Francis Hodgson gives an update on the photography market in the pages of the Financial Times that tries to raise the interesting question of whether photography does better as its own category or as part of the Contemporary art market. It’s a choice between solid, if less spectacular, sales and volatility.
Photography in contemporary art is for the present doing notably less well than classic photography, even though the average prices it reaches are substantially higher. What to conclude? There is a strong sense that photography is now seen as absolutely central to contemporary art. But the corollary is that photography represents a distinguished culture all of its own; many artists are sold in both specialist photographic auctions and in general contemporary art sales.
Hodgson never really provides and answer to his own riddle. But he does add this interesting observation:
One stylistic trend in Paris confirmed the impression above about photographs reappearing in other media: the interest in work that bears clear marks of the artist’s dissatisfaction with simple photographic process. The embroidered photographs (more interesting than that sounds) of Maurizio Anzeri did well for the Photographer’s Gallery of London, which may be bucking up its print-dealing ideas. Michael Hoppen showed collaged “maps” by Sohei Nishino that reproduce the fractured bitty experience of the city. For others, the interference is not on the photographic surface, but on the process: Georges Rousse’s “straight” records of far-from-straight intervenetions in buildings come to mind. Across a wide spectrum, there seems to be something going on here. I think it’s that we all have a cameras on our phones, now. To be a photographer implies doing more (intellectually) than simply grabbing a view.
Snap It Up (Financial Times)