Phantom

Peter Lik’s “Phantom” hit the headlines as it was recently sold for $6.5 million. This apparently is a world record of some sort. The news immediately attracted some less than admiring commentary.

Jonathan Jones from Guardian:

This record-setting picture typifies everything that goes wrong when photographers think they are artists. It is derivative, sentimental in its studied romanticism, and consequently in very poor taste. It looks like a posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room.

I agree, but I don’t feel any kind of sentimental feeling from this photo. And then, since I know nothing of the buyer, this image might actually end up in pretentious hotel room. I wouldn’t be really surprised since pictures in hotel rooms are always something quite like this.

Jones also says:

Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions.

I also think photography is not an art. It’s something else, sure. But I would disagree with Jones here; photography does not equal technology. That’s exactly what Phantom shows us; it takes more than technology or photographic technique to create a successful image. Truly great photograph is more than sum of it’s parts. There is something intangible in it, always.

Even if Phantom would have a subject matter that’s actually not a cliche but something original, it would still be boring shot if it was taken the same way. You need a feeling.

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