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Invest in your music photography collection

David Gilmour playing his legendary Black Strat at the Rainbow Theatre, 1973 @ Jill Furmanovsky

Collecting music photography has become more popular than ever. In today’s technology based world, classic music images take us back to the heady days of the rock & rock era and capture the essence and soul of music’s greatest moments and icons.

From Jimi Hendrix absorbed in reading Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde sheet music by Colin N. Purvor, to a Japanese inspired portrait of Siouxsie Sioux by Sheila Rock, in a year where we have been deprived of live music, more than ever people want to bring a sense of excitement and nostalgia into their homes. 

Jimi Hendrix reading Blonde on Blonde at the Astoria, London, 1967 © Colin N. Purvor

As the market has increased in popularity, the prices of rock photography have followed. An article in the Financial Times back in 2014 clearly demonstrated the growth in value of music photography with examples such as Annie Leibovitz’s 1980 photograph of a naked John Lennon hugging Yoko Ono selling for $350 in 1984 but by 2013 fetching £15,420 at Sotheby’s. Famous collectors include Tom Hanks, who favours Beatles photography & the late Steve Jobs, who reportedly built a Bob Dylan collection. 

Price increases continue across the market as limited editions start to sell out and experts recognise that music photography is a reliable investment. In our own Rockarchive collection we have seen substantial price increases in the work of Storm Thorgerson and Jill Furmanovsky fuelled by the success of the Bowie and Pink Floyd exhibitions at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. However, music photography still currently offers a lower entry point than other similar works of art, with new collectors able to find superb work to invest in for under £500.

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd, 1975 © Storm Thorgerson

With a growth in popularity there has also abeen a corresponding increase in the number of rare images becoming available, as photographers delve back through their archives to unlock previously unseen gems. There is now a fantastic selection of affordable, quality work for any music fan to choose from.

So how should you go about building your collection? Here are our top tips:

Oasis performing at Maine Road in 1996 © Jill Furmanovsky

1. Buy what you love

We want you love every print you own and for it to have meaning to you. Be it the first gig you went to or your favourite moment from rock history, your photograph should bring you joy every time you look at it. 

Bob Dylan photographed during the cover shoot for Freewheelin' in 1963 © Don Hunstein

2. Buy from the best

Make sure when you buy you are buying from an authentic gallery, preferably one that has direct contacts with the photographers, so you know you are getting an original print. Find out if the print is a limited run, how many prints are in the edition and check that you will be supplied with a certificate of authenticity.

Siouxsie Sioux shot during a cover shoot for Face Magazine in 1982 © Sheila Rock

3. Find out about the photographer.

Understand the credentials of the photographer, when they worked and who they shot. You want to know that your photograph is worth the money you are paying for it. 

At Rockarchive we have been producing and selling music photography for over 20 years and work directly with over 70 music photographers. So, if you are interested in starting a collection get in touch, we’d love to help