American fine-art photographer Peter Lik has sold one of his images for $6.5m, to an unnamed private buyer who prefers not to be identified for ‘security and privacy reasons’. It is believed to be the 'most expensive photograph' in history.

Photo credit: PR Newswire

The image, called ‘Phantom’, is a b&w version of ‘Ghost’, a photo Lik captured at Antelope Canyon in Arizona.

The same buyer snapped up two more of Lik’s photos: ‘Illusion’ for $2.4m; and ‘Eternal Moods’ for $1.1m.

Commenting on ‘the most expensive photograph’ in history, Lik said: ‘The purpose of all my photos is to capture the power of nature and convey it in a way that inspires someone to feel passionate and connected to the image.’

Explaining how he takes an artistic approach to landscape work, Lik added: ‘Certain textures and contours found in nature lend themselves beautifully to black & white photography.

‘The intensity of contrasting light and dark spaces was surprising, but make for some of the most powerful images I’ve ever created.’

The buyer, a long-time collector of Lik’s work, said he was ‘delighted to add these one-of-a-kind photographs to his impressive collection’.

Born in Australia, Lik emigrated to the US in 1984 where he discovered a passion for panoramic photography.

Among his projects is Spirit of America, a landscape exploration of the 50 US states where he encountered ‘perilous deserts, ethereal mountain peaks, lush fields and glimmering cityscapes’.

Lik holds fellowships of the Royal Photographic Society and the British Institute of Professional Photographers.

He became a US citizen in 2013 and his work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

• What do you think about this photograph and its enormous price tag?

  • chris

    I think this is a marketing hoax! I don’t think it has sold for $6.5 million except in the photographers head (or more realistically, in the head of his marketing staff).

    The “buyer” is just like the photo – an “illusion” a Phantom.

    Or perhaps the “buyer” offered 6.5 million (Iraqi) Dinars and Mr. Lik misheard Dollars. It can happen!

  • entoman

    If you consider me to be a “tree hugger”, thank you, I consider that a great compliment!

  • John Swan

    A photo, like any other piece of art, is worth as much as somebody is willing to pay for it – in this case $6.5m. It doesn’t mean the buyer could sell it on for the same value or more, but certainly to the buyer it was worth $6.5m, otherwise he would not have paid it.

  • John Swan

    Hear hear.

  • John Swan

    You could apply that to any luxury item. Are you suggesting that we should all just make do with essentials and should not buy any luxury items without first having a deep look into our conscience? Typical tree hugger talk. Like Linda mentioned already, this guy may already be contributing more than his fair share to charitable projects.

    I say fair play for the guy to pay that price, and well done to the photographer for accepting it. Art is a very powerful thing and hence is extremely difficult to value. Every piece of art will have a different value to different people, but of course the reality is that ownership will more often than not go to the highest bidder.

  • BG350

    You can tell it’s art because it’s in black and white.

  • Linda Clark

    Yes, OK. Fair enough. I agree with you about what sports figures get paid. Enough said. Thank-you for answering my post. Have a great day.

  • Doug C.

    But i just copied and pasted it for free?

  • entoman

    No not sour grapes at all Linda, I’m very happy with my standard of living and wish well to anyone else who becomes successful as a result of dedication and hard work. You are right however to point out that the guy who bought it might donate to charity without seeking publicity, and if that’s true I apologise to him for any offence caused. Realistically though, no photo is worth that amount of money, and I feel it’s wrong that by spending so much money the value of art photos becomes so over-inflated. I think the same about football players. Not sour grapes, just seeking a sensible and ethical balance o.k?

  • Linda Clark

    Good for the person that bought these beautiful works of art. How do you know how this person spends his money that is not making headlines? He may donate to many different charities just without the headlines. For you “entoman” to say where anyone should or should not spend their money, first is none of your business and second it sounds to me like “sour grapes”. Just thought I would add my 2 cents worth. Have a Happy Christmas, Linda Clark

  • entoman

    Fabulous photo, I’ll try to find more of Lik’s images as they are very inspiring.

    However, if some rich hedonist can decide to blow ridiculous amounts of money like that however, perhaps he should look deeper into his conscience, and consider using his money for something more worthwhile, like rainforest conservation or humanitarian aid. No work of art, (not even an original Ansel Adams!), is worth that much money! It could be put to much much better use.

  • Super Hamster

    You mean this beat the Monkey taking a poop photo WTH.

  • armed

    I have a bridge he may be interested in

  • Great photo. Sweet payday.

  • Mason Merten

    Suddenly I have an urge to take pictures.