Monthly Archives: March 2015

Money, Photography and the Peter Lik Machine

Money, Photography and the Peter Lik Machine

There are few exceptions to the money and power equation. Photography as a commodified art is almost as old as the medium itself. The early practitioners such as Alexander Gardner plied their artistic wares to the sophisticated buyers of New York City during the Civil War. Even the banality of war, didn’t deter Gardner from mounting an exhibition of the carnage from the Antietam battle in 1862.

Some 150 years later a different type of economic parable.

“I’m the world’s most famous photographer, the most sought-after photographer, most rewarded photographer,” Peter Lik says. From the cavernous conference room of a 100,000 square foot Peter Lik USA, the photographer stakes his claim. In a shameless news release in December 2014, his company claimed that this self-promoting landscape “artist” had shattered all previous records with a $6.5 million sale of his image, “Phantom.”


“It’s an abomination,” Michael Hoppen, a leading British photography gallerist, says of Phantom, which shows a shaft of light entering a canyon. “I remember when he sold the picture in 2010, my jaw dropped. I thought, who could be persuaded to part with $1m for a piece of tat? You could have done it with an iPhone.”


Employing a CFO to validate the financial success of the money printing enterprise disguised as a photography studio, Peter Lik USA, has sold over $440 million worth of prints, in 15 galleries nationwide. He has no interests outside of photography, travels three months of every year to shoot the landscapes, which he prints and sells in limited edition sets. But the MBA lesson, is taught when the graduated sales commence. In a Ponzi-like scheme, the first of the 950 prints sell incrementally higher until prices reach $200,000 for the last of the edition. Artist’s proofs are limited to 45 prints of every photograph, and start at $10,000.


His primary buyers, not well-versed in the secondary art market, tend to lose on their investment over the long haul. The volume of images flooding the mass market, and his lack of cachet with resectable museum curators, only devalues the work. According to Artnet subscription service, which collects data on auction results, a Peter Lik photography retains only a fraction of it’s original sale price. When asked repetitively for comment Lik replied, “It’s like a Mercedes-Benz. You drive it off the lot and it loses half its value.”


His images, super-saturated compositions that are more the function of digital technology and expensive printing equipment than a soulful mission. Lik will liken himself to his Aussie fictional hero, Crocodile Dundee, but in the end his photography lacks the bite and passion of the noble art form.


All images copyright of Peter Lik USA.

Peter Lik links:

Alexander Gardner/Antietam 1862

Gregg Rosner

Spring 2014


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Eugene Atget

Eugene Atget
Joie de Paris


An only child, Eugune Atget was orphaned at an early age, and began a peripatetic wandering of life, first at sea and later as an actor. Studying at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris, he met Valerine Delafosse, his lifetime companion. After an unsuccessful dabble in painting, Atget purchased a box camera with a tripod in the late 1880’s. The 180 by 240 mm glass negative format, provided the canvas of his societal communication, which would define Atget’s life and that of his beloved Paris.


By 1891 Atget’s commercial enterprise expanded, selling his works to painters of the Impressionist age; landscapes, still life’s, and urban scenery, captured in a straight-forward almost documentary style. His pursuit of the image, was itself an art form. Relentless transformation of the ordinary, into a poetic realm of art established an essential link in photography’s nascent history. The soft focus Pictorialism of the Alfred Stiegliz camp at the turn of the 20th century, turns full circle into the straight narrative of Walker Evans, Paul Strand and Bernice Abbott, who acquired Atget’s estate at his death



Thematically, Atget pursued related images and categorically similar series of works, originating in districts and streets. Prostitutes, window displays, workers and boutiques all found a way into the 10,000 photographs he made of France’s popular cultural repositories. At the same time, in a parallel universe, Germany’s August Sandler, chronicles the working class ethos of his native Westerwald, near Colonge. The social realism of photography’s deus ex machina, the ghost in the machine, transforms the art in a narrative context of nominative information.


In a voluminous context, Atget’s photography denotes the spirituality of the early medium, into a philosophical matrix. The primary documents of his works convey a fidelity to factual quantification, yet his selective choices require the viewer to contemplate the metaphorical message. Would that sunlight on a Paris street have existed if not captured by Atget? Was he the only observer that morning?



In 1930, the posthumously edited, Atget, Photographe de Paris is published and becomes a cornerstone in the parthenon of modern photography’s iconic works.

All works copyright the estate of Eugene Atget.

