions. If you are in doubt - and the price is within reason - choose the cover.
The value of a good photograph can give you in terms of quality of life can not be measured in money. That said, my clear advice is to collect art by artists with an international market. You might develop a different taste, or see things differently 10 years from now and wouldn't it be nice if you could find a new owner for your piece so you can spend the money on something more appropriate with your current preferences.
Take care of your investment!
Your investment should be treated with care. Make sure your photograph is framed responsibly with archival materials and UV protective glass. Keep your art away from direct sunlight and humid environments.
We are in close contact with the artists we promote, and we are here to answer your questions and assist you in building your collection. If you would like to learn more about the market in general, a particular photographer or even a specific photograph, stop by, call us or email us. WILLAS contemporary can assist with shipping, insurance, framing and installation of works through its collaboration with the most reliable and experienced service providers in the industry.
If you let us in on your preferences we will be able to source works that will be of interest for you.