Photography NFTs relegate to a secondary role, but they still provide opportunities for artists. Since last year, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) have gained popularity among collectors, investors, and traders.
They’ve gotten a lot of attention in the art world, where provenance is everything and owning the official, one-of-a-kind version of an item is far more valuable than a copy or duplicate.
Some believe that artists who create and store pieces on-chain can use the technology to prove ownership of popular art forms. Photography has found a place among the various art forms that have benefited from NFTs; however, what is the immediate value to artists and consumers?
Indeed, as a nascent, rapidly developing technology, NFTs have limitations. In the first half of 2021, most participants became acquainted with NFTs through marketplaces such as OpenSea.
The initial wave of artists experimenting with this new technology took a personalized, curated approach to onboarding new talent. Twitter Spaces and Discord servers have proven critical channels for NFT ecosystem outreach.
Photography now generates an unprecedented amount of content. NFTs are a tool for accelerating and democratizing content while also providing new ways to monetize those resources.
Marshall Scheuttle, a photographer, told Cointelegraph that the current Web2 model of “compensation by exposure” has been detrimental to artists. Artists cannot freely distribute their work through traditional channels to have a quick and direct positive impact.
Because of the nature of open transactions that make the space more transparent, blockchain technology, via NFTs, has allowed artists to define their terms.
NFTs Provide Individual Pieces of Art
NFTs provide individual art pieces with a sham proof of provenance, which appeals to many artists seeking to reclaim full ownership of their work and reach new audiences.
There is, however, a distinction between provenance and copyright.
The NFT marketplace is the source of most difficulties in enforcing copyright. Many online marketplaces deal in NFTs. The majority of them use an auction-style scheme with varying degrees of curation. These platforms, however, do very little to protect property rights and usage. In some cases, bad actors have been seen stealing photos and then converting them into NFTs.
There is no realistic scenario in which people are not copying or repurposing the work of others. Individuals and businesses have been using imagery without permission in the Web2 world for years with no repercussions — it’s nothing new in digital art.
Copying crypto art is technically impossible because pasting an identical copy of the image cannot capture the information that constitutes the artwork’s NFT component.
The current NFT space encourages the free flow of information while also attempting to value the provenance of content on the blockchain. Crypto artists certify, and mint NFTs linked to the authenticity of their work, which is then uploaded to various marketplaces to reach out to potential buyers.
Rethinking marketing strategies
Anyone with a camera and an internet connection has the same opportunity to make and sell art. More high-quality work will be available with a new wave of professional and amateur photographers entering the space.
To remain relevant, artists in the ecosystem must keep their audiences engaged. Artists establish a vital emotional connection by allowing people in the space to read the story, hear the words, and understand the process.
Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali, a 22-year-old computer science student from Semarang, Indonesia, is a prime example. To reflect on his graduation journey, he converted and sold nearly 1,000 selfie images as NFTs. The collection resulted in a total trade volume of 397 Ether (ETH), currently worth more than $1.2 million.
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