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25 April 2019
- Amazing Donations

Drawing With Light - Photography: A Fine Art Investment

There has been a marked shift in the perception of photography as an art form in the past few years leading to its emergence as one of the hottest new investments for those who not only want financial returns but also their assets to fulfil and express their passions. Photography until now has had an ambivalent status in the art collecting world where scarcity is the ultimate prized commodity. 2017 saw photography commanding 10% of the global art market equating to approximately five billion pounds and this figure is rising every year.*

The above black and white print entitled 'Phantom' by the Australian photographer Peter Lik is reputed to be the most expensive photograph to date selling to a private un-named collector for $6.5 million in 2014. Click here for the top 24 of the worlds most expensive photos.


Whether a collector's interest is in early photographs or Daguerreotypes (click here for a brief history of the photography) or digital prints of the top photographers of today there are plenty of opportunities to buy prints in the growing numbers of Photographica auctions and sales and specialist photography dealers.


FARA Charity Shops has been working closely with Austin Farahar, Head of Photographica at Chiswisk Auctions to value the many amazing cameras and lenses donated to our shops as well as the truly amazing photographic prints kindly given to us by the general public which are now being sold through the FARA Fine Art initiative.


Here we are featuring two prints by renowned British photographers Gerry Cranham and Simon Marsden which will be auctioned on 16th May 2019 at Chiswick Auctions Photgraphica sale.

"I spent more than 50 years photographing the biggest names in sport but I never encountered anyone like Muhammad Ali" wrote Gerry Cranham in the article for The Times on 6th June 2016 titled 'Ali gave me my greatest pictures'.


This signed iconic shot of the, then named, Cassius Clay was donated to our FARA shop in Fulham. It was taken on the 30th May 1963 at the Territorial Drill Hall in Shepherd's Bush, London. Ali predicted that he would knock out Henry Cooper in the 5th round at Wembley, a promise he duly kept. Click for more information about this photograph.

Gerry Cranham (born 1929) is widely regarded as one of the greatest sports photographers ever. He explains here how he got into photography at the age of 28.


"I had to give up athletics because i injured my foot, so i became a coach and bought a camera to take pictures of the guys I was training, and it all started from there. It was trail and error as i wasn't trained as a photographer. I just made a dark room in the coal cellar, it was primitive, but i picked it up..."

This eerie landscape was donated to our FARA shop in Chatham Road, SW11. The original print taken in Denbighshire, Wales is by Simon Marsden (1948 - 2012) who is best known for his surrealist images of old ruins and graveyards, evocative of the legends and tales associated with his landscape subjects. His images are made all the more surreal by his use of black and white infra red photographic film. Marsden was a master of darkroom techniques; each print requiring intricate and demanding processing with average exposure times of 12 -15 minutes.

Marsden's disdain for digital advances in photography was inevitable due to his commitment to the medium pioneered by Daguerre. For Marsden the camera and darkroom exposed the ability to see the invisible spirit and matter captured together in ethereal image.

In November 2018 FARA sold an original print by Patrick Litchfield of Prince Charles and Lady Diana on their wedding day on 29th July 1981.


If you are interested in finding out more about the history of photography why not visit the new Photography Centre at the V&A which opened in October 2018.


If you have any original photographic prints, cameras or lenses you wish to donate do not hesitate to contact jemmab@faracharity.org




* According to figures published in The Art Market 2018 report by UBS and Art Basel - 2107 global art sales of $63.7 billion


Blog written by - Jemma Banks - FARA Fine Art Team

FARA Charity Shops supporting the work of FARA Charity transforming the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Romania. FARA Enterprises Limited is wholly owned by the FARA Foundation. Registered Charity No. 1139349