Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peter Lik's "Phantom" Is The Most Expensive Photograph Ever (Plus A Lesson)

Phantom - Peter Lik
Photographer Peter Lik's monochrome image Phantom just sold at action for $6.5 million! That's a new record, beating out Andreas Gursky's Rhein II

The image is of Antelope Canyon in Arizona. It has been photographed many times over. In fact, a color image of this same location by Lik sold for over one million dollars.

Phantom is obviously a special photograph. You can tell just by looking at it. The textures, layers, and contrast work together well. But it is the almost human-like shape from the dust and light that make it stand out unique from the rest.

Interestingly, those photographers who pay close attention to histograms would never have captured this image. The highlights are obviously blown. The deepest shadows lack detail. Those who use histograms when capturing images would have seen that and cringed. Peter Lik broke the histogram "rule" and now is $6.5 million richer because of it. 

Photography rules are meant to be broken. Forget histograms. Forget "thirds" (as Lik did) or any other photography rule you've been told. Good things happens when those rules are ignored. That's because photography rules are meant to insure consistently good results, but rarely allow for great results.

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