10 Most Expensive Photographs ever Sold till date

10 Most Expensive Photos In The World

We are all familiar with the idea of photographs as a form of art. But, some photographers are pushing the boundaries in new and exciting ways. These artists use their talents to create pieces that are not only beautiful but also worth millions of dollars.

Over the years, arts have been a lucrative business for artists. Some photographs have sold for extremely high prices. But why pay a high amount of money for just a  photo?

Hold on, do you feel that excitement when you come across an artwork that impresses you so much? Definitely. For me, these guys who pay this amount of money just for photographs feel the same.

10 Most Expensive Photos

Their prices will amaze you. Here are the 10 most expensive photographs ever sold in the world.

Phantom by Peter Lik

Peter Lik: Phantom

    Price: $6,500,000.

    Date sold: December 2014.

    Seller/aucton: Privatre collector

An Australian photographer Peter Lik took a black and white photo in the Subterranean cavern in Arizona’s antelope canyon. The image was more of a ghostlike figure. “Phantom” broke the world record. When it sold for $6 million, it became the most expensive photograph ever sold. Wow!

People wondered why a person will buy a picture for such an amount. But Peter Lik in his interview said” the purpose of all photos is to capture the power of nature and convey it in a way that inspires someone to feel passionate” He believes his work made the collector fall in love with the beauty of nature.

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The buyer was most times represented by a Los Angeles lawyer, Joshua Rott. He decided to keep his identity hidden for reasons best known to him.

Rein (1999) by Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky: Rhein II (1999)

    Price: $4,338,500

    Date sold: November 8, 2011

    Seller/auction: Christie’s New York.

It is the second most expensive picture ever sold. Andreas Gursky expressed nature in fullness when he took a photo showing a river flowing across two green fields under an overcast sky. When it sold for $4,338,500, it still was the most expensive picture ever sold, not until phantom came.

The beauty of this image lies in the serenity therein and the calmness it brings to the soul.

Spiritual America(1981) by Richard prince

Richard Prince: Spiritual America (1983)

    Price: $3,973,000

    Date sold: May 12, 2014

    Seller/ auction: Christie’s New York.

This photograph is highly controversial due to the stories surrounding it. The image shows a 10year old Shield standing in front of a frame with her arms fully extended. The shot was initially by Gary Gross who took the photo with full permission from Shield’s mother.  She permitted him after she was paid $450.

Later on, Shield and the mother tried to suppress the image, but it was already late as Richard prince rephotographed it and took it to a display shown on the lower east side of Manhattan.

People admired the photo as it explained the level of decadence and pornography amongst adolescents. Though later sold, it wasn’t fully accepted until Shield replaced it in her 40s. She took another picture in the same position, this time in a bikini.

Untitlled #96(1981) by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman: Untitled #96 (1981)

    Price: $3,890,500

    Date sold: May 11, 2011

    Seller/auction: Christie’s New York.

Cindy, a talented feminist, and a photographer took a photo of a young girl on an orange blouse and short skirt, lost in thoughts with a strap of paper in her hands. Cindy is known for her untitled work. She does that to make the intuition of her work unknown and completely fictional.

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To her majesty(1973) by Gilbert & George

To Her Majesty, by Gilbert & George (1973)

    Price: $3,765,276

    Date sold: June 30, 2008

    Seller/ auction: Christie’s New London.

This picture is somehow political, with the message against socialism. The duo George and Gilbert are known for their provoking and controversial work. They do this to correct and change people especially those misusing power while on sit.

The image has 37 black and white pictures in five groves for a total dimension of 145* 350.

Dead troops talk( A vision after an ambush of a red army patrol, near Moqor Afganistan winter1986(1992) by Jeff wall

Jeff Wall: Dead Troops Talk (1992)

    Price: $3,666,500

    Date sold: May 8, 2012.

    Seller/ auction: Christie’s New York.

Jeff wall created this picture during the six years he spent in a temporary studio in Burnaby, British Columbia. He was always inspired by war arts. To him, the photograph was vision aftermath and an effect of hallucination because he never experienced the war. Even with all manipulations involved, the picture appears so real with a dimension of 229.2 by 417.2cm.

99 cent 11. Diptychon by Andreas Gurskey

Andreas Gursky: 99 Cent II, Diptych, 2001

    Price: $3,346,456

    Date sold: February 2007

    Seller/ auction: sotheby’s London auction.

When Andreas visited Los Angeles for the first time, he was inspired while looking into a store by the roadside as he drove down at night. He brought what he saw to life, and that was how the photo emerged.

The photograph was also called 99 Cent. It shows a mall with lots of products stocked for sale. He manipulated his colors to produce a colorful and amazing photograph. It Falls on the 7th most expensive photograph ever sold.

Chicago board of trade 111(1999-2009) by Andreas Gursky

Chicago Board of Trade III (1999-2000)

    Price: $3,298,755.

    Date sold: June 26, 2013.

     Seller/ auction: Sotheby’s London.

The image depicts the struggle for supremacy on the board. It shows so many people standing, others sitting or shouting or doing all kinds of things. It is large with a format of 18542 by 24194 cm and has about six versions, of which one of them is in the Los Angeles brand museum.

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Noire et Blanche (1926) by Man Ray

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    Price: $3,131,533.

    Date sold: November 8, 2017.

    Seller/ auction: Christie’s New York.

Noire et Blanche is a black and white picture showing a beautiful Kiki de Montparnasse with closed eyes facing an African mask in front of her table to make a doubling effect. Man Ray is so obsessed with African art that he shot the photo. He is also a surrealist and tries to show the beauty in the arts of all races.

Untitled ( cowboy) by Richard prince

Richard Prince: Untitled (cowboys)


    Price: $ 3,077,000

    Date sold: May 14, 2014

    Seller/ auction: sotheby’s New York.

Richard Prince was working in the tear sheet department in Time Inc. when he came across an ad showing a Marlboro man riding a horse in a blue sky. He got fascinated that he rephotographed it. After that, he cropped, edited, and blurred some parts of the picture. After it was sold for $3,077,000, the first photographer sued him for using a copyrighted image but he won the case.


What is the best form of art?

Art is robust, it could be drawing, painting, photography, or whatever. None is supreme over another. The best is that which you take delight in.

Are photographers artists?

Of course, they are. Photographers produce images that satisfy the spirit and causes man to wonder. Though other artists have refused to accept them fully as artists, they are artists. It takes talent and hardwork to get a person satisfied with art and they do.

Bottom line:

Most photographs are inspirational. Apart from been lucrative, they are memories that we like to keep or sometimes don’t. That your photo doesn’t sell at a high price doesn’t mean it’s not quality, though we’ve seen some really expensive ones.

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