Australian photographer Peter Lik is truly delighted with himself. When describing his career as a photographer, he speaks with the satisfaction of a man who has managed to create true miracles.
"I'm the most famous, most wanted and most awarded photographer in the world," he said in an interview he gave in the conference hall of Peter Lik USA - his own studio in Las Vegas with a size of 30,000 square meters. Asked what he wants to do in the world of art photography, Lik responds in a laconic way: "A really special photo!"
Obviously, all the 55-year-old artist's desires come true because he shot this special photo in 2015 and sold it for a fabulous sum at the end of the same year. That photograph is called "Phantom" and was sold to a private collector remained anonymous, for 6.5 million dollars. The collector owns two more pictures of Lik - "Eternal Moods" and "Illusion". In total, the deal for the three photographs amounts to 10 million dollars.
Phantom is a black-and-white version of Lik's "Ghost" color photograph taken in the Antilopa Canyon of Arizona. "Ghost" is a pillar of dust, sweeping in a sunbeam. Phantom holds the absolute record for the most expensive photos of all times, so far no worthy rival has emerged to be bought at a higher price.
"The purpose of my photography is to capture the power of nature," said Lik.
Over the years, the Australian has managed to sell his half-billion-dollar photographs. Peter Lik is undoubtedly the best-selling artist in the history of artistic photography. According to New York Times, Lik's sales of photographs amounted to $ 1.6 million average per week. The same edition commented that the buyers of the Australian photographer's works are wealthy, ready to spend a great deal of money, but they know nothing about art.
In the artistic circles, Lik is known as a photographer who does not show any interest in the creative achievements of his colleagues and is only excited by his own successes. Maybe that's what it takes to get popular like the person who sold the most expensive photographs in the world.
Every year Peter Lik travels across America for three months and takes pictures. His photographs are distinguished by two main features - they never show people and the pictures are always taken in the daylight. The Australian explanation is simple: "Photos with people do not bring money, and I do not shoot in the dark because I want to show the beautiful side of things."
The path that Peter Lik traveled to become the photographer selling the most expensive pictures of the whole planet, is far from easy. Lik's career began in the distant 1996 when he exhibited his own photographs in various galleries in his native Australia. Five years later, the artist is looking for something more and goes to San Francisco, where he invests all his savings in opening his own gallery.
However, his investment is not justified, the gallery goes bankrupt and Lik goes back to Australia as he sails he stopped to Maui island, Hawaii. Here, unexpectedly, the photographer discovers good opportunities for opening a new gallery, which soon becomes a reality. After two years of hard work, Lik managed to raise enough money to open a studio at the Caesar Palace Hotel in Las Vegas.
Today Peter Lik has 15 galleries in different parts of North America. Sales of his photographs in his galleries have earned $ 440 million in revenue. For the most part, Lik's pictures represent panoramic views of trees, heavens, lakes, deserts or seawater treated in over-saturated colors. During his 30-year career as a photographer, Lik has sold over 100,000 photos, most of them to anonymous private collectors.
The Australian is proud of the fact that he has never studied photography and does not fail to mention it in one of his many interviews he is willing to give. For criticism, Peter Lik is a rather successful businessman, a "seller of pictures", rather than an artist.
Although Lik apparently has no other interests beyond his own job, he makes a lot of effort in going around all 50 US states and making thousands of photos a year. In capturing, selecting, processing, and offering photographs to potential buyers, the Australian invests energy and effort that few of his competitors are able to afford. And despite the fortune he has accumulated, Lik keeps on looking for new challenges. What will the photographer surprise us in the years to come? We're about to understand.