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.
First in this series was a focus on Guido Di Salle. Today I’m interviewing TylersJourney, whose work ‘Sleepless Streets #084 Red Scarlet’, is now proudly displayed in my NFT vault. Capturing the beautiful moments in time that surround us, the award-winning TylersJourney is a visual storyteller from Toronto. Specializing in intimate street photography, he has become known for a ‘cyberpunk’ night photography signature style and has been featured by The National Geographic.
Now let’s get to some Q&A!
Interview of @Tylers_journey
Why is the NFT market important for photography?
The biggest problem photography had for so many years was having your work stolen from you and not having a way to prove ownership. NFTS and NFT marketplaces give the power of ownership back to the artist and this is single handedly its most important feature.
How do you describe your art?
Simply put my photographs are moments in time that often pass us by so quickly and then they are gone. I’m a photographer because I have a longing to be a part of the world around me in my own way and to preserve those beautiful moments forever. My art is simply special moments in time preserved forever.
Who are your target audiences?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific targeted audience, I more want my work to connect with anyone that wants to feel something and be inspired by the world around them.
How do you differentiate your brand?
There is truth in the saying that there is no one else quite like you. I differentiate by being my most honest and true self and put every ounce of my being into what I create.
Why does your photography have value?
The time and effort we put into not only our photographs but every aspect of how we show and display our work I believe can be seen. The value is in my style, presence and 25 years of photography continuing this journey.
What’s your most significant photography achievement?
The summer at the start of the pandemic in 2020 my photography was on display at Torontos Yonge and Dundas square billboards for several months on almost all of the billboards with a saying on my photo “Stay Safe Stay Home” commissioned by the city of Toronto. I don’t think ever again in history you’ll be able to have that much billboard space for that many months consistently again. Was a really amazing feeling. This is Toronto’s “Times Square” basically for those unfamiliar.
Tell me about your favorite NFT experience.
If I had to choose a pivotal moment that changed my life forever it would be last August when @punk6529 retweeted my photography when I had almost no sales and I was 3 days away from being out of my apartment. His retweet caused a snowball effect where my first photography collection sold out. This helped me get back on my feet and find a place to live.
How do you determine your NFT floor price?
Usually a variety of factors like previous sales, market factors and my own personal feelings towards the art I created.
How do you determine what kind of collection to offer? Deciding on Editions vs. Standalones vs. Collections?
This is always very tough. I think it’s all about vision for me, if I feel like I have enough of a vision and curation to create a well rounded collection I’ll do that. I can kind of look at my body of work I’ve created or want to create and get an idea of how to release what. Sometimes it also comes down to personal feelings about a certain image, you get a gut feeling where it should belong.
How much do you typically make per NFT sale? Is your business sustainable from NFT sales alone?
My NFT sales very between Editions and 1/1s but anywhere between 0.05-3eth. I would say it depends on your lifestyle, but I am 100% all in on NFTS since I began over a year ago. I will say as advice to others it’s important to manage your finances in between your big drops etc. because there are always market lows and highs. But if you prepare for them you’ll be okay. For myself and my very minimal lifestyle things are sustainable for me.
What % of your sales come from NFTs?
100% at the moment since joining the NFT community I haven’t taken on any web2 photography work. I knew I had to give this my all and have it be my main focus to be successful. I believe NFTS will be the future of collecting and digital ownership with every ounce of my being and think it’s such a beautiful time be alive.
What comes next for you? Do you have a roadmap?
The only roadmap is to keep creating photography that I hope will inspire the world and make people feel something.
Were you, as a photographer, already well-established before entering into the world of NFTs? Did you already have crypto experience?
Before NFTS I was a professional photographer creating Timelapse’s for commercials/advertising for 8 years as well as still photography commercial work. I was established through Instagram as well but had to start from 0 when I created my Twitter for the NFT community. I had almost no crypto experience before NFTS except for playing a iPhone game to collect crypto, since I was struggling for money at this time because of the pandemic - I played this game to collect enough crypto to mint my first NFTS. That was my only crypto exposure.
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?
Most important is having a clear visual presence via website/gallery and always pursuing being active on all current important social media platforms. I found all my first photography job contacts came from my presence on Instagram.
At what point did you decide to jump into NFTs?
