Follow the Money

March 1, 2018

Lecture by Certified Photography Appraiser

– Jennifer L Stoots, AAA –

Except for, perhaps, the Paleolithic paintings of the Kondoa, Sulawesi and Lascaux caves, art has always been a commodity.  Photography, in particular, was a pursuit of entrepreneurial inventors and businessmen long before the process of fixing an image had even been resolved. Once the Daguerreotype entered the public realm, a new industry was born and with it an array of possibilities relating to science, business, politics, advertising and art.

Why is this important? At a fundamental level, the basics of the art business are no different than any other time in history; the tools, mediums and tastes have changed, but the art market has patterns as well as cycles. The art world can be deliberately cloistered and the market mystifying for many. The aim of this lecture will be to demystify and illuminate based on Stoots’s experience working at galleries, art fairs and as an art & photography appraiser. Many of the issues and topics addressed are relevant to many fine art photographers and artists who work in the medium today.

This presentation will briefly review:

  • The evolution of the Western art market.
  • The motivations of invention and the birth of the photo industry.
  • The “modern medium” and its acceptance as an art form.
  • Snowballing of the photography market in the 1970s and 1980s, when there was a flourish of photography galleries in the US and major auction houses dedicated departments exclusively to photo.
  • Top selling photographers and photographs—auction records and what’s interesting about the markets where those top tier prices were achieved.
  • The current landscape of the fine art photography market, including a discussion of art fairs and online platforms.

Lecture Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018

Lecture Time: 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Venue: Harvey Milk Photo Center (50 Scott Street, SF)

Suggested Donation* at the door: $10.00 – All proceeds to the HMPC Gallery Lighting Project

Who is Jennifer Stoots?

  • Certified by the Appraisers Association of America (Photography)
  • IRS and IVS compliant appraisals (USPAP credential valid thru January 2019)
  • 16 years experience appraising Contemporary art, Northwest art & Photography
  • 24 years gallery and museum experience
  • M.S., History of Art & Design from Pratt Institute
  • Photography historian and lecturer

I have been working professionally in the art world for 24 years and appraising photography and contemporary art for 16 years. I continue to relish my work as an appraiser for reason that I’m often learning about artists who never made it into the annals of history, see concurrent patterns among creators from diverse areas, and meet the nicest people — collectors, curators, colleagues and artists — who enjoy imagery as much as I do.

Connoisseurship is also exceedingly important to me and my experience gives me advantages beyond mere research and methodology:  Originally trained as a photographer and painter, the skills and materials of an artist help me understand the nature of the mediums I’m looking at and how they were made and age; my education as an art historian has provided me with the history and cultural context of photographers and artists as well as a vocabulary for discussing the artwork; working at galleries and art fairs has given me a keen sense of what’s happening in the marketplace, artistic trends, and what collectors are sensitive to and interested in.  In short, my skills as a researcher, artist, historian, and saleswoman all enhance my proficiency as an appraiser.

*All Donations are tax deductible.