Category Archives: In The News 2013 – 2014

The Most Expensive Photo Ever Sold

The recent sale [sold privately] of the most expensive photo in the world has been called many things, some less polite than others; like “it’s nothing more than a marketing stunt” and “completely absurd”. It could have been an absurd marketing stunt by the photographer, Peter Lik, and if it was then congratulations to him for his marketing skills. If it wasn’t than congratulations to him for his good fortune. The photo titled “Phantom” has also been called a few positive things such as “powerful”; wait that was Lik himself who said that one. But there was someone out there who thought the image was something more than powerful if he or she was willing to spend millions of dollars to own it. [Oh; by the way, the buyer remains anonymous.] screenshotlik

I’ve seen reports that this photo, which is a black and white conversion of his color image titled “Ghost”, was sold for $7.8 million. I’ve also seen reports that it was sold for $6.5 million. Either way that’s an expensive image to hang on your wall!


“…Some art experts haven’t been able to figure out how, then, his artwork has sold for so much. They’re pretty, no doubt, in the way that your desktop background and screensaver are pretty. But with millions of dollars at stake, does prettiness cut it? “These prices are very high and certainly, in terms of other successful photographic artists, seem somewhat bizarre,” the Herald quoted art consultant David Hulme saying. Commenting on one of Lik’s pieces that went for $1 million, he added: “I don’t fancy the owner’s chances of recouping anywhere near what he paid for this one.”…”


This sale along with others by Lik has really stirred up the controversy and maybe that’s what he was trying to do. Maybe he really wasn’t trying to rock the art world on their collective ears, maybe he was just trying to get his name out there on an even grander scale. I don’t know. I do know that I prefer this image in its black and white state better than its original color; but worth millions? I don’t really think so; but then again I’m not an art collector so what do I know.

I’ve added a few links for you to read more and decide for yourself. Is this guy really the greatest master photographer in both Australia and America? Or is he simply a master marketer a kin to a used car salesman hustling his photographs. – The Most Expensive Photo in the World, or the Best Marketing Stunt?

The Washington Post – This Peter Lik photograph reportedly just went for a world record $6.5 million

Fstoppers – This is What a 6.5 Million Dollar Photograph Looks Like

ABC.Net – Peter Lik, Australian-born fine art photographer, sells his work Phantom for world record $7.8 million


Is Amazon Going To Sue Me?

Is Amazon going to sue me for shooting subjects on a white background? I don’t think so.

“Amazon does not have aAmazonSetUp1
patent to shoot on a
background; rather, the
patent is for the particular
set up in their studio that
involves certain types of lenses,
cameras and lighting,”
~Doug Manchee

Yes; Amazon did win the patent that they have been working towards for a few years now but it’s not simply for shooting on a white background. It’s actually for their particular set up including the positioning of the lights and subject, the types of lenses and cameras used, and [if I understand correctly] even the exact distance between all these items.

I don’t think that Amazon’s patent of a technique that has been around for years and years and years… OK decades… is really going to effect photographers as much as first thought.  After all they didn’t actually invent the technique. Remember their patent is more for their set up. The rest of us simply need to use a different shutter speed than they do, set our lights just a bit further away, grab a different focal length, move the camera slightly – and viola! we’ve invented our own set up for this technique.

I don’t know for sure how this will eventually effect the rest of us but I do agree with Chris Reistroffer who said…

“I hope this doesn’t open up the opportunity for other companies to trademark other common photography methods,”  “If another company puts a patent on a black border or a ’50s style photo against a certain background, it could eventually affect creativity. It’s a dangerous slope.”

and I got a giggle from the folks over at Tech Dirt when they said they would tag this as a #BigFail for the USPTO or #HugeKudos for Amazon’s IP attorneys. Yep; someone over at Amazon was thinking!

If I have it right this is the line buried in those forms that eventually allowed Amazon to get the patent:   “…Claim 3. The studio arrangement of claim 2, wherein the first distance is about 4.5–5.5 times a height of the top surface of the elevated platform….” .  Apparently no one   had written an article with that exact distance ratio or file a patent application about it before so the patent was allowed.

Like I said I don’t know for sure how this will effect the rest of us and I really don’t think Amazon will sue us for shooting on a white background. Or even if they could actually sue.  But if you are a very enthusiastic kind of person and have done your research on the topic and are still worried that the USPTO might have over stepped on this one there is a petition at you could sign. [no I haven’t]

Studio arrangement patent number US 8676045 B1 can be seen here if you’d like to check it out sometime.

In the meantime I shall continue to shoot with my white background in my own way and not worry too terrible much about it. I hope that’s a safe thing to do!

Tech Dirt
ARS Technica