Peter Lik: Is Tree Of Life Lik's Most Famous Photo?

Why is Peter Lik Famous?

Peter Lik (born: 1959) is an Australian fine art photographer who owns more than a dozen fine art landscape and nature photography galleries in the United States. Lik’s career originally began in Australia but has really made a name for himself here in the States according to sources including the New York Times. Some of his career highlights include having sold the world’s most expensive photo for $6.5 million according to Forbes.com (it should be noted this was an anonymous private sale announced by Lik's own PR team rather than through a public auction) and a short-lived TV show on the Weather Channel.

Peter Lik Tree of Life & Tree of Zen Style Photo

"Japanese Garden Maple Tree"

The same tree as Peter Lik's Tree of Life, this Japanese maple tree from Portland's Japanese Garden is one of the most famous trees in the United States. This tree has been delighting countless visitors for nearly 50 years. A lace-leaf maple, this Japanese maple tree is a showstopper for anyone who comes across this gorgeous specimen.

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Asian Garden, UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Photo

"Asian Garden"

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden is a 34-acre botanical garden that is managed by the University of California system. This compact garden features an incredible amount of biodiversity within its boundaries including an absolutely stunning Asian Garden. The UC Berkeley Asian Garden features horticultural specimens from much of the Asian continent including approximately 450 varieties of Japanese plants.

The Asian Garden at UC Berkeley Botanical Garden is particularly beautiful for photography during the late fall / early winter season as the foliage turns a variety of crimson red and yellow colors.

Where Are Peter Lik Prints For Sale?

Lik Fine Art Galleries are currently located in the following cities according to their website.

  • Lik Gallery Aspen - Colorado
  • Lik Gallery Chicago - Illinois
  • Lik Gallery Hamptons - West Hampton, New York
  • Lik Gallery Waikiki - Honolulu / O'ahu, Hawaii
  • Lik Gallery Houston - Texas
  • Lik Gallery Key West - Florida
  • Lik Gallery Lahaina - Maui, Hawaii
  • Lik Gallery La Jolla - California
  • Lik Galleries Las Vegas - Nevada (Caesar's Palace & Forum Shops, Mandalay Bay, The Venetian)
  • Lik Gallery Miami - Florida
  • Lik Galleries New York City - New York (Madison Avenue, SoHo)
  • Lik Gallery Washington, D.C.
Cypress Tree Sunset, Alameda, California

"Lonesome Cypress Tree"

Living around the San Francisco Bay, wind is a common fact of life. Since wind is invisible we're left with photographing the result of the wind; gnarled tree limbs in this instance.

What Does Peter Lik Print On?

I’ve been to a number of Lik Galleries in the past including San Francisco (closed), Las Vegas, Waikiki, Lahaina and La Jolla. The presentation style is beautiful with modern gallery design and proper lighting for the artwork. I’ve also been given the dark room gallery lighting demo by their art consultants. People on social media sites sometimes debate whether or not Peter Lik's prints are backlit. They're not. His older gallery prints were printed on Ilfochrome paper (aka. Cibachrome prints) which was a process used to make prints directly from slide transparencies. This printmaking process was defined by high contrast and saturated colors. Cibachrome printing has since been discontinued due to the industry's shift toward processes which allow for more control over color, contrast and sharpness. Lik's current-day photos are printed on professional-quality photo art papers such as Fujiflex and face-mounted onto a sheet of acrylic which can result in a backlit sort of appearance depending on how the artwork is lit. Acrylic face mount prints are the top choice amongst high-end luxury art buyers and are far superior to dye sublimation ChromaLuxe metal prints.

I offer my own version of acrylic face mounted prints which I would argue is even better than Fujiflex. You can skip ahead and read more about that here.