Around February of 2021 I began to learn of NFTS and the idea of them clicked like a lightbulb in my head. As a kid I loved collecting baseball cards, stamps, Pokémon cards etc. this idea of digital ownership just made sense to me in this new digital world we spend most of our days living in.
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 PFP projects that utilize camera properties, photography backdrops etc. I think the cool factor for photography NFT pfps will be with important 1/1 images in the space that only you own. But beyond that what normal pfps have is the cult like following where everyone gets to be a part of this club. I think continuing to add photography related properties to PFP projects is important for visibility in the space.
@coffeejunkienft did a good job integrating photography backgrounds to some of their pfps. They commissioned an image of mine and used it for a 1/1 backdrop for their PFP project as well as some other photographers. I thought that was cool of them.
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’ve seen very recently @dave_krugman add rarity types to his most recent “Drip Drop” project and I think we will see more of this in the future. I think we will see a mix of artists where some like to focus on the image and some on rarity. But myself I’d love to find ways to add rarity types to each image for my work, I just think it’s another fun thing to do for collectors. That’s the beauty of NFTS to me, I think the possibilities of what you can do are really endless and we are still discovering new things daily.
What does the NFT market look like in 5 years? Where do you see the innovation?
It’s hard to predict exactly what will happen, I like to keep focusing on creating art to outlive me. I believe the innovation will come from real world adaption with NFTS. Your home ownership, car ownership, concert tickets, movie tickets etc will all be NFTS. I think that’s what will happen where NFTS aren’t just something to look at, they are either a store of a value, proof of ownership for real world assets and will give you access to any real world utility.
What does NFT photography market look like in 5 years?
Hopefully NFT photography will just be backed by a really great decentralized blockchain, artists will all own their own contracts that’s my hope. I just hope we don’t get sucked into centralized places that suck out all the money they can from artists like stock photography did in web2 devaluing the art form as a whole again.
What’s your view on the NFT market right now?
The artists that are constantly striving to create better and groundbreaking art are doing amazing. I think the market is doing well for the ones putting in really hard work. But I also think there are many artists who feel stuck whether it be from saturation of just decent quality of art, or a lack of visibility or lack of collectors vs artists. I think the market is in a very interesting place and it’s kind of up to the people who are still here to continue creating and building a positive space to be a part of in the future.
What’s the best marketplace for photography NFT creators? Is this different from the best marketplace for photography NFT investors?
If your goal is financial, the best marketplace is Opensea due to visibility, user base and trust. They also take only 2.5% cut from artists, I’m a huge advocate for artists getting fair cuts from sales. For future proofing I think the best marketplace for NFT investors has more to do with the artist using their own smart contract to protect the investor from the marketplace ever shutting down to keep their art on the blockchain. Work can always be reminted for the investor if this were to ever happen. But ownership is important. I believe most marketplaces now allow artists to use Manifold as a smart contract.
S.W.O.T ANALYSIS of your business! Strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats?
- Strength: Stubbornness and patience. I always keep pushing forward no matter what.
- Weakness: Battling my physical health struggles every day and balancing that with creating.
- Opportunities: That my work will most definitely outlive me on the blockchain. This way I can live forever.
- Threats: The constant fluctuations of market conditions and its effect on mental health.
I’d like to close with all the important links i could find on @Tylers_journey as well as some of my favorite pieces from his ‘Sleepless Streets’ collection.
- Twitter - https://twitter.com/Tylers_journey
- Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/tylersjourney/
- Website - https://www.tylersjourney.com/
- Sleepless Streets - https://opensea.io/collection/sleepless-streets
- Streets of Istanbul - https://opensea.io/collection/streetsofistanbul
- Toronto Icons - https://opensea.io/collection/toronto-icons
- Editions - https://opensea.io/collection/tylersjourneyeditions
- Foundation - https://foundation.app/@tylersjourney
- Superrare - https://superrare.com/tylersjourney
- Prints - https://www.tylersjourney.ca/
- Lightroom - https://visualslayers.com/?s=tylersjourney&post_type=product
- Timelapse - https://videohive.net/user/intuilapse/portfolio
- Gallery - https://www.tylersjourney.com/gallery
- Shop - https://www.tylersjourney.com/shop-tylersjourney
- Sloika - https://sloika.xyz/tylersjourney.eth/transit-chronicles