The Top 7 Things You Should Know About Peter Lik
Australian-born Peter Lik currently holds four of the top 20 spots for the most expensive photographs ever sold. His panoramic depictions of nature have become quite popular over the last several years, making their way into the collections of luxurious hotels, prominent estates, and leading corporate offices worldwide. But what is there to know about the man behind the lens? From his first Brownie Kodak camera to his brief stint as a television host, here are the top 7 things you should know about Peter Lik.
1. Peter Lik received his first camera at age eight.
Peter Lik’s signature landscapes can be traced back to a single moment in time—his eighth birthday. Shortly after receiving a Brownie Kodak camera as a gift from his parents, the artist took his first photograph, an image of a spider web in the family’s garden. Ever since, the self-taught photographer has followed his calling to capture and share nature’s most beautiful scenes.
2. Lik’s decision to come to the United States was one of the defining moments in his career.
In 1984, the artist decided to make his first trip to the US, traveling around the country for a year in an old van. While in Alaska, fellow photographer Allen Prior introduced him to the medium panoramic camera and advised him to “go big or go home”. After years of traveling back and forth between the US and his native Australia, in 1989, Lik embarked on a cross-country photography expedition across all 50 states. According to the artist, the 50,000 mile journey was the “biggest challenge of his life”. Photos from the project can be found in Spirit of America, a coffee table published by Lik.
3. He’s a jack of all trades.
After deciding not to pursue a college degree, Lik began working as a salesman, first for a packaging company and later a greeting card company. A dedicated photographer, he brought a camera with him everywhere he went, eventually securing a job at the Queensland Tourist and Travel Company. In 1996, the artist used these images to launch a successful postcard company and later opened four art galleries in his native Australia. Lik has since opened 14 other galleries across the United States and is said to dabble in the real estate industry on the side. (Fun fact: his 4,000 square-foot Hawaii home is currently on the market for $19.8M)
4. He briefly spent some time in front of the lens.
Lik’s dream of having his own television show became a reality with the 2011 debut of the Weather Channel’s action/adventure nature series, From the Edge With Pete Lik. From the Hawaiian Islands to the Alaskan tundra, the television program documented the Australian photographer’s quest to find the US’ most dramatic landscapes. Unfortunately, the show proved to be far less intriguing than Lik’s photography and it was cancelled after the first season.
5. Nearly every Peter Lik photograph is printed in a limited edition of 955.
Lik’s business model is quite unique in the fine art world. Once the artist has sold 10 percent of a limited edition, the price of a photo will increase. For example, a print that would have cost $4,000 at the time it was first released could end up costing anywhere from six to eight million dollars if the edition sells through.
6. Lik has sold over 100,000 photographs to date…
All of the images are customed-printed, mounted, framed, and boxed up at the artist’s headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, just steps away from the infamous Strip. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that the artist had sold $440 million worth of prints to date, or $1.6 million a week.
7. …and he holds the record for the most expensive photograph ever sold.
Back in December 2014, Lik sold a photograph entitled Phantom for a record-setting $6.5 million dollars, reportedly the most ever paid for a photograph. The artist’s striking black-and-white shot of Arizona’s Antelope Canyon trampled the existing record–the sale of Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II for $4.3 million–when it sold to a private collector, adding a fourth post for Lik among the top 20 most expensive photographers ever.
“Lik” what you see? Add a Peter Lik to your collection for a fraction of his record-setting price. Check out available works by the photographer currently for sale on Lofty.com.
Featured Image: Peter Lik, Dark Side of the Moon, Death Valley