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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Golden rules to start a photo collection

1.Start to listen

All collectors claim it: it starts with love at first sight. "My first acquisition was a photograph of Matthew Monteith, bought at Paris Photo fifteen years ago. She just illustrated, in a magazine, the fair and galleries to discover. I fell in love with it, "says Jérôme Kohler, founder of the Philanthropic Initiative philanthropic consulting firm. The pleasure must be the # 1 engine, especially the first time. One must not let oneself be carried away by a fashion or a tendency, refrain from thinking about the decorative criterion. Because a photograph is immutable, while a couch or a wallpaper is not. You have to choose the one that speaks to you, let yourself be seduced.

2. Placement or act of madness?

"I do not think at all in terms of investment or value appreciation of a work. I have been lucky to see some photographers whose prints I have acquired more and more recognized, like Edward Burtynsky, Mathieu Pernot, Lewis Baltz. When I am caught in a picture, I give myself the time to see it again several times and, of course, to check if her price is within my means ", continues Jérôme Kohler. Sometimes the favorites can be good investments. But only the future will tell. Always take the time to think before acting out.

Read also: Photographers face the beauty of the disaster

3. Do not hesitate to negotiate

Whatever the means of the collector, his first acquisition will always seem crazy. The act of purchase is not a planned act; whether it is 800 € or 10 000 €, it will appear unreasonable anyway. However, we must set some rules: check, if it is an edition, the print number is correct. Do not hesitate to negotiate. "I automatically ask for a reduction of 5 or 10%, sometimes it goes; if it is not the case, I look for a compromise, the framing and the delivery offered, there is always an arrangement to find ", testifies Coralie Salem-Kohler, director of creation. You can request payment facilities, with a schedule to discuss with the gallery. Trading is part of the game.

4. Be initiated by gallery owners

The gallerist is a merchant: certainly, he wants to sell, but he is above all a passionate who likes to discover his talents. "You have to share and interact with gallery owners; they are in the best position to talk about their artists. They are key players in the introduction to the collection, "explains Cécile Schall, director and founder of the fair Fotofever. And the fairs are an ideal place to establish a dialogue, because, here, most visitors are anonymous. The various questions will not be judged but, on the contrary, taken seriously, with real listening.

5. The alternative: the photo book

More affordable, sometimes rare, or even historical, the photo book is another form of expression for the photographer, conceived and conceived as a work in its own right. Always check the condition and favor the signed works. Valérie de Marotte, ex-gallerist, says: "My first photo book is a Leonard Freed bought in Perpignan during the photojournalism festival "Visa pour l'image", in 1990, for a few dozen euros. Today we have more than 500, the most valuable of which is a book about photography before it was born in 1760. Article from Beaux Arts

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