If there is one thing Peter Lik is good at, it is getting his PR machine to make sure he is always in the headlines. A short time ago he received all sorts of press when he apparently set a world record for selling one of his images for an astounding 6.5 Million Dollars (USD). Lots of controversies surrounded this sale to an unidentified art collector.
Peter Lik is back in the news today with an article in the New York Times by Peter Segal, Peter Lik’s Recipe For Success: Sell Prints. Print Money. This article should cause all sorts of discussion on the forums and across the Internet. Especially when he has as he says in the article he has no interest in Ansel Adams the most famous American landscape photographer, and I quote . . .
“Just a nice shot of Yosemite,” Mr. Lik said, summing up Adams’s work. “Right place at the right time.”
The New York time article exposes a lot about Peter, his success and his operation. It’s a worthwhile read for sure. Plus there are a number of behind the scenes images of his production facility.
A number of years ago when working for Phase One I had the chance to work with Peter and see his facility as he adapted the Phase One medium format camera system into his workflow, going digital from film shooting. I remember sitting in his office, and there was a mini refrigerator filled with Red Bull. He seems to live on the stuff as he is very high energy and seems to be everywhere moving at a running pace. Maybe it is all the Red Bull he consumes but he is involved with all aspects of the operation. He is a colorful guy with a lot of four letter adjectives laced in his sentences. At that time, the team from Phase One had to work with him to help him get the kind of images he wanted from Phase One files. That in itself was an adventure.
His Las Vegas operation is very large and very impressive. He has a work area the size of a basketball court where technicians are assembling and framing prints. There are warehouses close by filled with frames and other materials needed to make these prints.
There is no question he has the game of selling prints down to a science. A few months ago I took my wife into one of his studios and we went through one of his sales sessions with the consultant at the gallery. The sales consultant hung a photo on the wall of a dimly lit room. As he began his pitch, he slowly turned up the light on the image and the print came to life with a well rehearsed sales presentation. I could see if I was someone not involved in photography I could have easily been swayed by the excellent presentation.
What was interesting was the sales consultant insisted the image was captured on film. I knew otherwise though as it was one of the images we worked on a few years ago to salvage due to a poor exposure. Luckily the dynamic range of a Phase One file allowed recovery of the image to be quite sellable. Of course, I said something but the consultant insisted it was made on film. Curious why film should play such a large part in his sales presentation when everyone even Peter is shooting digital these days.
His pricing scheme is also very well thought out and mentioned in the New York Times article.
The last time I heard Peter moved from shooting Phase One to using Nikon D800’s. He still apparently prints his images using Durst Lambda Printers on Fuji Crystal Archive paper. In the sales presentation, it was pointed out to us that this paper has microscopic crystals in it to make prints sparkle under a light. Once again, it just proves how smooth the sales presentation is.
Like him or not, Peter has certainly made a business success out of selling postcard image landscapes. Crank up the contrast and bump the saturation up and make the image as colorful as possible. However, he does it he does sell prints.
He should serve as a model for those of us selling landscape photography in both what to do and what not to so. He has proven to us that our photography could sell like his too if we wanted. He has figured it out – good or bad.
Enjoy the NYT article. It will make you think. And, if you haven’t visited a Peter Lik Gallery, you owe it to yourself to visit one and if you do, make sure you see a sales presentation.
Peter Lik’s High Sale now is in second place behind Artist Jeff Frost Inches Past Recently Set World Record for Most Expensive Photograph Ever Sold
Get Peter’s Hawaii House before someone else does.
Buyer Beware: Art News
An Article from December: Sydney Times Herald
Visit Peter Lik’s Website
Discussions have already begun on the Luminous-Landscape forum . . .