It all sounds simple enough: if you want to improve your photography, study good photographs and learn from them. So where does one find good photographs? In galleries; in photo books; the winners of reputable competitions; photographs that people are prepared to pay for, handsomely. They must be good. Then I saw a photograph that had been awarded $28,000 for first prize in a reputable competition: a depiction of a corner of a room, just three planes meeting at a point, with what looked like a rough circle, scratched by hand on the negative. ? Okay, maybe I need to go farther up market. Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96 fetched $3.9m at auction. It must be really good, for that price: the head and torso of a sunburned girl wearing an orange sweater and checked skirt, lying on some orange tiles. Lots of orange but I still failed to see the attraction. I decided to skip the also-rans and check out the most expensive photograph ever sold: Andreas Gurskey’s Rhein II. A river, shot from the side, with green banks, a footpath and a moderately cloudy sky. Looks like it might have been shot from the window of a passing bus. Lots of green; lots of parallel straight lines; nice echo of the sky colour in the water. But would I pay upwards of $4.3m for it, even if I had the money? I don’t think so. Okay, now it doesn’t sound so simple. I mean, is a photograph good just because someone says it’s good? I need to give this some more thought.