What is an NFT and Why I have decided to put my Photography on a Blockchain. 

What is an NFT and Why I have decided to put my Photography on a Blockchain. 
What is an NFT

NFT Photography is here and for Photographers, this is great news. Every so often a new technology will come up that can and will affect how to trade, perceive things and own things. One such technology is the NFT. This technology is promising to change the way we sell art, and I am here for it.

I believe NFTs will be a game changer for Photographers, and it will bring back to life a lot of beautiful pieces of photographic art that may have never been shared, otherwise. It is something I think it will add value to Photography as a whole with more photographers looking to create art. I have decided to join the list of growing photographers who have decided to put their work up and immortalize them as NFTs. Before I explain why, let me first explain what an NFT is and elaborate further why it will be a game changer for Visual Artists, most especially Photographers. 

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. We know what a token is. A token is physical or virtual object that represents something. What does it mean for a token to be Non-Fungible? Well, let us first look at the meaning of Fungible – When something is fungible, it means you are able to replace it with another item. So, a non-fungible token is a token that cannot be replaced. When you put your visual artwork as a non-fungible token, it pretty much gives it authenticity and says hey, this is the original, this is the starting point and no, this particular instance of it cannot be duplicated. You can call it a digital certificate of authenticity. 

How do I sell or collect Photography as an NFT? 

First of all, NFTs are attached to cryptocurrency. The most popular one being used at the moment and the one I use as of writing this is Ethereum. You will need a cryptocurrency wallet like Coinbase to first of all list your NFT.  Collectors can purchase your NFT using Cryptocurrency like Etherium or Rarible, depending on where you list your NFT. The funds will be transferred to your crypocurrency wallet as cryptocurrency and if you want, you can convert it to Fiat, which is another term for money. From your listing to the purchase to the transfer, everything will happen and be logged on the blockchain. This blockchain can be tracked and is more transparent.

What is a Blockchain?
NFT Photography blockchain

A blockchain keeps a record of your cryptocurrency or NFT transaction, digitally. It records any transaction made with cryptocurrency. Let’s say you put your NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, the blockchain records every transaction made with that cryptocurrency and how your NFT moves from collection to collection (if the collector decided to sell it) on that blockchain. A collector can purchase an NFT for 1ETH and if the value goes up, sell it for 5ETH. All this will be logged on the blockchain. In this case, you can call it a transparent ledger for your artwork. 

What does it mean when you put your Photographic art as an NFT?

It means you are giving your original work a digital footprint. Throughout the lifetime of this piece of artwork, photo, or any other form of visual art, you can use that token as its certificate of authentication. Wherever it goes and whichever hands it gets exchanged on, the token will follow, and I believe this is a game changer for visual artist, most especially Photographers who may sometimes find it hard to valuate their art. 

Why NFT Photography?

When I first heard about NFTs and the prospects of having a digital footprint for my Photographic work, I was curious and excited at the same time. I decided to delve more into what this NFT does and during my research my excitement grew. This is a game changer, I told myself.  While surfing through most of the NFTS out there, I noted that most were digital works like drawings, paintings, gifs, animations, but not a lot of Photography.

This meant, to me, there is still a huge void that has not been filled and by golly we shall fill it. It means in the coming months and years we will see the rise of more NFT Photographers. If you sell physical prints of your work, you can literally create an NFT and that NFT can come with a physical copy.  You can attach trips, classes, and so many extras to your NFT but most importantly, you are attaching long term value to your work. I feel like with NFTs, the possibilities are endless.

Why is Photography important in the NFT space?
Light Show by Toni Payne

Photography is one of the oldest art forms and in my opinion, one of the most impactful. If you check history, photographic works have told stories and pretty much been a good source of us being able to go back in time. What foods were we eating in 2021? How was it presented? How did photographers in 2021 perceive things like still life or styling food, or landscape or architecture, travel and daily life. What was the political atmosphere like? I believe these things are important to document and are invaluable assets. Instead of valuable images wasting away on someone’s hard drive, the prospect of selling them as an NFT can give them life. 

You see, Photography is about the most notable art form that documents life as accurately as possible. It is unique in what it achieves and, in my opinion, one of the most useful when you wish to look back at history. I also feel like because in modern times, most people have camera phones, photography has become an underrated type of art form. I believe NFTs can change this.

