This photo was taken at a field near Barbizon, a French village known for its painting school. Barbizon stands for Millet, and without Millet we would have a very abridged Van Gogh, who copied dozens of his paintings.


I believe this photo is worth around $43K, which is 100 times less than the price paid for the photo below (Andres Gursky’s Rhine II, sold for $4.3m).


It is not just value, on which my photo beats Gorsky’s masterpiece hands down. My picture is a hundred times better metaphorically, and here’s why:

  • it convincingly foreshadows winter;
  • the absence of sun is compensated for by the yellow flowers, promising the return of summer;
  • it is clickable;
  • if you look long enough you can see a glimpse of hope epitomized by a speck of blue sky;
  • the lonely autumn tree at the back helps viewers – via associating themselves with it – to mobilise their internal resources to oppose the winter’s challenges, and stand resolute (just as the lonely tree does) against the cold;
  • the dirt at the foreground is shown as a blurred symbol of autumn slush, but not in a graphic way that would glue your eyes to it (the secret was to take the photo while driving past the field at around 40 miles an hour – the taxi driver wouldn’t agree to make a stop).

Do you know why the last point is very important? That’s why:

Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh's last painting (1890)
Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh’s last painting (1890)

Because the moment you focus on dirt, you get locked on all the mud that surrounds you in the real life. That’s a sure way to depression, antidepressants, and more depression caused by dependence on the antidepressants.

That’s not what we want to have in our life, right? We don’t want to spend $43K on antidepressants. We want to invest $43K into a great therapeutic photo. Well, at least we want to have it borrowed for our desktops, in exchange for telling me how great this photo is in the comments.

Thank you, the Weekly Photo Challenge for this opportunity to joke a bit about world’s most expensive photograph.


    1. Yep. Van Gogh is known to change “flats” that he actually saw into “waves” of uneven land. I guess that colour and feeling can change your perspective )) I think flat lands have their own diminishing perspective beauty!

  1. I’m so surprised, maybe even shocked) when I saw the 1st picture I was kind ‘wow’, I liked following the lines I liked the tree. I caught myself thinking I would not change anything there, it’s just great. And then the text and the 2nd one… disappointing. I must say I even checked Wikipedia)

  2. I’m totally convinced by your clearly stated explanation but am sadly several lipa short of many kuna. Your price tag of 43K does indeed sound comparatively reasonable. Good to see you visiting and commenting on dragonshades.

      1. If I may be serious for a second I really liked this picture and the accompanying in depth analysis ~ now that the second has past I can return to laughing and true appreciation for your generosity. Generations to come will cherish your insights and creativity.

It would be grand to hear from you now!

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