What is Photography’s place within the Art Market?

photography's place within the art market

Photographer in the street

The Art Market is composed of many different mediums. The most recent of which, is photography, which has had some trouble establishing itself as a spotlight in the global art sector.  In 2015, photography represented a mere 2% of the global art market. Still however, photography has always represented an important role in society’s representation and understanding of global events. It is a way to remember, to explain, and to illustrate some of the beauties of everyday life. Nowadays, we wouldn’t picture our world without photographs as memories of the experiences we have lived.

The representation of reality through photographs is as important for everyday art, as it is for the art market.

Here is an infographic which sums up the key numbers of Photography in the Art Market:

Photography in the Art Market

Infographic summing up the key numbers of the Photography within the Art Market

Photography is a tricky medium because, nowadays, with smartphones and accessible numeric cameras, anyone can take a photograph quickly and easily at any moment. With Social Media, everyone also has methods of sharing their work. But does taking photographs make everyone a photographer? No, of course not! “What makes art interesting is the interpretation, the bias, the skills and the composition”, according to Ming Thein, Commercial Photographer, writer and photographic instructor.

sunset tree

Sunset photograph

The Photography Market has two main domains that represent in total 83.4% of the purchases: Modern Photography and Contemporary Photography.

Furthermore, there has always been the issue of photo reproduction, as it is complicated to make two same artworks in any other medium, but quite easy to make several copies of the same photograph. When purchasing artwork, buyers and collectors look for unique pieces of art, and often it is not the case with Photography. A photograph simply cannot be as exclusive as a painting, and therefore, the value and price fall.

purple flowers

Flower photograph

The photographer needs to convey a message, share emotions and give an interpretation of the world surrounding him/her. A good photographer can take a good picture with an iPhone and yet a non-photographer can not take a good picture with an expert camera.

“Photography is a medium that is more accessible to novice buyers and budding collectors. This is not just in terms of pricing or availability, but on another larger level […] We can all connect to it in some way.”

Florence BourgeoisDirector of Paris Photo
sunset with birds

Birds photograph

Moreover, with digital Photography, taking a photograph file on your computer from a website or a blog, and making it yours is simple (you can’t use it as you wish because of laws and regulations but you still have the image on your computer/phone).

In Conclusion, we can say the photography market is a small fragment of the overall global Art Market, however photography events, exhibitions, and purchases are constantly spreading all over the world. Photography is a complex thing to evaluate in Art, because it is not easy to define a clear boundary between an everyday photograph and a piece of art.

If you like photographs, visit uart.com, the world map of Art! You can see or share Art collections and explore the best artworks on the locations that interest you.