Fotograf Magazine

Why Collect Photography?

And why not? In addition to many advantages, which include a broad range of diverse visual approaches, it is also interesting in its reproducibility and the resulting lower price compared to paintings or objects. An important consequence is that the artist you choose is supported in believing that it makes sense to continue. That all that doubting and hesitating and searching for different paths makes sense. Buying a work is more than an investment, although the argumentation around the art market often revolves around investments – it is a gesture of placing one’s trust in the creative process and its results. It is a significant form of support for developing, living culture. In the Czech environment, it is the last link in a chain that can help strengthen the general level of visual culture, and not only in the Czech Republic but also in the international context.

The absence of a market with high quality with artistic photography in the Czech Republic does not help the international position of our many talented artists. This was part of the reason why we decided, on the twentieth anniversary of Fotograf Magazine, to open the floodgates of questions and answers on this topic. We are here to ask, look for diverse answers, and propose new directions. The time is ripe to collect photography.


For those who are still unsure or insufficiently acquainted with the specificity of the medium, a question comes up immediately: How to find one’s footing in this field? What will be of most help will be understanding basic terminology and the related aspects that influence many factors – often including the price.

EDITIONS – Most photographs intended for sale should be published in editions, i.e. a numeric row that defines precisely how many copies were made, in what format, and what number the given photograph has within the edition, all of which influences the price.

CERTIFICATION – This word describes a method, usually taking the form of a paper document, through which the author, with their signature, confirms the authenticity of the photograph on the basis of detailed information about the edition, format, production method, etc.

ADJUSTMENT – This term applies to the hanging and fixing of a blow-up, including the passepartout and frame (or other forms of fixing the work). It’s always good not to neglect the adjustment: choose museum glass that eliminates UV rays, for instance. Adequate adjustment has the potential to accentuate the qualities of the work in accordance with the interior design.

TECHNIQUES – The spectrum of photographic techniques by which copies are made is broad, from historical technologies such as cyanotype and daguerreotype, through classical prints, handmade in a darkroom (the older prints are usually known as “vintage prints”), or now-rare cibachromes, whose production has ceased, to modern techniques such as lambda prints, archival inkjet, etc.

MAINTENANCE – Photographs demand much the same care and maintenance as other museum artifacts, where the most frequent issues include limiting direct sunlight, moisture, and dust. Photographs that have not yet been adjusted should be adequately stored in materials intended for archiving – these avoid acidity and therefore do not threaten the life expectancy of the photograph.

ARTIST –The artist’s piece often mediates a particular form of non-verbal dialogue. It often serves to develop further communication about what the artist is fascinated by, but it can also go the other way. Artists can sometimes feel ambivalent about their works being sold, which is why it is good to be in touch with experts, consultants, curators, etc., all of whom can help make the sale a reality.

CONSULTANT – With this term, we mean an expert who has years of experience with the art world, knows the nuances of the scene and relationships within it, has the capacity to predict the potential of selected artists, and, finally, is able to communicate with all participants.

COLECTOR – A crucial figure in the sale of a work. They need not have enormous means at their disposal, but they should take an interest in the work and have a general idea of the budget they want to make available. A collector can purchase postcards in second-hand bookshops at ten crowns a piece, or they can spend lavishly at auctions, but over time, they should recognize the direction in which their collection is headed and what makes it unique. 

CURIOSITY – This expression is often missing from glossaries such as this one, yet it is an absolutely indelible and crucial component of the entire segment of the art market and art as such. We recommend maintaining curiosity on all sides, along with invitations to communicate. If there is something you don’t know, ask. There are no stupid questions. Without them, and especially without curiosity, nothing like art would exist.

Markéta Kinterová