What Your Tumblr Costs In Real Life – By Fashion Model Member Jenny Bahn

May 1, 2014 by Jenny Bahn

Last week Brooklyn Magazine ran an article about how much it would cost to live a New York Times lifestyle. The results? It ain’t cheap. And so when PHILLIPS, an international auction house, banged the gavel for the last time yesterday at their “Photographs” sale in NYC, it got me thinking about the real cost of the Internet’s rapid misappropriation of photographs. Though surely you don’t think much about it, as you so blithely like and reblog and upload and download to your Tumblr account, but all of these images have real value–in some cases an absurdly high real value. So just how much would it cost if you had to physically acquire every image like they did in the olden times? More than you got, boo.

Let’s think of the Internet as the virtual equivalent of plastic. The invention of plastic allowed for all sorts of things, but for the purpose of this piece, it allowed for the replication of higher value goods in immensely cheaper forms. Golden bits and bobs were no longer reserved for royalty, who could afford the cost of real materials, but now everyone could get in on the action, even the plebs like you and me. There are accessory empires built on plastic–and on your accepting of a shoddy reproduction of something actually of worth.

The Internet is plastic. It is immaterial. Vapor. A phantom of the real thing. Instead of real social interaction, you get social media. The smell of an old book has been replaced by the eye-burning glare of your computer screen. Instead of going out into the world and acquiring real things, we are complacent with the faux commoditization of other people’s work. Just like kids playing house, we’re not really doing anything. We’re just pushing air around.

PHILLIP’s auction yesterday was a reminder that this air has (or had, depending on who you ask) weight. These are images that you have seen hundreds of times, but familiarity does not automatically equate knowledge. In fact, the more we see these things, it is likely the less valued they become, at least to a certain strata of the population–the ones who are okay with the proverbial piece of plastic, content with the blind curation of pixels. But there are others out there who still value the real thing. They want the gold. Below you’ll find a selection of work and their respective price tags. You’ll be thankful Richard Avedon isn’t hunting you down asking for royalties on your blog after this.

IRVING PENN Gaultier Eye Earrings, New York, January 26, 1998 (Sold for $37.5k)

IRVING PENN
Gaultier Eye Earrings, New York, January 26, 1998
(Sold for $37.5k)

RICHARD AVEDON Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, Los Angeles, California, June 14, 1981 (Sold for $155k)

RICHARD AVEDON
Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, Los Angeles, California, June 14, 1981
(Sold for $155k)

NICK KNIGHT Kate, 2006 (Sold for $75k)

NICK KNIGHT
Kate, 2006
(Sold for $75k)

IRVING PENN Vogue Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima) , Peru (Jean Patchett), 1948 (Sold for $137k)

IRVING PENN
Vogue Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima) , Peru (Jean Patchett), 1948
(Sold for $137k)

PETER BEARD I'll Write Whenever I Can, Koobi Fora, Lake Rudolf, 1965 (Sold for $35k)

PETER BEARD
I’ll Write Whenever I Can, Koobi Fora, Lake Rudolf, 1965
(Sold for $35k)

ILSE BING The Dancer, Willem Gerard Van Loon, Paris, 1932  (Sold for $12.5k)

ILSE BING
The Dancer, Willem Gerard Van Loon, Paris, 1932
(Sold for $12.5k)

HELMUT NEWTON Two pairs of legs in silk stockings, Paris, 1979 (Sold for $60k)

HELMUT NEWTON
Two pairs of legs in silk stockings, Paris, 1979
(Sold for $60k)

BILL BRANDT London, Nude, March, 1952  (Sold for $22.5k)

BILL BRANDT
London, Nude, March, 1952
(Sold for $22.5k)

FRANK HORVAT Givenchy Hat A, Paris, 1958 (Est. $15k-$20k)

FRANK HORVAT
Givenchy Hat A, Paris, 1958
(Est. $15k-$20k)

HERBERT BAYER Untitled (Photocollage), 1929 (Sold for $2.2k)

HERBERT BAYER
Untitled (Photocollage), 1929
(Sold for $2.2k)

GEORGE HOYNINGEN-HUENE Divers, Horst with Model, Paris, 1930 (Sold for $15k)

GEORGE HOYNINGEN-HUENE
Divers, Horst with Model, Paris, 1930
(Sold for $15k)

IRVING PENN Cigarette No. 52, New York, 1972 (Sold for $32.5k)

IRVING PENN
Cigarette No. 52, New York, 1972
(Sold for $32.5k)

HORST P. HORST Echeveria Gibbiflora Crispa, 1945 (Sold for $10.6k)

HORST P. HORST
Echeveria Gibbiflora Crispa, 1945
(Sold for $10.6k)

HORST P. HORST Coco Chanel, Paris, 1937 (Sold for$16.2k)

HORST P. HORST
Coco Chanel, Paris, 1937
(Sold for$16.2k)

DOROTHEA LANGE Migratory Cotton Worker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940 (Sold for $37.5k)

DOROTHEA LANGE
Migratory Cotton Worker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940
(Sold for $37.5k)

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO Sahara, South of Djanet, Algeria, 2009  (Sold for $40k)

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO
Sahara, South of Djanet, Algeria, 2009
(Sold for $40k)

RENÉ BURRI São Paulo, Brazil, 1960 (Sold for $6.2k)

RENÉ BURRI
São Paulo, Brazil, 1960
(Sold for $6.2k)

IRVING PENN Summer Sleep, New York, 1949 (Sold for $112.5k)

IRVING PENN
Summer Sleep, New York, 1949
(Sold for $112.5k)

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MAX YAVNO
Muscle Beach, 1948
(Sold for $6k)

DENNIS STOCK James Dean in Times Square, New York City, 1955 (Sold for $8.5k)

DENNIS STOCK
James Dean in Times Square, New York City, 1955
(Sold for $8.5k)

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926 (Sold for $7.5k)

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ
Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926
(Sold for $7.5k)

CONSUELO KANAGA She is a tree of life to them, 1950 (Sold for $15k)

CONSUELO KANAGA
She is a tree of life to them, 1950
(Sold for $15k)

WILLIAM EGGLESTON Morton, Mississippi, 1972 (Sold for $15k)

WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Morton, Mississippi, 1972
(Sold for $15k)

MARILYN MINTER Spyder, 2006 (Sold for $25k)

MARILYN MINTER
Spyder, 2006
(Sold for $25k)

Tags: Blog

Jenny Bahn Jenny Bahn is a fashion model and a writer living in New York, happily awaiting the apocalypse. Until then, she'll keep buying shoes. Jenny also is the editor @http://www.thestylecon.com.

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