Ten Of The Most Expensive Photos Ever Sold

By : Kieron Curtis |


Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.42.46Wikimedia

Photography is probably the most accessible art forms out there, the world and his wife can create masterpieces just with a click on their mobile phone.

But not everyone is making millions from the subjects they capture, and based on the evidence, one good snap could set you up for life.

Check out some of the images below, they are ten of the most expensive photos ever sold.

Richard Prince’s Untitled

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.37.04Richard Prince/metmuseum.org

This image of a cowboy riding his horse through a desert scene sold for $1,248,000 (about £830,000) after being produced in 1989. Not bad considering you can’t even see his face.

Alfred Stieglitz’s Georgia O’Keeffe (Hands)

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.37.22Alfred Stieglitz/nga.gov

This image of Georgia O’Keeffe’s hands is actually considered a portait in its own right, capturing the tool of the artist’s work, and it turned a pretty penny too.

The portrait was just one in vast collection of photos of O’Keffe captured by Alfred Stieglitz, and it sold for $1,470,000 (about £980,000).

Edward Weston’s Nude

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.37.51Edward Weston/metmuseum.org

Just like the Mona Lisa there is an air of mystery over who the woman in this picture is. Many believe it could be Miriam Lerner, but the intrigue certainly helped the value. The photo sold for $1,609,000 (about £1,070,000).

Pretty risque for 1925.

Billy the Kid Tintype Portrait

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.38.07Wikimedia

This arguably has more historic value as a portrait than it does artistic, but that probably just added to the price.

William Koch grabbed it at auction for a cool $2,300,000 (about £1.5 million).

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #153

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.38.27Cindy Sherman/moma.org

You know how people normally say the eyes in a portrait follow you round? Well they don’t in this picture, and it adds a very eerie quality.

Cindy Sherman’s image sold for a very healthy $2,700,000 (about £1.8 million).

Edward Steichen’s The Pond—Moonlight

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.38.42Edward Steichen

This scene captured by Edward Steichen in 1904 looks like the perfect setting for a horror film, and the price tag was equally as scary.

The print of this landscape fetched a whopping $2,928,000 (about £1.95 million).

Jeff Wall’s Dead Troops Talk

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.39.00Jeff Wall/christies.com

War has inspired many works of art, in numerous forms, but this powerful photo of a Red Army patrol, recently ambushed near Moqor, Afghanistan, 1986, shows the devastating experience of being in the military.

The price realised by this harrowing image was $3,666,500 (about £2.44 million).

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.39.15Cindy Sherman/moma.org

This earlier part of Cindy Sherman’s untitled collection sold for a massive $3,890,500 (about £2.6 million).

No wonder she carried on to number #153, she was definietely onto a winning concept.

Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.39.32Andreas Gursky/tate.org.uk

This image is a reworking of a photo Andreas Gursky took of the Rhein outside Düsseldorf in 1996, and in removing some of the buildings from the background in 1999 he gave an insight into what the German landscape once was.

It may look somewhat at home as a computer screensaver, and at $4,338,500 (about £2.88 million) that is probably the only way any of us would see it in out homes.

Peter Lik’s Phantom

Screen Shot 2015 12 16 at 10.47.07Peter Lik/PRNewsFoto

As of December 2014, according to Time magazine, this image was sold to a private collector for $6.5 million (about £4.3 million), making it the most expensive photo ever sold.

It was taken in the Antelope Canyon, Arizona, and took the title from Gursky’s Rhein II.

Mind you, not everyone was quite as impressed. The Guardian was particularly scathing in their review. Saying “If this is the most valuable “fine art photograph” in history, God help fine art photography.” Ouch.

But still, if bad ‘fine art’ can be sold for that much then is it too late to get a camera onto my Christmas list?


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