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January 22, 2006


Todd W.

Excellent article. Was wondering if you would dive into the issue of photographic multiples to explain this, and you did.

Do you think that the relatively low prices in photography also contribute to stability? In other arts, the sky is the limit as far as price is concerned, so volatility in boom times is more pronounced. We've only seen a single photography go for over $1 million at auction. Most photo prices are in the 4- and 5-figure range, making price predictions more manageable.

Small quibble, but I must point out that Profs Moses and Mei teach at NYU Stern, my alma mater, not Columbia.

Erik Schneider

Yes I do think that the lower price contributes to photography's market stability. It tends to bring more buyers to the market. Also thanks for pointing out my error..its been fixed.


Enjoyed your thoughts on photography and prices. Agreed with many of your comments but would add more "food for thought". Early 90's until now is not my favorite time period to use to delineate any typical market behavior. Remember this time period includes the 2000-2003 stock market crash from tech bubble and 9/11. Even if you look at the returns of the S&P 500 during that time period, the average annual returns are not typical for the historic mean. My supposition about photography appreciation out pacing other art mediums has more to do with the overall price points relative to paintings and drawings. When the stock market started its climb back up from the sink hole in 2003 the art market also started to pick-up. And by 2005, the market was on it's third year of higher returns. Prices were higher for everything. Collectors began to reach their ceiling-in terms total price willing to pay for one work of art. Many of those collectors moved to photography which was getting much press along with everything else. It's the price differential, the gap, that is narrowing between photography and unique works of art that has created the photography appreciation. It will probably continue as prices continue upward-- but in a downturn? Not sure. This new wave of collectors, how deep are their pockets? When there is a downturn who will sell and who will be able to wait and not need the money. If the photography collectors for the most part, will need the money than the supply/demand rule will take prices lower in a downturn. Just "food for thought".

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