Rfotofolio is pleased to have Susan Spiritus as a guest contributor. Susan Spiritus has been sharing her love and knowledge of fine art photography through her gallery since 1976. Thank you Susan.
Why do people collect fine art photography?
I firmly believe and tell all of my clients, that the first rule to abide by when considering a purchase of a fine photograph is to love it. If you don’t love it, then why buy it? I would sincerely hope that people do not buy a (particular) photograph because they feel they should – or have been told to do so. Too often, unfortunately, people do buy photographs because the image has become a ‘classic’ or is an iconic image and feel that they should have this image in their collection, but that alone is an incorrect reason to make the purchase.
I also never suggest to my clients that they purchase a fine photograph because “it is or will be a good investment”- except for the fact that it will be a good investment in their personal happiness – as they enjoy it for years to come! None of us have a crystal ball and there is no way to know today, which images will serve the test of time, become that iconic image and or significantly increase in value. This is especially the case with those of us who work with contemporary living artists who are considered emerging or mid-career, as it often takes many years, sometimes decades for an artist’s reputation to develop. Of course as a dealer, I do know when a price increase will take effect with an artist’s work, but that too is not a solid reason to make the purchase.
In today’s art world, the latest ‘buzz’ word is curate. Clients like the fact that we have taken the time to curate, refine and present a collection. I do believe that this has an effect on what the client purchases, as they believe, and rightly so, that we have chosen what we feel are the strongest images to represent the artist’s body of work. We curate the exhibitions we present in our galleries, as well as, those individual works, which we present to our clients. Along with that refinement, I also find it commonplace to be asked the following questions before a final decision is reached: Which do I think is ‘the best’?
If considering more than one image, which combination of images works best together? Which should I buy? This is always a difficult place to be in – as I want the decision and choices to be theirs and not mine, but I do share my thoughts in an effort to assist. Clients feel more comfortable thinking that if they select those images, which you feel are important – that they will be making the right choice.
Another very basic premise ‘why we buy art’ is that everyone lives within four walls, which, at the outset are blank, and we each have an inner desire to fill our personal space with those things in life that give us pleasure and enjoyment. Of course, the art, which you select, is a very subjective decision and does not have to be fine art photography, but with it being one of the more affordable mediums to buy, I find that more people are entering the market because of its affordability and the huge variety.
Some have reported that their choice was made for the image and the image alone – no matter what the price! Others reported that they were ‘haunted’ by the image and ‘must have it’ and are willing to purchase it sight unseen. This is somewhat surprising and certainly a change from the way people purchased work years ago, however it is becoming increasingly more popular with the availability of gallery websites presenting the works of their artists. I have to think that the reputation of the gallery along with its longevity plays a role with this decision, making the client more comfortable to purchase. Although I have a very diverse clientele of private and corporate collectors, I find in general that they each do buy for the same reason – for their personal enjoyment and/or for their employees viewing pleasures. I have seen my corporate clients make the purchasing a ‘team effort’ and allow each employee to select their favorite image for their personal space! Susan Spiritus
Thank you Susan.
To learn more about the Susan Spiritus Gallery please visit her site,The Susan Spiritus Gallery .
To learn more about the artists whose work is featured in this article please click on their names.
Susan Spiritus is one of the most gifted curators and gallerists in the field today. I am honored to be represented by her, and I appreciate her wisdom, knowledge, and integrity.Fran Forman