Catchy title, huh?
I was poking around recently trying to find out if there was any kind of secondary market for some chappie's prints, and wound up searching more widely, chasing down a new train of thought. Here's something interesting.
There basically is no secondary market for photographic prints.
What this means is that when you purchase a print from, let's pick some neutral party, say Ctein, the value of that print drops instantly to zero dollars. In the rather strict sense that you cannot sell the thing for money. Perhaps $0 is a bit much, but you're very very unlikely to be able to sell it for anything like what you paid for it.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy them. There's lots of reasons to buy Art, and investing is surely the least of them. Buying Art with an expectation or even a hope of selling it for more is a fool's game at the best of times.
There are a couple of takeaways here. When some joker goes on about how his photographs are "held in the collections of blah blah blah" what he means is that he sold some prints to some guys. He's trying to give the impression that he's basically Vermeer, but for photos. He's not.
The reasons to buy photographic prints are many. Probably you like the picture, that's great! Probably you like the photographer as well, and want to give him some money, that's also great! Incidentally that's part of why there's no secondary market -- why would I buy your Ctein print for $200? I would actually rather spend $400 and give that money to the artist, because I think Ctein's pretty OK, and also there's that thrill of direct connection. (insert appropriate numbers to suit, of course) This is perfectly reasonable and a fine idea.
Finally, don't expect to become an Important Artist as a photographer. You may well sell a few prints, or even a whole bunch of prints. Those prints will go up on people's walls, and some time in the future, into the trash. Your prints will, almost certainly, not be passed down generation to generation, and they almost certainly will not be re-sold to other collectors.
Books, interestingly, do much better in the secondary market.