Photo credit: PR Newswire

The image, called ‘Phantom’, is a b&w version of ‘Ghost’, a photo Lik captured at Antelope Canyon in Arizona.

The same buyer snapped up two more of Lik’s photos: ‘Illusion’ for $2.4m; and ‘Eternal Moods’ for $1.1m.

Commenting on ‘the most expensive photograph’ in history, Lik said: ‘The purpose of all my photos is to capture the power of nature and convey it in a way that inspires someone to feel passionate and connected to the image.’

Explaining how he takes an artistic approach to landscape work, Lik added: ‘Certain textures and contours found in nature lend themselves beautifully to black & white photography.

‘The intensity of contrasting light and dark spaces was surprising, but make for some of the most powerful images I’ve ever created.’

The buyer, a long-time collector of Lik’s work, said he was ‘delighted to add these one-of-a-kind photographs to his impressive collection’.

Born in Australia, Lik emigrated to the US in 1984 where he discovered a passion for panoramic photography.

Among his projects is Spirit of America, a landscape exploration of the 50 US states where he encountered ‘perilous deserts, ethereal mountain peaks, lush fields and glimmering cityscapes’.

Lik holds fellowships of the Royal Photographic Society and the British Institute of Professional Photographers.

He became a US citizen in 2013 and his work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

• What do you think about this photograph and its enormous price tag?