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The photo market breaks into NFTs

NFTs burst into photography as they once did into art, sports, or video games. Photographers and collectors increasingly use NFTs as tools of expression to disseminate their work and generate income directly.

Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can be uniquely associated with digital or real-world objects using blockchain to represent ownership and copyright. Today, photographers, like any creator, are forging an increasingly close relationship with NFTs. A photograph bought for $2,300 sold for $30,400 two months later. In Hong Kong, five photos in NFT format exceeded $1 million.


Photographs and NFT

Because NFTs enable the creation of blockchain-based digital certificates while maintaining copyright immutably, many artists use these digital assets to publicize their work directly. NFTs allow them to monetize photographs without intermediaries and, in some cases, generate royalties for each sale and negotiation of their creations. In the case of collectors, NFTs are also useful in representing ownership rights over the images, a fundamental feature in case they want to exchange, sell, or negotiate a photographic work. Vantica Trading promotes its NFT collections on the OpenSea platform.

Monetization opportunities and copyrights

Blockchain technology and its derivatives are bursting with force in the photographic industry and, in the process, changing the perception that photographers, creators, and artists have about NFTs. Dozens of photographers are now recognizing the opportunities offered by the blockchain industry and NFTs. 

For example, photographers such as Lyle Owerko and Bryan Minear marketed their images through NFTs. In 2020, Owerko launched an NFT collection on the Nifty Gateway marketplace platform. Inspired by his The Boombox Project, created in 2003, Owerko created a collection of six photographs of portable radios – Ghetto blasters, which he bid as NFTs on the same platform.

Minear sold five of his landscape photographs as NFTs in just 10 minutes this year. His NFTs traded between $200 and $2,500. Minear called his experience exciting to Analytics Steps. “It’s exciting to see someone love your work so much that they’re willing to spend some money on it,” he said.

Fighting social media hacking

Similarly, artist Loli Laboureau sees NFTs as a “great way” to monetize and secure ownership. Laboureau complained about how social media harms her work. He explained that he lost the copyright on a photograph he took during New York Fashion Week in 2018. The image went viral on the networks, and people started making T-shirts and posters. However, she didn’t take a dollar from it, she explained. 

Laboureau claims that thanks to NFTs, she has recovered the intellectual rights to her photographs, no matter how often her images get reproduced on the Internet. Also, collecting NFT photographs seems to be a lucrative business these days. A collector of photographic works made a 1,200% profit on one of his works. Earlier this year, the same person sold a photograph in NFT format for over $30,400. He bought the same photo for as little as $2,300 in November.


Five NFT photographs sold for over $1 million

According to a note released by Artmarket, the digital photo market sold nearly 18,600 photos last year, with a price range under $100,000. Thierry Ehrmann, CEO and founder of Artmarket explains that most photographers today work with digital cameras and rework their photos on their computers. Therefore, their images get entirely dematerialized, and there is no reason why they should not circulate much more seamlessly along with NFTs. However, he says many legal issues related to these new assets still need to be resolved. 

Hong Kong has recorded exceptional art market growth over the past ten years, driven by dazzling sales of Contemporary Art. Unfortunately, Artmarket points out, Asian collectors have never been passionate about photography, and none have sold for more than $1 million in Hong Kong. Last year, the best result was for a work by Wade Guyton, which sold for $390,000. However, five photos in NFT format have already exceeded $1 million in Hong Kong.

The most well-known NFT marketplaces in the crypto world are OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, Foundation, Mintable, etc. These platforms allow users to tokenize their photos on blockchain and display them as NFT tokens.

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