The 21st century has changed the way we see photography. On one hand, mobile phones have made photography ubiquitous in its own way. And on the other, photography – especially fine art photography – has become a relatively new form in the world of art collection. People are increasingly looking at photographs, and the stories behind them, as a thoughtful addition to their spaces.
Taking our tips on how to start collecting art forward, we now bring to you some specific ideas on how to start collecting photography. But before we get into that, we also have some exciting news to share – Art&Found is now home to some fantastic photographs by upcoming and established photographers. You can check out our new collection here.
Train your eyes
The first step towards starting your photography collection is to train your eyes to look at photography as art. And seeing a variety of photography is the only way to refine your understanding. Some of other easy ways to learn more about this art form include reading photo-books, browsing online, talking to curators, gallerists, and photographers, and visiting exhibitions. Most importantly though, the main rule of photography collection like any other art is to only invest in the work that really speaks to you.
Learn about the medium
When photography transitioned into fine art, printing also became a valued craft. As you acquaint yourself with photography, try to understand the difference between different printing techniques too. To name a few, there are gelatin silver prints, chromogenic prints, albumen prints, dye-transfer prints, and digital prints. You will realize that a choice between matte or glossy will also make a huge difference in your artwork.
Ensure the longevity of your acquisition
Each printing technique involves specific processes and chemicals. You should also invest a significant amount of time in teaching yourself about the maintenance and upkeep of your artwork. In addition to the basic instructions like keeping your artwork away from sunlight and moisture, there are many chemical treatments that can help prolong the life of your work.
Examine the value of the photograph
The parameters of valuing photography are in many ways similar to that of any other form of art. You need to research about the history – who the work belonged to and how many hands it has changed. Provenance often ends up adding great value to a photograph. With age, exclusivity also matters a great deal. How rare is the photograph? Is it a part of an edition? How many prints were made of the photograph, and if the edition is sold out, where are other prints? Rarity is a crucial factor in deciding the value of a photograph. After all of that, remember to invest in a piece that is in good shape. You wouldn’t want to spend your hard-earned money on an artwork that’s on the verge of wilting away.
You should also invest a significant amount of time in teaching yourself about the maintenance and upkeep of your artwork.
Scout around to get your new prized possession
Of course, the most obvious choices are to buy from art galleries, auctions, art fairs, museums etc. However, like for other forms of art, online platforms have become a crucial and convenient way to procure photographs for your collection. Once you familiarize yourself with different prints, you will feel more confident to buy photographs online. You can look into a photographer’s website and social media channels to seek out the best way to buy from them online.
If you want to make the process easier, you could look at online platforms that curate photographs from both upcoming and established artists, and have already done the research and work that would help you. As with any other form of art, do figure out your payment options and proper receipts and documentations to bring home along with your new prized possession.
Hope these tips were helpful. As usual, we are always available at [email protected] to help you further.
The cover artwork is The Morning Train by Aashim Tyagi. Available on Art&Found, with prices starting at INR 2250.
Words by Art&Found Team