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In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. Alfred Stieglitz

History of Fine Art Photography

Photography is the youngest of all collectable art forms. Most scholars cite 1839 as the date of the first photograph. This date is claimed by both the Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot (who produced the first paper positives) and the Frenchman Louis Daguerre. Each announced their discoveries within days of each other. The first serious auction of photography, however, only took place in 1974 in New York. The most important turning point would not take place until 1984 when the Getty Museum (negotiated in great secrecy) purchased eighteen of the most important collections of privately held fine art photography for an astonishing $25 million. Today, that sort of price tag would be a bargain for comparable, highly valued and collectable fine art photographic work. The good news for collectors is that in spite of some record setting prices, fine art photography is relatively accessible and affordable. It is also very much the art form of preference for collectors and curators with photography exhibitions at the forefront of gallery and museum programming.




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