Other noted photographers:

August Sander

Bernice Abbott

Paul Strand

Gregg Rosner

Spring 2015

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Nigel Barker Photography

So I recently got into America’s Next Top Model, and one of the photographers that was used often on the show was Nigel Barker. Barker was originally studying medicine, but his mother entered him into a televised modeling career on The Clothes Show. He was a finalist, which started his modeling career. He modeled for 10 years, and being versatile, transitioned from modeling to fashion photography. 1379609042-POR-06 Barker has also worked with Taylor Swift, and many other celebrities. I like his photography a lot, especially the shots from America’s Next Top Model. 1379610633-POR-52 Sophia was the winner of cycle (season) 18, British Invasion.



realitytv_antm_brit_invasion_ep_11_2 Laura was the runner up of cycle 18.

Nigel Barker’s website:

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Athlete now Photographer

A common theme in sports is that there will always be photographers. so now many former athletes are becoming photographers. This ranges from after they retire to while they are still preforming. The first person i will cover is Ken Griffey jr. Griffey can often be found taking photos at Arizona Wildcat football games. The team his son , Trey, plays for.downloaddownload (1)

Obviously the second photo is not real.

Another former baseball player who now does photography is Randy Johnson. Johnson takes pictures of a lot of different sports but have been found at racetracks numerous times taking photos

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Lastly another athlete who is actually still preforming his sport and taking photos is NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. In 2014 he was found a Chicago cub baseball games taking photos. His favorite (4)Kurt Busch Photographs Major League Baseball

The second photo is a picture Kurt actually took himself.

I’m sure there are many more athletes out there doing the same thing. And a lot of them are very good at it.

Photos from. (Kurt Busch) (Ken Griffey jr.)

Google images (Randy Johnson)

-Ryan Riddle

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JUCO Photography

JUCO is the collaboration of works between two great photographers: Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud. In 2002, they both met at The San Francisco Art Institute where Cloud received a MFA in photography and Galdo got her BFA in the same major. Their assignments in class were one of the first projects they both did together. Team JUCO is currently in Los Angeles, CA.

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Along with photographing fashion for commercial and editorial, JUCO also takes personal and advertising pictures as well. Plus, JUCO has an exceptional way of taking celebrity photographs from close-ups, to body shots, and changing the picture to black and white. They have many clients including Apple, Cheerios, Target, University of Phoenix, Microsoft, Nike, and VH1.

The one thing I love about JUCO’s photography is the settings. Even the different backgrounds they use  to blend colors together is so imaginative. Not only do the colors match their subject, but the scene itself is creative and even the patterns JUCO uses are appealing and fun.

For more information about JUCO, go to



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Jason Smith is a photographer who goes by the name Pixlecrisp. The majority of his photos are portraits. He is also a huge NASCAR fan and often takes photos while at the races. A lot of his racing pictures have gotten recognition from the drivers them self. Below are a couple examples.


As i also said Jason or Pixlecrisp also takes portraits. Often they are of different nascar drivers. But he also does jobs for other people which are also portraits. Here are some examples of those


As you can see he often will put an effect on his photos to make them more “Crisp.” I guess thats where he got his name. If you are interested in his work here are links to his website and instagram:

-Ryan Riddle

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Sam Shaw

Born in 1912, Sam Shaw began working as a photographer on film sets in the 1950s. He worked on A Streetcar Named Desire(1951) and photographed Marlon Brando in a ripped t-shirt, which came to symbolize the film. Around this time, Shaw met and photographed Marilyn Monroe, and the two formed a lasting friendship. Shaw captured numerous images of Monroe both on and off the set. He later produced Paris Blues (1961) as well as several films by John Cassavetes. Shaw died in 1999.

Because of the photographers like Sam Shaw, today, we are able to get to know behind the scenes of some of the most classic movies from 1950-60s. I always enjoed watching any kind of ‘making of’ series, whether it’s behind the scenes of a movie, TV show or music videos. Finding out about Shaw’s work was really eye opening for me. As we can see in his pictures, Shaw recognized the need of publicity over 65 years ago. He photographed famous movie stars and sets accordingly to the needs of promoting the movie he was shooting for. Some of his work, like an iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe in her white dress, is most probably known by everybody who knows anything about this movie star.

I hope this post encourages the readers to explore Shaw’s work further, and from now on will associate his name with some of the most photographs he’s ever taken.

Marilyn Monroe fotografiert am 01. September 1954 von Matthew Zimmermann

Marilyn Monroe – NYC Subway Grate, 1954


“The Proposal #1,” Marilyn Monroe – Central Park, New York, 1957


Lauren Bacall and Swifty Lazar – ‘The Seven Year Itch’ wrap party, California, 1954


Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn | Playing pool during a break from filming ¡Viva Zapata! 1951


Audrey Hepburn – Paris, France, 1957

– Paulina Szczepanska

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