Sharing a Back Story May Help Sell Your Photographs

I recently read a short piece by art marketing author, Barney Davey, entitled “Selling Art with a Back Story.” He started with the mention of a book entitled The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art. He shares a couple of interesting stories about how a “back story” – either real or enhanced by surrounding events – may add value to an item of art for sale at auction.

Tuckahoe River Railroad Bridge in Fall

While I doubt any of my photography will become so well-known that it will one day sell at auction, I did find the article interesting and relevant. Relevant because I know that a buyer’s interest may be increased if there is a raison d’etre for the existence of a particular piece. Imagine, if you would, having a conversation with someone looking at my photo of an old railroad bridge. They night say, “Interesting bridge.” I could respond with a polite, “Thank you.” And say no more…or…I could begin telling the story of the demise of the local railway spur…the need for highway expansion requiring the removal of another bridge over the right of way…but the removal of the Bridge over the Tuckahoe River would have been cost prohibitive. I could also describe how it appears to “the eye” in different seasons of the year and why I chose to represent it as I did.

I did post a reply to the article on the Fine Art America site (that referred me to Davey’s article, with…

Interestingly coincidental! I say that because just last weekend I was looking through some blog posts on FAA and noted that one photographer wrote a post about each of her works. I sent myself an email to remind me to begin writing a synopsis of each piece I upload. After reading your narrative I realize it can be quite important to do so – and may help elevate my photographs above those of competing views of similar subjects. For example I have an “older” panorama photograph of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Instead of simply telling what, where, when and how I will add in the fact that it was chosen by the City to use in a Sister Cities conference in Europe and was featured in a book on Urban Geography published by the Harvard University Press. That image has been sold a few times in the past – hopefully it will see additional buyers.

Baltimore Inner Harbor Panorama Picture

This may be the first “result” of my own  reminder. LOL.

2 Replies to “Sharing a Back Story May Help Sell Your Photographs”

  1. Great panorama of Baltimore’s skyline. As an ex-“baltimoron” I think it is impressive! Ran an ad agency a block from the Washington Monument and think the Inner Harbor area is a great attraction.

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