Photography is one of the most accessible art forms to collect. It is also the fastest growing part of the art market - mainly because it is still in its infancy. But the photography market has exploded in the past decade with the number of galleries growing exponentially, auction houses holding regular photography sales, and art fairs dedicated to photography.
People looking to find and champion emerging photographers can find prints on a limited budget.
The starting point is always that you should start by buying because you like it. If it increases in value then that is a bonus.
But as I always say to clients buying art for the first time, it is like buying a car, once you drive it out the showroom the value immediately drops. It is only over a matter of many years that art can then increase in value - based on a whole host of factors and luck for the artist. Nobody has the magic wand to predict which artists will become valuable. But who knows you may have invested in the new Robert Mapplethorpe?!
BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is a programme designed specifically to promote queer and gay photography. This market is still very new and underrepresented with very few galleries and auction houses promoting or selling it. This is reflected in our prices. Generally all the artworks available are affordable and under $1,000. The more expensive ones are because they are by artists who already have a market with regular exhibitions, or because of their size. As it is important to remember that to print each artwork can cost the artist between $100 and $300 depending on the size.
Everything we show and sell on BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! has been curated by me so I have given the artists and artworks my seal of approval.
By publishing our BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! magazines and books, and holding regular exhibitions around the world, we are helping to create a market for queer and gay photography.
Buy to enjoy - whilst knowing you are supporting queer and gay photographers.
Some tips to help you.
Photographers are printed in editions. The artist and the gallery set the editions and prices. Generally the smaller the edition the more expensive they will be - as there are less available. Ten to twenty years ago it was considered normal to have editions of 50. Now even 25 is considered large, and the average edition size is between 3 and 12 plus the Artist Proofs. Sometimes pricing is staggered so as the edition sells the more expensive the artworks become.
Some photographs are signed and others come with Certificates of Authenticity (COA). This often depends on the paper type they are printed on, which may make it impossible to sign. Or because often an artwork will be dry-mounted for framing which means anything written on the back will not be visible.
Every artwork should either be signed or come with a COA. It is important that you keep the COA safe. My advice is to photocopy the original and file a copy with your paperwork and fix the original to the back of the framed artwork - that way it can never get lost.
It is important to frame all artworks properly to avoid damage. Poor framing can result in damage to the print over time. It is always best to frame with UV or museum glass - depending on your budget.
Curator, BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! and co-founder THE LITTLE BLACK GALLERY
From BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! exhibition at WorkingDog Gallery, Australia in 2023