There’s a story, true or false no one knows for sure, about the famous artist Pablo Picasso, in which a woman, having recognised him sitting at a table in a small cafe, approached him to ask if he would sketch something on a piece of paper, for her. He obliged and handed the sketch back to her, saying “That will cost you $10,000.” She was astounded. “But it barely took you five minutes to complete the sketch”, she said. “Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?” To which Picasso retorted, “The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but it took me 30 years, to learn how to do it.”
Although it isn’t unique to Photographers, I have plenty of my own real life examples of what this short, humorous video conveys, concerning some people’s attitudes, regarding the Vendor / Customer relationship. Of course, I say humorous with some reservation. Rather than cracking a smile, when an artist is reduced to little more than a commodity, it can be very disheartening.
Regardless of how long it may take to learn how to master the technical skills required to translate one’s creativity into a chosen medium, the final expression is one-of-a-kind. Unlike a pair of shoes that you can price shop, any creative endeavour, whether it be in the literary, performing or visual arts (yes I’m aware that creativity can also take form elsewhere, but this wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive list), is unique to that artist at that point in time, and there is no price comparison, there is only a perceived value. What’s it worth to you?
I’ve yet to ask anyone, If escaping from a house on fire, and after first ensuring that all occupants were safely out, what is the one thing that you would risk returning to save to which the reply isn’t the photo albums. Priceless I guess.