Professional advice on collecting from leading art advisor Francesca Malgara… 

It was 1985 when I first started to like photography. I grew up in Venice, surrounded by beauty and the art of photography was still something for a small circle of people.

In order to delve into the medium I had to move to London and apply to Westminster University where I graduated with my degree in photography. Working for wonderful galleries and archives like Michael Hoppen Gallery and Hulton Getty archive I grew my knowledge of the medium and of the industry which has lead to my current career as an art advisor.

Mario De Biasi, Napoli, 1954 ©Archivio Mario De Biasi

Every time I meet someone who wants to start collecting, I always recommend they read, study and visit exhibitions and local galleries in order to get a better idea of what  they like. Most importantly: understand if they want to purchase out of passion/gut instinct or purely from a price perspective.

Photography is an engaging and accessible collecting category. But before making a purchase, collectors need to consider a few key points. I have listed some below which I think could help you.

 Refine your eye at every possible opportunity (exhibitions in galleries, museums, auctions) Open Doors exhibition #2 opens soon, find out more

 Understand the edition of a photograph. Is it vintage? Does it have an edition?

Not all original photographs will cost the same amount. An edition of 50 and an edition of three are both limited but they are not equal in terms of value. Generally, the smaller the number of prints in an edition, the more expensive they will be.

3  Check the provenance. Sometimes when a work of art hits the secondary market can have a different value. So it is very important to know where it comes from and trust your gallery.

4  When you buy always ask for a certificate with all the print information;  the date, the provenance and the original signature.

5  Check the condition: when you are you looking at a vintage print check for scratches, handling marks, creases… when you are collecting contemporary photographers check for colour changes or blemishes.

6  Last but not least… frame properly. You need to spend a little bit more in protecting your image with a museum glass (non reflecting Uv light). Over time sunlight can fade the colours which will change over time. OPEN DOORS offers bespoke framing, get in touch for a quote

The most important thing to remember is to buy with your eyes… and have fun. Buying art should be enjoyable.Here are some of my top of the lists photographers to look for :

Classic William Klein, Franco Fontana, Mimmo Jodice, Mario De Biasi

Contemporary Gail Albert Halaban, Edward Burtynsky, Maria Lax, Giada Ripa, Yuval Yairi, Noga Shtainer

Francesca Malgara is a leading art advisor specialising in photographic art.


Pink Smoke © Maria Lax


OPENS SOON  •  5-8th April, 2018  •  London, Peckham



  • Joy Butler

    Hi Francesca, you just don’t know how happy I am to see this awesome post. My husband’s passion is into photography and I want to surprise him with his work. He keeps on taking cool pictures but no one sees them except the two of us. I feel like his creativity should be displayed. Thanks a lot and more power!


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