That one Question Photographers ask about NFTs

If there is one question, I see getting asked by Photographers about NFTs, it is about copyright. Who keeps the copyright to an image that is sold as an NFT? The simple answer is the photographer does. This is absolutely not a new phenomenon in Art. You have the option of transferring rights but by default, the artist always owns the copyright to their art. What you are selling is technically a variant of this product. The original copy on the blockchain.

You the photographer can keep the rights and can still produce physical copies or merchandise to promote the art further but on a blockchain, it belongs to the owner’s collection. There can only be one original NFT. This is one of the things that makes NFTs so special. So, the NFT gives blockchain ownership but not the copyright to your image, unless you agree to give it up. Keep in mind, all through art history, even with historical pieces like the Mona Lisa, even when the physical art piece is owned by the collector, the copyright has stayed with the artist or its estate until 70 years after the artist dies. I wrote more about this here.

My Photographic Style

My work is a mixture of Photography and Photography with Mixed Media. I have an affinity for still life photography, you can see it in my photos of food and places. I also love Architecture. As a matter of fact, I simply love to document what I find interesting. When I shoot created still life, I love to create with shadows.

At the same time, I love to capture the world around me, so when I shoot found still life, I work with angles and my environment.  The goal of photography for me is to freeze in time how a person, place or thing looked at a particular point in time. This sometimes has no rules. So, when asked about my style, I say it varies, because I believe your creativity should never be boxed in. As creatives, we are on a constant journey of learning and being inspired and I feel like our art should translate that. I don’t limit myself to one style. Even famous artists like Monet changed their style with time. 

Photography as an art form 

What a lot of people do not know is that Photography is an art form that is centuries old with its first attempts dating back as far as 1717. The earliest known surviving photographic image however was done in 1825 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce using the “heliographic process.” 

When you now apply photography and think of it in an art form, just think of it as the same way a painter takes their brush and with each stroke, paints an image that captures our eye. This is also how a photographer takes their camera and captures an image of something, somewhere or someone that captures our eye and sometimes our soul. 

NFT Photography solves some problems. 

As a visual artist whose focus is photography, one of the challenges I believe I have faced is value. In an oversaturated market, how do you stand out? You know your work is great, you see its value but how do you translate this value? I believe the NFT fixes this issue. The NFT gives the image a sort of immortality, providing it is not deleted, albeit digitally. It can’t be damaged during shipping. No one can pour soda on it, and it is not going to rip because someone ran into it. What are the chances right? Well, you never know. 

Why Metal Prints? 

I offer optional Metal prints for some of my Still Life Photography art. One of the reasons I chose Metal Prints is because of durability and quality. Metal Photography Prints give access to both. As far as Metal prints go, the durability simplicity and style is something I feel my work deserves. What also makes it great is that, when you purchase my digital art form on a blockchain, you can also get the physical version to look at. 

My Visual Art and it’s NFT Photography

My photography journey has been tumultuous. I came from an industry where I had it all figured out to start afresh somewhere where I had the knowledge and skills but not the recognition. It also came with me trying to find my creative voice and I believe this was the hardest part of it all. Most creatives understand the challenges of trying to find a place for your art in a vast world. Photography has been not only an outlet for me but also a savior of some sorts. When I pick up my camera, I do so with the intent of capturing images I am very proud to say I captured. As time goes on, I will continue to put my work up as NFTs. I hope this new found motivation will inspire me to capture more images that are timeless. 

How do I purchase your NTF Photography Art?

Because my Art is on the Ethereum blockchain, you can purchase my NFT Art using the crypto currency Ethereum. My collection titled Everyday Africa is on Opensea. I am also on Foundation and Rarible. You can simply follow the links or click the image on my Website, choose which work you would like and make your purchase using your Ethereum Cryptocurrency or ETH. If you do not have Ethereum yet, you can purchase some on most crypto currency apps and transfer to your wallet

As time goes on, and I continue to see the world and capture more visuals, I will put more of my work up as NTFs. You can view some of the ones I have available now here and feel free to support with a purchase knowing you are purchasing authentic work from the artist, a Photographer. If you would like to learn more about NFTs you can follow me on Twitter @ToniPayne