Image copyright Peter Lik.
Peter Lik's 'Phantom' was sold for an unprecedented $6.5 million and is the most expensive photograph in history. Image copyright Peter Lik.

Paydirt! Eerie Photo Taken on Navajo Nation Brings Record-Setting Price


A famous photograph shot in Antelope Canyon, located in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, has drawn the eye-popping price of $6.5 million, the highest sum ever paid for a photograph.

The image, "Phantom," was taken by Australian-born fine art photographer Peter Lik, and the buyer's identity has not been revealed. The same person or persons also bought two other Lik photos, "Illusion" and "Eternal Moods", for $2.4 million and $1.1 million, respectively. The sales, announced yesterday, give Lik four spots in the list of top 20 most expensive photographs ever sold, according to a press relase.

With shafts of light descending through its deep, narrow crevasse, Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers (as Jonathan Jones points out in a scathing condemnation of the sale in The Guardian), but the ghostlike figure painted by swirling dust in Lik's photo is uncommon, to say the least.

The version that sold for the whopping sum is in black and white; below is a color version of it (titled "Ghost") from the galleries on his official site.

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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
Absolutely ridiculous! I feel for the person(s) who paid the astounding amount for the photo. If you have not been there yet, you may not realize that the images are created by throwing the fine sand on the ground into the air, running out of the photo area and snap the shutter on your pre-positioned camera. Yes, all it is - is powdery sand. In this day and age of technology, a person can photoshop and voila ! - "Casper the friendly ghost in Antelope Canyon!" My hope is that the Navajo tribe is pricing the entrance fee high enough to see a great return on a very, very unique natural phenomenon. We all know that the Navajo chapters are always in need of funds for their community's housing, medical and law enforcement services. Sadly, the nearby town of Page is known for its businesses that do not like its Navajo employees to speak in their native language.

Pediowoman's picture
Submitted by Pediowoman on

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Hmmmm, all I see is some fine dust through a shaft of sunlight in a beautiful cavern. I'm always intrigued with these things and, to be honest, they're more like spiritual Roscharch tests for Christians. I discovered that when I saw the first photo of the "holy tortilla" (a tortilla with the image of Jesus burned into it). I personally saw two dental hygienists trying to make a circle with an Etch-A-Sketch. ____________________________________________________________ I'm glad the Dine' made some money on it.