Smugglers' Notch

"Smugglers' Notch"

Due to the signing of The Embargo Act of 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson, it was illegal to trade goods with Great Britain and Canada. Since Vermont was adjacent to Canada many people continued to smuggle goods and livestock over the present-day Smuggler's Notch. Fugitives used to run from the law by climbing over Smugglers' Notch and escaping to Canada. The Notch was also a hotbed of alcohol sales during the Prohibition Era with a vast quantity of liquor coming from neighboring Canada. Its safe to say that Smugglers' Notch has truly earned its' notorious name. As for myself? I smuggle fall color photos.

Peter Lik Prices

With all of those galleries in affluent areas you might be wondering how much do the prints cost? Print prices don't appear to be listed on their website and they weren't publicly listed when I recently visited the Venetian gallery in Las Vegas but according to sources like the New York Times article and Artnet it appears that most prints initially start off priced around $4,000 then consistently increase as the editions start to sell. When a piece reaches about 95% sold the price is at $17,500 then rapidly increases from there. Given that the NYT article is several years old at this point it wouldn't be surprising if the prices have since increased further. Then of course there are those handful of prints that Lik says have sold for more than $1 million. When it comes to buying art you shouldn't necessarily base your decisions on price, you should buy artwork because you connect with the work and the artist, but with a high price point it does limit who can afford the artwork. That's just basic economics.

Are Peter Lik Photos Valuable?

Whether Lik's photos are valuable or not depends on your definition of valuable. It's interesting to note that there are many of his prints for sale on the aftermarket on 3rd party sites like eBay, Invaluable and Art Brokerage for much lower prices than the original retail prices quoted above. Lik himself was quoted in the New York Times article as saying, “It’s like a Mercedes-Benz. You drive it off the lot, it loses half its value.” On the other hand, if your definition of valuable is defined by how artwork makes you feel emotionally then I would certainly hope that you've purchased a Peter Lik because you enjoy the art.

The Land of the Giants

"The Land of the Giants"

Giant Sequoia trees have long been thought of as the world's largest trees by volume. These big trees are neither the tallest nor have the widest circumference but their combined volume of height and width makes them the largest known trees in the world. Their close relatives, the coast redwood, are the world's tallest trees.

Photographers Like Peter Lik

The Peter Lik style is defined by highly-saturated, wide-angle landscapes often photographed with a panoramic camera. With so much financial success one would think that Lik's photography is unique and significantly better in quality that any other photographer. The truth is that there are a number of photographers like Peter Lik and similar in style such as myself. Until recent years, nature photography was a relatively close knit community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts and many of the locations that Lik sells in his galleries could be found in just about all of our photo collections. The difference is that Lik brought these locations to the general public via his galleries in high-tourist traffic locations. Nature photographers travel more and look at a lot more photos than the average art collector. What are recycled ideas to an experienced photographer can often times be the first time for a non-photographer. Business-savvy photographers recognize that and offer a healthy dose of these types of fine art prints for sale. I recall the first time I ever saw photos of Antelope Canyon and Mesa Arch was at the old Lik Gallery on San Francisco's Pier 39. I was relatively new to photography at the time around 2001-2002 so I wasn't aware of all the iconic locations. Later on I had found out that some of these photos were actually quite commonly found in other photographer's portfolios and that continues to this day.

Peter Lik's Famous Photos

Rarely does a day go by when I don’t hear Lik’s name mentioned by other photographers so out of curiosity I decided to do some online research to find out what are his top 10 most famous photos. Of course it’s impossible to really know his actual top 10 most famous photography prints unless the man himself discloses that but according to Google search volume data as of March 2019 this is what I found.

  1. Ghost – An Antelope Canyon photo with a beam of light highlighting the rising dust.
  2. Phantom – A black and white version of Ghost that allegedly sold for $6.5m. This is the world’s most expensive photography print ever sold.
  3. One – A water abstract photo. According to Lik.com this was Peter Lik’s first $1 million print sale. I believe this was a limited edition of 1 hence the name, One.
  4. Tree of Life – Portland Japanese Garden Maple Tree
  5. Beyond Paradise - a pier at Key West
  6. Bella Luna – This large moon photo has been a source of debate on photography sites.
  7. Central Park – New York’s Central Park
  8. Rouge - aspen trees and fall color
  9. Endless Summer - under the pier at La Jolla
  10. Tree of Zen - Portland Japanese Garden Maple Tree

