Why is Peter Lik Famous?
Peter Lik is an Australian landscape and nature 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 Peter Lik’s career highlights include having sold the world’s most expensive photography print 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.
Table of Contents
- Where Are Peter Lik Prints For Sale?
- What Does Peter Lik Print On?
- Peter Lik Prices
- Are Peter Lik Photos Valuable?
- Photographers Like Peter Lik
- Peter Lik's Famous Photos
- The World's Finest Fine Art Prints
- Limited Edition Prints
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 Dallas - Texas
- 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.
I’ve been to a number of Peter 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 would compare the Peter Lik Gallery experience to shopping at RH aka. Restoration Hardware. I’ve also been given the dark room gallery lighting demo by their art consultants. It’s funny that I see people asking questions online about whether Peter Lik prints are somehow backlit. They’re not. I believe his original film-based prints were printed on Ilfochrome paper if I remember correctly. His current-day prints are most likely printed on professional-quality photo art paper such as Fujiflex and face-mounted onto acrylic. The last part of the equation that most people haven't installed at home is the track lighting up on the ceiling. Combine all of those factors within a room that has minimal ambient light and you too can create your own home gallery full of Peter Lik prints or Richard Wong prints. Without proper lighting and display conditions, the prints won’t have the same visual effect no matter how much you pay for the art.
With all of those galleries in affluent areas you might be wondering how much do Peter Lik prints cost? Peter Lik's 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.
Whether Peter Lik's photos are valuable or not depends on your definition of valuable. If you consider value to be akin to investing in the stock market then it's interesting to note that there are many Peter Lik 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.
With so much financial success one would think that Peter 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 Peter 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 these photos were actually quite commonly found in other photographer's portfolios and that continues to this day.
Rarely does a day go by when I don’t hear Peter Lik’s name mentioned by other photographers so out of curiosity I decided to do some online research to find out what are the top 10 most famous Peter Lik prints. Of course it’s impossible to really know the actual top 10 most famous Peter Lik photography prints unless the man himself discloses that but according to Google search volume data as of March 2019 this is what I found.
- Peter Lik Ghost – An Antelope Canyon photo with a beam of light highlighting the rising dust.
- Peter Lik 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.
- Peter Lik 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.
- Peter Lik Tree of Life – Portland Japanese Garden Maple Tree
- Peter Lik Beyond Paradise - a pier at Key West
- Peter Lik Bella Luna – This large moon photo has been a source of debate on photography sites.
- Peter Lik Central Park – New York’s Central Park
- Peter Lik Rouge - aspen trees and fall color
- Peter Lik Endless Summer - under the pier at La Jolla
- Peter Lik Tree of Zen - Portland Japanese Garden Maple Tree
So is Peter Lik's Tree of Life his 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.