The Value of a Photograph

Not long ago a friend completed a triathalon in record time. A photographer working for the event made a terrific image of him as he crossed the finish line. My friend thought the photo was so good that he wanted to order a copy, but he was shocked at the $25.00 price tag for an 8 x 10 print. He asked me if I thought it was worth it and if there was any way to download a good copy of the image for free. Without hesitation I told him to buy the photo, and I hope he did.

I explained that first of all, stealing a screen shot of the photo to use on his Facebook page is not only immoral, it’s illegal. The photo is the property of the photographer, and taking it in any form without permission or payment is no different from stealing merchandise from a retailer. Second, he should consider the value of the photograph to him and to the photographer. The photographer got up really early and worked his ass off with great skill, experience, and expensive equipment to capture all the effort and emotion of my friend’s accomplishing one of the crowning achievements of his life. Is that memory not worth $25.00? Without thinking, my friend spends far more than that on a few slices of pizza and some beer.

$25.00 is a bargain for the photo, and I hope my friend sees the great value in it. It is the only tangible record of that moment in his life, and it will probably die in the photographer’s archive if he doesn’t save it for himself and for history.

(My photo above is from the finish line of the Pennsylvania Environment Ride on June 26, 2011.)

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