So is Tree of Life Peter Lik's most famous photo? No, but it is interesting to note that Tree of Life and Tree of Zen are of the same Japanese maple tree in Portland’s Japanese Garden. I’ve photographed the Portland Japanese Garden maple tree myself in 2012 and while it is an interesting looking tree, I feel like I’ve photographed more interesting trees in my career than that one. It didn’t occur to me until recently that it was so famous. So the question is, what are the world's finest fine art photography prints? I'll answer that question below.

The Navajo Tree of Life Photo, Monument Valley

"The Navajo Tree of Life"

My family and I hired a guide to take us into the backcountry of Monument Valley. He explained that since this was a very arid region, cottonwood trees tend to only grow along the few streams in the area. Also mentioned that since the people live off the land that they learned how to cook and make medicines from just about every plant you can find in the desert. It was fascinating to learn about Navajo culture.

What Are The World’s Finest Fine Art Photography Prints?

I’ve printed my photography on about a dozen different mediums and professional art papers over the years. I’ve been able to make gallery-quality prints from all of the papers but I do prefer some over others. Though I don’t think the average art buyer would really notice the difference between most of the photo papers to be honest. However, I’ve recently discovered a type of premium, luxury acrylic face mount called Lumachrome HD that totally blew my mind. Without getting too technical, Lumachrome HD acrylic prints are printed on an archival transparency that is sandwiched between a proprietary reflective white paper mounted on a thick Comatex backing and scratch-resistant, non-glare museum-grade TruView acrylic which allows the light to be encapsulated within the four layers. This proprietary artisan process combines to create a sort of bioluminescent glow to the artwork with even the slightest bit of external lighting. If you like the "Peter Lik style backlit effect" then you should consider acquiring one of my Lumachrome prints as there is nothing else quite like this. My Lumachrome HD prints come with a hand-made Italian ROMA back mounted floating frame which make them ready-to-hang. Custom external framing options are also available.

Send me a photo of your interior space and I'll help you visualize what your home would look like with my artwork.

I was recently invited to talk about my work at a San Francisco Bay Area business event so I brought a Lumachrome print for show and the entire audience was amazed by the quality of my artwork. One of the people at the event coincidentally was actually the owner of a print lab. The print lab owner was amazed too and was very complimentary of my work while inquiring about the art production process. Peer validation really doesn’t get any more flattering than that.

If you want the finest art prints for sale today, then take a look at my landscape and nature photography galleries for inspiration. Since I don’t own high-overhead physical galleries in Las Vegas like Peter LIk, William Carr, etc..., I don't need to mark up my prices to the degree that most galleries do. You’ll have every bit the craftsmanship of the luxury art galleries with the finest in printmaking technology. I work with some of the best print labs in the world to bring my art to life. The value is in the craftsmanship and knowing that you would be working directly with me the artist, and not a salesperson.

About Richard Wong Photography

I've been a fine art landscape and nature photographer for 20 years now with publishing credits in most major publications. I offer an extensive collection of museum-quality fine art landscape and nature photography prints including ready-to-hang Lumachrome HD TruView acrylic face mounts and ChromaLuxe edge mounts. My objective is to help you find the right artwork for your needs rather than merely sell you artwork. Please feel free to contact me as I can answer any questions you might have.

The Lone Cypress ROMA Tabacchino framed acrylic face mount print

"The Lone Cypress"

One of the most iconic trees in the world, The Lone Cypress, is popular attraction on 17 Mile Drive along the Monterey Bay coastline. The tree is held up by cables and has survived 200+ years of saltwater, wind and lightning along the rugged Monterey Bay shoreline.
Chinese Garden

"Chinese Garden"

The newest garden at The Huntington Botanical Gardens, The Garden of Flowing Fragrance, is one of the largest Chinese gardens outside of of China

Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions about my fine art photography prints