The world of photography NFTs still feels young. The energy is infectious, the community buzzes with delight when artists make a sale, there is a vibe of destiny to be made manifest, and the roads of these frontier markets remain unpaved. But, with new photographers entering NFTs every day, the landscape is quickly changing. What comes next for photography NFTs?
I’m putting together a series of posts highlighting influential photography NFT creators, with each post dedicated to a single artist. In this way I’ll be able to share my own DYOR, bring awareness to important photographers, and better clarify to beginners what the photography NFT market looks like right now in order to set a benchmark for future comparisons.
Today I’m interviewing @GuidoDisalle, whose work ‘Sending My Love’ was the first photography NFT piece I collected. On April 25th, 2022 Guido shot his first full photography collection called ‘Better Off Anon’, a compilation of 33 photos which “intersects fashion & identity with pop culture & crypto” and is also very representational of the type of photography for which he has become known. As Guido stated in his article on the collection:
“The story of BOA (short for Better Off Anon) starts with a black and white image, and winds its way through colours that can only be described as full spectrum. Crypto has long been synonymous with anonymity and identity, and thus in the first shot of this collection the model is seen preparing for the story, or one could even call it the performance, with makeup in hand and the first of many wigs not yet worn, resting on the vanity. The first image is the only black and white image in the entire collection and acts as a prologue to the colours and stories that will follow from the next 32 photographs. Words are not my strength, imagery is, and so I put my heart and soul into creating 33 timeless photos that would live on the blockchain and be appreciated for generations to come.”
On July 16th at 9am, Guido will be recording a snapshot of Better Off Anon NFT holders. Each holder will receive a free airdrop of the Better Off Anon shot that didn’t fit into the collection!
Now let’s get into the Q&A…
Interview of @guidodisalle
What makes a good NFT experience?
I think it depends on specifically which part of the NFT market this pertains to. For pfp and collectible projects I think the most important part of a good experience is the community and watching innovation unfold and projects come to life. In regards to art I believe it’s the connection between creators and collectors and how frictionless this has all become. The human connection is ironically the best part.
What exactly is NFT Photography?
This is a misnomer to be honest. A lot of people use this term but I don’t. We are simply photographers using NFTs as a medium for distribution and provenance.
Why do you think NFTs + photography work well together, as a product?
As I mentioned above, the provenance aspect of photography makes NFTs a natural mechanism to distribute and archive your work. For myself, I never sold photographs before the nft space existed because provenance was always a concern to me. This technology has solved that and offered photographers a pretty frictionless mechanism to get their photographs to market.
Why is the NFT market important for photography?
It’s immensely important. For years photographers (including myself) have had our work used without our permission for profit. I think this market works as a great equalizer because artists can now prove that their work is their own and it also helps establish a general framework for value and future earnings.
How do you describe your art?
Honestly, I generally don’t. I am pretty well known for saying my photographs speak for themselves, but if I had to describe my work I would say I am creating the type of imagery which I was influenced by growing up in the 80’s. I want to be known for taking photos which tell their own stories of uninhibited youth.
Who are your target audiences?
Great question, because I am still trying to figure that out!
How do you differentiate your brand?
I think my name and my work have differentiated my brand all on its own. I’m known to speak pretty frankly about my work and why I love it, and I think that the passion I have for photography shines through and people can see that. I am also no stranger to controversy and I have risen above and gone beyond that many times in my life so people know I am someone that lands on their feet, no matter the obstacles.
Give me your 30 second elevator pitch. Sell me your art…
Your eyes aren’t lying,.
Why does your photography have value?
I think this is subjective and a combination of factors. When I started in this space, almost no one was selling the genre of photography I create, and if they were selling, it was for very small amounts. So in some respects I was one of the first to show that this genre has real staying power (which we already know from the trade art world). Factored into the price is also my work ethic. I don’t take breaks, I don’t stop, I keep going almost 18 hours a day marketing and connecting and creating. That counts for something. Last but not least I have been told by numerous collectors and friends that they can spot one of my photographs a mile away, and I think that says something.
What’s your most significant photography achievement?
Selling Poolside for 33E. The context: When I was starting out, and I couldn’t barely make a sale for 0.75E, I manifested rather publicly that I would sell Poolside one day for 33E. This became a running joke and people made fun of me and tormented me in the space over and over. It has actually become quite the bit of nft lore because about 5-6 months after I said I would sell if for 33E, I did just that. The rest is history.
Tell me about your favorite NFT experience.
NFT NYC besides coming back with covid! It was a really special experience to be able to meet most of the people that have been cheering for me and helping me face to face for the first time and just look them in the eye and say thank you.
How do you determine your NFT floor price?
You know there is no secret formula that I use but I always pay attention to my last sales, the pulse of the market and demand. Usually between those things, my gut can guide me pretty well.
How do you determine what kind of collection to offer? Deciding on Editions vs. Standalones vs. Collections?
