23 May 2016
The world’s most photogenic potato. Sold for about $1,100,000.
Kevin Abosch is an Irish visual artist, portrait photographer and a fine art photographer. His subjects include Johnny Depp, Malala Yousafzai, Bob Geldof, Vanessa Redgrave, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper, Yoko Ono, Aung San Suu Kyi … and a potato…
K Kevin Abosch, 46, mainly based in Dublin and Paris - few months ago confirmed that he had sold the print, mounted on an aluminium composite, to a European businessman. He shot the potato on a black background under a single light using a digital camera.
The organic Irish potato (see it’s photo below), which he photographed in 2010, joins an illustrious portfolio that includes shots of Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Palin, Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook executive, and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist.
In 2010, Abosch made three prints of the now-famous Irish organic spud: one hangs in his private collection, the other was donated to a museum in Serbia, and the third image, called Potato #345 was sold.
The sale came about when a wealthy buyer who collects Abosch’s work was visiting the photographer’s Paris home in 2015. They saw the photo — a 162x162cm print mounted on dibond — hanging on the wall and inquired about purchasing it for their collection. The price was non-negotiable: €1,000,000, or about $1,083,450 with exchange rate for that date.
A few glasses of wine later they agreed on the sum, making it Abosch’s largest sale of a single image to date.
More details about photograph Potato #345.
It’s a simple photo that reflects Abosch’s style: a stark black background and a straight-on shot in high resolution.
But why shoot the humble spud?
“I see commonalities between humans and potatoes that speak to our relationship as individuals within a collective species,” says Abosch.
“Generally, the life of a harvested potato is violent and taken for granted. I use the potato as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience.”
So what Abosch is doing except shooting spuds?
Well - Abosch’s “iconic black backdrop” portraits have become a sort of status symbol among the elites of business and entertainment — the rich and famous pay over $150,000 for a photo shoot with Abosch, and up to $500,000 if commercial usage is included.
He didn’t study art. Instead, he’s a former biologist who likes technology and is familiar with deep coding languages like Python (he’s the founder of a secure messaging app called OneOne).
In Ireland his Faces of Ireland exhibition, which displayed 250 Irish people, from famous faces to ordinary people was a huge success when it was displayed in Terminal Two of Dublin Airport.
All 250 subjects were photographed against a black background and lit in the same formal manner.
‘Everybody was photographed the same way. Whether you’re the Taoiseach or an eight year-old girl, you get the same treatment.’
‘It’s a very democratic process,’ said Kevin Abosch who has photographed stars such as Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson.
In order to snap the great, quick photos, Abosch uses a few tricks. He begins each session with a simple question. “Which side of your face do you like better?” he asks his clients.
Abosch – how he arrived to the elite?
The first breakthrough moment was in the 1990s, when he was working with CBS Records. The record company needed a photographer to shoot one of its bands and Abosch volunteered himself for the job. But when CBS asked to see his portfolio, Abosch realised he didn’t have one. Instead, Abosch pulled up eight of his favourite pictures, which he always carried around, and negotiated a $2,500 salary for a half day of work.
Abosch says he arrived at the relatively high number because he read an article about one of Hollywood’s most famous photographers, Herb Ritts, charging $10,000 a day. He told CBS he wanted a similar rate of $5,000 for the few-hour-long shoot. At first, CBS laughed and told him they could hire Ritts for that amount. Abosch replied, “do you want Herb Ritts? Or do you want me?” CBS met him in the middle.
Since then, Abosch has had no trouble charging high prices for his time and work. And as more and more high-powered people ask him to take their photos, those prices keep getting met. Occasionally multiple people will go in on one of his pieces together, effectively time-sharing his art.
Another breakthrough moment for Abosch was when he photographed Johnny Depp. As he was taking pictures, he glanced down at his camera and saw the right moment for a shot.
World's Most Expensive Photographs - $6.5 Million 11 PHOTOS:
|Potato #345. It’s a simple photo that reflects Abosch’s style: a stark black background and a straight-on shot in high resolution.|
|The price was non-negotiable: €1,000,000 or about $1,083,450 with exchange rate for that date.|
|In Ireland his Faces of Ireland exhibition, which displayed 250 Irish people, from famous faces to ordinary people was a huge success when it was displayed in Terminal Two of Dublin Airport.|
|Abosch’s “iconic black backdrop” portraits have become a sort of status symbol among the elites of business and entertainment. This is famous Johnny Depp’s photograph.|
|Some photographs from Faces of Ireland exhibition|