We have all seen them, the photographers lining up next to one another in search of that “once in a lifetime photo.” Many of them simply take photos on assignment whilst others do so more for enjoyment than to earn a luxury lifestyle…

But what if you manage to take that once in a lifetime photo – a photo that collectors are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of rands or even millions for?? Is it even possible and do we find such photos?

I have come across a fascinating look at the most expensive photos and would like to share this with recognition to Wikipedia.

List of the highest prices paid for photographs (in US dollars unless otherwise stated).

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #96 (1981), $3,890,500, May 2011, Christie’s New York. [Featured above]

Richard Prince, “Untitled (Cowboy)” (c.2001-2002), $3,401,000, Sotheby’s New York, November 14, 2007

Untitled Cowboy

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), $3,346,456, February 2007, Sotheby’s London auction. A second print of 99 Cent II Diptychon sold for $2.48 million in November 2006 at a New York gallery, and a third print sold for $2.25 million at Sotheby’s in May 2006.

Edward Steichen, The Pond-Moonlight (1904), $2,928,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.

The Pond Moonlight

Unknown photographer, Billy the Kid (1879–80), tintype portrait, $2,300,000, June 2011, Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction.

Billy the Kid

Dmitry Medvedev, Kremlin of Tobolsk (2009), $1,750,000, January 2010, Christmas Yarmarka, Saint Petersburg.

Edward Weston, Nude (1925), $1,609,000, April 2008, Sotheby’s New York auction.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe (Hands) (1919), $1,470,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe Nude (1919), $1,360,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.

Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy) (1989),[9] $1,248,000, November 2005, Christie’s New York auction.

Richard Avedon, Dovima with elephants (1955), $1,151,976, November 2010, Christie’s Paris auction.

Edward Weston, Nautilus (1927), $1,082,500, April 2010, Sotheby’s New York auction.

Peter Lik, One (2010), $1,000,000, December 2010, Anonymous Collector

Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, 113.Athènes, T[emple] de J[upiter] olympien pris de l’est (1842) $922,488, 2003, auction.

Gustave Le Gray, The Great Wave, Sete (1857)[18] $838,000, 1999.

Eugène Atget, Joueur d’Orgue, (1898–1899), $686,500, April 2010, Christie’s New York auction.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol (1987)[20] $643,200, 2006.

Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1948) $609,600, Sotheby’s New York auction, 2006.

Conclusion and Advice

The good news for photographers is that there is always a chance that they might capture this “once in a lifetime photo” – no matter how remote the chance might be, it still remains possible! Your photo also does not have to be worth hundreds of thousands of rands to be worthy of protection against loss or damage.

Artinsure has for a number of years successfully insured photographs in collections, museums, exhibitions and gallery stock. If you have captured magical moments of special value do not neglect to protect those photos!

Happy Snapping!!

Also view:

Can we and should we insure photos?

Smile – but only if your camera and equipment are insured!!

Zoom in on Camera Insurance even if you care for your equipment!!