5 Most Expensive Photographs Ever Sold

Almost all of us are familiar with the fact that paintings can fetch a pretty good amount of money when placed for sale.  But when it comes to photography, it has been a long debate whether it should be included in the list of fine arts or not. Of course, because of modern technology, smartphones and tablets have made anyone take the photographs in seconds these days. Therefore, our modern society may not pay enough attention to pictures as compared to a few years ago when photography was holding high demands and glory. But even if you value it or not, photography is still a form of art, and people nowadays are also making money by capturing some incredible pictures. In fact, we have a list of some digital photographs that have fetched the same amount of money as of paintings when placed at auction.

Let’s have a look at the most expensive photographs that have ever sold, and see what causes the buyers to pay for these shots with such massive money?

1.Phantom By Peter Lik (2014)

Price: $6.5 Million

This black and white photograph by Peter Lik was taken in the caves of Antelope Canyon is the most expensive photo ever sold. This incredible digital art is depicting a black and white cloud of dust floating like a phantom in a dark cave. Of course, you cannot own the image to catch your eye, but you will definitely want to purchase a framed piece for the wall of your living room. This is why it was purchased by the unknown buyer in 2014 with a price tag of 6.5 million US dollars.

Peter Lik’s ‘Phantom’ was sold for an unprecedented $6.5 million and is the most expensive photograph in history. (PRNewsFoto/LIK USA)

Image Source:

2.Rhein II by Andreas Gursky (1999)

Price: $4.3 Million

Andreas Gursky is a German photographer who is famous for his large-format architectural and landscape photographs. He is one of the most famous and successful photographers who sold many of his large-scale, colored pictures, with a staggering amount of more than one million dollars.

Rhein II is one of his phenomenal captures of Gursky having almost 12 feet of its width. He captured a sequence of six photographs displaying a portion of the Rhine River outside Dusseldorf. But the first picture in the order of six was Rhein II that was sold at the auction of Christie for $4.3 million in 2011. Andreas eliminated the surrounding buildings digitally from Rhein II and rendered it as a rare sight. This is why when you see the Rhine River yourself, you will not be able to get the same picture.

Image Source: International Photography Magazine

3.Untitled 96 by Cindy Sherman (1981)

Price: $3.9 Million

Cindy Sherman is an American photographer who is famous for her controversial self-portraits. Untitled 96 is a self-portrait of Cindy, which she took in 1981. For everything in the image, from makeup and hair, lighting, guide, modeling, and photography, Sherman was liable. This photograph that is portraying a teenager who is looking mysteriously adrift was sold for 3.9 million US dollars when it was auctioned off at Christie’s in New York, in 2011. Philippe Segalot, who is a private agent of some of the most prolific art collectors in the world, was the winning bidder of Untitled 96.  She did not name the image, giving the audience a chance to reflect on the past of this photograph.

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4.To Her Majesty by Gilbert & George (1973)

Price: $3.7 Million

The two British artists, Gilbert Prousch and George Passmoreare are famous for taking photographs that address the world on different topics. The pair of both firmly claims to be, ‘Two men but one Artist.’ These two are always seen together in any public appearance wearing the suits that match their sculpture series.

To Her Majesty is an incredible Sculpture series of Gilbert & George, which holds 37 individual pictures. They carved the images by using Gelatin Silver print. Both Gilbert & George clicked the photographs in 1973 but sold their most expensive piece of art in June 2008 with a price tag of 3.7 million US dollars at the auction of Sotheby’s in London.

Image Source: pinterest

5.Dead Troops Talk by Jeff Wall (1986)

Price: $3.6 Million

Jeff Wall is a Canadian artist who is famous for his general Cibachrome backlight images. At first sight, the photo of Jeff Wall looks like a real scene of battle, but it was captured in a studio with the actual actors. He then placed them in a wall outdoor, using digital technology. The wall was chosen to portray the gravely ambushing of a Russian group during the 1988 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This is the reason why it was titled as “Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patro Near Moquor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986)” The creative idea of a wall, that was shown in this illustration of Jeff, was the primary reasons why it was sold extremely expensive. He captured this image in 1986 but was sold in 2012 for 3.6 million US dollars at Christie’s auction in New York.

Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk, 1992

Image Source: Philip Pocock

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