Steve Hynes, editor of Professional Photographer, wrote an excellent article in the March 2002 issue which makes a good point about this fine art issue.
"A quick look around at some of the paintings first. I knew I was out of my depth when I came across a canvas, about 4x4ft, painted entirely in a single shade of blue. Price £6500 to you, sir. Plus VAT. I'd never heard of the artist, but he's probably extremely famous.
The sculpture proved equally educational. A piece of wood, more or less as it came off the tree, mounted on a perspex base, £4500. Er... let's move on to the photography."
Several issues are raised that I can see.
(1) Would you pay £6500 (approx S$17500) for a canvas painted in a single shade of blue? If so, why?
(2) Would you pay the same for a photograph of a single shade of blue?
(3) Does the person who painted it influence your decision? If so, why? Should it?
(4) Would you pay the same amount for an out of focus, blurred shot because it was taken by someone famous?
(5) If so, why?
(6) Would it matter who the photographer was? Why, should it matter?
(7) Is that sculpture any less valuable than a picture of the tree? Are they really much different if you think about it?
(8) Should that sculpture of a tree be worth less than a real sculpture of a tree fashioned painstaking from a medium like clay?
(9) Put another way, should you pay more for effort?
(10) Doesn't all photography require considerably less effort than other art forms? Should photographs be worth less than other art forms like paintings and sculptures?
Just food for thought folks.