The Allure of the Photographic Print: An essay by Zach Ritter

Fernand Fonssagrives (1910-2003) Saut et Bateau (jumping with boats), Lisa Fonssagrives, south of France 1937, first published photo of a two piece bikini

“a photographic print is a wonderfully rich and nuanced visual object”

Collecting photographs, like most other rare and fine art objects, brings with it a range of experiences and benefits. There is of course the pleasure to be taken in the object itself, in this case the photographic print. From the texture and unique materiality of the paper, to the subtleties of tone and value that can be registered in the printing process, a photographic print is a wonderfully rich and nuanced visual object. Collecting is a way of intensifying one’s interest and fascination with the image and the milieu in which it was created. There is also the unpredictable and exciting experience of putting different photographs in conversation with one another via the act of collecting, something which is unique to each collector.

Melvin Sokolsky, Bubble on the Seine, Paris, Harper’s Bazaar, 1963

As uncertainty plagues the international markets with an ever-greater frequency these days, a sound and durable investment can seem a hard thing to come by. The art market, and more specifically the market for photographic prints, has been a resilient one. The appetite for vintage and modern photography as a collecting category, continues to grow since it is a more accessible – and often more affordable – medium, compared to paintings and sculpture. It’s much easier – and less expensive – to own a masterwork by a well-known photographer, vs. a painting (or even a drawing) by a painter of equivalent stature.



Zach Ritter
Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
New York, NY 10022