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The Money Shot

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Sold at auction yesterday for $4.3 million, the most expensive photograph in the world:

I have no further comment.

[h/t Adrian Thysse]

Alex Wild About the Author: Alex Wild is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books and media outlets. Follow on Twitter @myrmecos.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Alex Wild 2:34 pm 11/10/2011

    Actually, that’s not true about the no further comment.

    This is a photograph that- while somewhat plain- is geometrically interesting. I’d hang it on my wall. If someone wanted to buy it for me.

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  2. 2. sjmgarnier 3:13 pm 11/10/2011

    Funny you’re showing this picture, I had a long conversation with several people on G+ on the reason why this picture in particular is worth so much money. After 55 (sometime long) comments, the conclusion was something like: because someone decided to pay $4.3M for it :-)

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  3. 3. jasongoldman 3:37 pm 11/10/2011

    I had a long conversation with @nrek yesterday about this. When does a piece of art shift from being interesting because of intrinsic artistic interestingness and start being interesting because of the things that occur “around” the photo – where it’s been displayed, who owned it, who bought it and for how much, etc.

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  4. 4. Alex Wild 7:08 pm 11/10/2011


    Yeah, I gather that other members of the series (a panorama) are displayed at major museums. I’m guessing the price tag is someone’s bet that down the road an even more exclusive buyer will pay to unite the set.

    Link to this
  5. 5. 12:32 pm 11/11/2011

    $4.3M? I mean, that’s, uh… that’s… oh man… like wow!

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