There are so many ways we could spend money on our families, what makes professional photography worthy of investing your hard earned dollars?
There are some cash outlays that are obviously an expense within our daily lives – school uniforms, a visit to the hair salon or general household outgoings. All of these hold little value for impending profit or returns as a whole. The purchase of the family home is, quite evidently, a large investment in the future of your family and, hopefully, in many years of family happiness. Often, we feel a sense of contentedness about investments, but feel some trepidation at the thought of shelling out money on expenses in general.
So which is photography? Clearly, photography, particularly good photography, costs money, and some would be quick to classify it as an expense. After all, there are so many ways we could spend money on our families, what makes photography worthy of investing hard earned dollars?
With cameras so readily available in our day to day lives, (on smart phones and tablets for example), many consider themselves to be amateur photographers. Most of their images are never developed, but sent to family and friends digitally. That doesn’t, however, detract from the beauty of a professional image which requires a greater investment in time or money or both.
A great photographer can add more than good lighting – they can bring context to an image, evoking all five senses, not just visual. They can induce a reminder of what we were at a particular instant in time. For many, a photograph is a captured millisecond; a cross section of our lives at a given moment; a recorded image preserved for decades to come. Indeed for some it represents a future opportunity for nostalgic recollection.
Certainly, a family may wish to seize a moment of their young children’s lives, sustaining that moment in the coming years as they grow and flourish. But similarly, one can envisage these same children as fully grown adults, pouring over the old photographs that signified important points in their family’s lives. Perhaps a wedding album of parents or grandparents, or maybe professionally shot family portraits. So for some photography is not only an investment in preserving images and capturing moments, but in the promise too, of a time when we will pause and reflect on days gone by. While so many photographs are viewed digitally and never in physical albums, the truly special images created by a great photographer, are an investment worthy of being developed and printed.
Or, perhaps the answer lies in the attributes of the photographer in question. A unique and personal style captured within an image is surely worthy of investment. The ability to see an image as if through a ‘different lens’, and create a picture unique in its perspective is a gift worth celebrating and the resulting photographs should be considered not as an expense, but as an investment.
There are those that consider photography to be an art form, and great art is always a sound investment. For example, The Rhein III, (Andreas Gursky), fetched $4.3 million when it was sold in 2011. It’s difficult to argue that this was purely an expense. The value of such a piece will appreciate over time as good investments do. So while it could be considered a significant cost, in the eye of the purchaser it was certainly an expense worthy of investment.
Like any good investment, you need to spend money on photography for it to pay dividends. Great photography, unique photography – the type that is much a piece of art as it is a captured moment in time – will pay dividends for decades to come.