Believe it or not, but a new record for the most expensive photograph ever has been set by landscape photographer Peter Lik’s $6.5 million (about Rs 40 crore) snap titled the ‘Phantom’.
'Phantom' is a black-and-white shot of Arizona's Antelope Canyon, a piercing beam of sunlight appearing like a ghostly figure in a cavernous space.
Previously, the record was held by German visual artist Andreas Gursky, for his Rhein II (1999), a digitally-manipulated colour photo of the river Rhine which fetched $4.3 million (nearly Rs 27 crore) at Christie's in 2011. Earlier that year, Cindy Sherman's Untitled #96 (1981), a self-portrait of the artist lying on the floor in an orange outfit, sold for a then-record-setting $3.89 million (Rs 24 crore),
However, the record-sale has triggered a new debate. Is photography really an art or just technology.
In a scathing analysis, Jonathan Jones of the Guardian newspaper said: ‘The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an “arty” special effect. We’ve all got that option in our photography software.’
‘In our world where money talks, the absurd inflated price that has been paid by some fool for this “fine art photograph” will be hailed as proof that photography has arrived as art, it added.’
We leave this forum open for discussion.