Photo appraisals

Photo appraisals

In the early 1970’s I became, almost overnight, a famous photographer in the Netherlands. I was exposed to a lot of superficial praise. I was young but not naive. I wanted to know how good I really was .With that purpose in mind, I started to collect photographs, to compare my work with the art of other photographers.

Building a collection was very easy in those days. Worldwide, only a handful of collectors and dealers were interested in photographs. In the Netherlands there were three; I was one of them. In these first years I acquired thousands of images. Most of these left my house again; the most interesting ones stayed. After I had acquired an idea about my position in the history of photography, I found myself in possession of a rather large photo collection and had learnt to enjoy the process of collecting which I consequently proceeded to do, passionately, at home and, increasingly, abroad. This intense process led to building a still larger collection, with a wider scope and a broader base, which was acquired by the Dutch government in 1985.The 19th century photographs are now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The 20th century part is in the Stedelijk Museum in the same city. After that I built, over the years, another extensive collection, more personal in its scope. This collection was, together with my large book collection, acquired by the Rijksmuseum in 2006.

In the process of accumulating knowledge in the field of photography, I have also become a certified appraiser of photography in 2000. Since the 1970’s I was already advising friends on the do’s and don’ts of collecting photography. I have also curated many exhibitions for various museums, have written regularly on photography and organized the first photography auctions in the Netherlands.

It was a logical, doing all of these things basically for the love of it, to develop them in a professional way. As a certified appraiser, my work is as adventurous, yet very different from my work as a photographer, but just as satisfying.

The different types of evaluations I do include insurance appraisals, which protect art collectors against possible conflicts in case of damage , loss or theft; damage appraisals, which are evaluations which take into consideration many factor, including the original replacement value, the possibility and cost of restoration and the value of an object after restoration. Sometimes I act more as a mediator between a willing buyer and a willing seller, to assess a fair market value. Auction consultation can include previewing sales at auction houses in person, sales research and, possibly, purchasing at auctions.

I feel especially useful and cost effective about my work as an adviser for collectors and museums. The art market today is a vast minefield where photographs are sold as branded luxury goods, very often hyped through media storms and sophisticated marketing. Within my experience of forty years in the international market for photography, I have seen reputations and hypes seen come and go. I am in a perfect position to separate nonsense from the real. I have seen everything and I have had every possible photograph in my hands. Time and time again I was able to clarify the price – quality relation of a certain object. I am particularly good in advising people as to what they should not do.

Fee structure

Euro 250 for any workhour of my time. In some cases, I have to charge half that amount for traveling time. Special rates for special activities, such as advise and bidding at auctions and in some cases, research.