Such a great question and we could speak for hours about this. In short: I let my gut guide me. One of the things I have been concentrating on the most lately is trying to accommodate most price points with different offerings and to give people from all walks of life a chance to participate. My Sicilian Kiss project was all about this. I gave away 14812 kisses in the span of 5 hours in a free mint, and I believe it’s the largest free mint to have taken place in photography in the nft space to date. This is a living breathing piece of performance art and has given thousands a chance to get involved.
How much do you typically make per NFT sale? Is your business sustainable from NFT sales alone?
All depends: Sicilian Kiss was free ( I make royalties on sales) and my last 1/1 sale on SuperRare sold on primary for 50E. The range is vast.
What % of your sales come from NFTs?
100% this is all I do. I went 100% all into this space and never looked back.
What comes next for you? Do you have a roadmap?
No roadmap. Continue to innovate, to be an outspoken advocate of the arts and the importance of it and how it fits into the crypto native scene.
Few photographers are doing something in the form of creation that is exclusive to an image being an NFT. With that, NFT photography isn’t a genre of photography - it’s a form of consumption. How are you, or how do you, plan to create a new genre? Or is the goal to increase eyeballs and consumption?
It’s an interesting question. I think we are still experimenting and finding ways to make NFTs more mainstream and I think to do that, we need to increase consumption to a degree. Having said that, I think it’s important to attract the right eyeballs and it seems like the trade art collectors are starting to reluctantly take note. This is an important part of the space maturing as trade art collectors are not interested in flipping a piece of art for profit, they are interested in holding for the cultural relevance over the long term, generally speaking. So to this point I think tirelessly about how to take NFTs to the next level, but in a long term & sustainable manner.
Were you, as a photographer, already well-established before entering into the world of NFTs? Did you already have crypto experience?
I was never a commercial photographer, and my intent with my photography was to create art and most of my images were shot for editorials both online and in print. I happily traded money for artistic freedom in this sense as when you shoot commercially you are not really in control of your “art” and you are at the mercy of the art directors. I had zero crypto experience other than my knowledge that it existed.
Photographers as a whole could benefit from being a little more business savvy. What are some key actions you took to establish your photography career?
Look at who is doing what and take all that info in but at the end of the day, you need to blaze your own path. It’s too easy to take all the advice in the world from everyone that’s ever held a camera and totally lose yourself and your own style in the process. Define what your style is, define what you want to accomplish and pursue it fervently to the ends of the earth if you have to. Filter out the noise.
At what point did you decide to jump into NFTs?
February of 2021
Unfortunately, unlike the world of PFP's such as Bored Apes and Punks, there isn't a cool factor or social media flex associated with photography NFTs within the community. How can photographers resolve this issue? Is there a place for photography PFPs and is anyone already doing this?
I have seen twitter banners rocking photography pfp’s and even Sicilian Kiss makes a cool pfp. The intensity has died down quite a bit but on the day Sicilian Kiss minted and shortly after, you were hard pressed to find an account that minted that hadn’t switched to those lips as their pfp. I think that’s a flex in and of itself, but I think we are a long way out from people flexing art the same way they do an ape or punk. This might be okay in the long run because art is more about cultural long term relevance and perhaps too much flex might make it more fad like for many peoples taste.
I see a lack of traditional NFT-type tokenomics missing from photography NFT collections - there’s no rarity type mechanism for speculators. Why do you think this is the case? Do you see photography NFTs going this direction? Why or why not?
I have seen a bit of this but I am not sure there is much more to it than it being a gimmick. I mean ultimately rarity might be great as a tool to sort through photographs more for archival purposes years down the road, but as it stands I think most agree that art and photography is better off in its most raw and pure form without added noise.
What does the NFT market look like in 5 years? Where do you see the innovation?
I think the most innovation is going to come in how NFTs are displayed and what we can use NFTs for. The majority of things we will be able to do with NFTs hasn’t been invented yet so the possibilities are immense.
What does NFT photography market look like in 5 years?
I think we will see a massive influx of new talent and new ways to monetize work. Sadly I also think this will cause a much greater divide between the photographers that are doing really well and those struggling for sales and visibility. I also think we will see new innovative revenue streams in terms of people being able to license their work in different manners.
What’s your view on the NFT market right now?
It’s maturing. It’s obvious that we are going through a tough time in a broader sense, but I think people are having more refined taste and although some times it seems painfully slow, the maturity is happening.
What’s the best marketplace for photography NFT creators? Is this different from the best marketplace for photography NFT investors?
Yes these are two different things sadly. I think the best marketplace is your own: minting on your own contract is almost always the way to go. Having said that, it seems that SuperRare and Foundation tend to be where investors feel the most comfortable investing larger amounts of money.
S.W.O.T ANALYSIS! What are your business Strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats?
- Strength: My resiliency, I never give up man.
- Weakness: I can’t work 24 hours a day because I would if I could.
- Opportunities: I think my Better Off Anon collection stands a very real chance of going down in crypto art history.
- Threats: We are at the mercy of macro economics, but yet we create!
I’d like to close this article with several of my favorite pieces from the Better Off Anon x Guido Di Salle collection. As Guido says, “Your eyes aren’t lying.” Don’t forget that airdrop on the 16th and follow me on twitter CryptoPunk#4762!