Butterfingers may cost magazine photographer $300,000

During a photo shoot, photographers working with Art+Auction magazine picked up an irreplaceable 2600-year-old terra cotta statue from Nigeria's Nok culture so they could move it into a better line for a shot. Yada yada yada ... they're now being sued for negligence. (Via Dr. Rubidium)


    1. So you know something about ancient subsaharan art?

      You don’t own something like that without having it appraised and insured, but I guess the policy didn’t cover accidental dropping. Odd really, I’d expect someone with 300K statues to have maids who might knock things over.

  1. If I had an irreplaceable, fragile artifact and was letting someone photograph it, I would insist that I was the only one allowed to touch it.  Just saying…

    1.  And if you’re the photographer you insist that the client (or an employee of the client) handles it, so if the worst happens you’re not liable.

  2. Whoops. You would hope someone who’s photographing rare and expensive items, and who needs to move them, is carrying some sort of insurance.

    Also, the owner of said rare and expensive items…

  3. This is a big reason most high-end clients will require photographers to have liability insurance (among other types of insurance) before booking them for a shoot.

    Note to photographers: Always be insured, especially if you’re working with priceless artefacts!

    1. This was my first thought, especially if he’s a contract photographer. If he’s staff, his employer has a responsibility to insure against this. But isn’t the owner insured? Surely someone who owns items of this value in their private home has insurance of their own, otherwise they’re one natural disaster away from a lot of disappointment.

  4. Now it’s modern art…

    Honestly, $300K sounds pretty cheap with the price of artworks lately. That’d buy, what…1/2 a Banksy? 

    1. Yeah, either $300k is a travesty of an undervaluation (which is my feeling) and/or millions for stuff from living peeps is ridiculously overvalued (which is also my feeling).

    1. LOL!  I had the same thought. I was guessing that during a photo shoot a Butterfinger bar was caught somewhere in the frame and Nestle was suing the guy 300,000 for copyright infringement a la Louis Vuitton.

      “You just dropped a 2600 year old artifact!!!”
      “What a relief, I’m glad it wasn’t NEW”

      1. Same here! We’ve been trained to think that the most valuable things in the world are music files, followed by other copyrights. Antiques pale in comparison to the value of an mp3 or a candy wrapper.

  5. Does anyone else feel that the oldest know figurine statue from over 2,600 years ago should not be in a private collector’s living room?   Indiana Jones was right, “It belongs in a museum!”

  6. I do feel a little bit of sympathy for the photographer, but probably only because a friend of mine once dropped a piece of Chihuly glass while moving it to an exhibit. Although she was lucky–it was only a small piece, and only worth  $5000.

    1. Given that probably all Chihuly did to create the piece in question was to knock it off the blow pipe, she should not feel that bad.

  7. Clearly it can’t be restored to its former glory, but I challenge the owner’s assertion that it can’t be re-assembled at all. Museum curators are quite adept at that kind of thing and do it all the time. A lot of ancient stuff gets mangled by time and has to be painstakingly glued back together.

    1. No curator I’ve ever met glues bits of art back together, that’s normally left to the conservators.

  8. As a fine art photographer, this sounds like a million nightmares to me.

    I regularly handle work that is worth at least that much, but fortunately, is much more durable (paintings on canvas & board from the last ~150 years), and am very, very insured, should the worst happen.

  9. I wonder if this in instigated by one insurer to have another insurer pay. Or were both parties really stupid enough not to be insured.

  10.  In 2000, a beer company filming a commercial in Machu Picchu broke the hitching post of the sun.  Since the bloody Catholics had already destroyed all the spares, the Intihuatan at Machu Picchu was the last one left.  This is probably the actual cause of global warming, you know, the whole Earth is wobbling all around now.

  11. If he was a photographer and his managers knew he was doing something this expensive …
    Didn’t they insure him ? They were supposed to do that .

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