NFTs have changed the landscape of photography. They allow photographers to share their work with a wider audience, enjoying more recognition and reward for their work. Here’s our roundup of the most famous photographs already sold as NFTs.
Words by Urth HQ
Photography and ‘non-fungible tokens’ (NFTs) are a natural pairing.
They greatly benefit photographers, giving them more control over their work and allowing them to earn what they deserve for their art as well as enjoy greater freedom to pursue photography as a career, thanks to diversified and expanded income streams.
For buyers, NFTs provide a much wider pool of talent and selection of art to collect, without having to travel or be in the right place at the right time to view collections. Buyers can either choose to purchase and sell works to make a profit, or display them at home. Additionally, every time a buyer sells a piece, the artist receives further commission of the sale.
A lot of early adopters have already jumped on board to invest in, or submit their art as NFTs. There are a number of photographers who’ve already made a name for themselves in this space, including Aimos Vasquez, Randall Slavin and Platon.
“The end goal would be for photographers to be able to handle their business and to not be afraid of the threat of copyright or credit.”
Who are the most famous NFT artists?
One of the most well known NFT artists at the moment is Mike Winkelmann, an American artist otherwise known as ‘Beeple’. Trained in graphic design, he creates beautiful digital artworks and short film clips. He made a record-breaking NFT sale of a JPG file titled NFT Mania. It sold for 69 million in 2021. The sale attracted the attention of industry players around the world, and became a catalyst for the rise of NFTs in popular culture.
It’s not only artists who are making it big in the NFT world. Actress Mila Kunis is part of the team behind a hit web series called Stoner Cats which you need an NFT token to watch. Legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is also selling NFTs based on his original Pulp Fiction screenplay and Snoop Dogg is another well known artist who recently released a collection of NFTs that pay tribute to his early years.
NFTs offer the unique opportunity for photographers in particular to reach a wider audience of passionate art collectors and dealers, allowing them greater opportunity to make a living from their works.
“Until We Disappear” x “White Roses for My Soul To Keep” by Randall Slavin
Chris Cornell was a famous American rock icon, known for his lead vocals and guitar work for both Audioslave and Soundgarden.
In 2017, Cornell visited photographer Randall Slavin for a day-long photoshoot. Slavin took countless photos, not knowing that this would become Cornell’s last ever photoshoot before his death.
At first, Slavin shelved the photos before deciding to release them with the world. The collections are titled ‘Until We Disappear’ and ‘White Roses for My Soul to Keep.’ Both feature slideshow collections of the images taken of Cornell that day. They are candid, moving, and offer a genuine insight into his magnetic personality. Both NFTs originally sold for a combined 22 million and are only expected to increase in value.
“Love Is War” by Aimos Vasquez
XXXTentacion was an American rapper from Florida who garnered a cult following before sadly passing away in 2018 at just 20 years old.
His legacy lives on and there is just one image on XXXTantacion’s Instagram page today that is actually an NFT photograph titled ‘Love is War.’ It was captured by photographer Pedro Aimos Vasquez and has since become one of the most liked and commented on posts in Instagram history.
Despite its popularity, Vasquez never received the credit for his photograph, which is why he released a collection of photographs in 2021 including his infamous ‘Love is War’ image — sensibly called ‘Now Crediting: Aimos’.
The collection and sale was designed to promote how important it is to give credit to the artist behind the work. It sold for an undisclosed amount and finally gave Vasquez recognition for his work. He now runs a successful business capturing and minting NFT photographs of the world’s most well-known rappers and musicians.
During the release of his work on the NFT platform Blockparty, Vasquez commented on how important they are for the photography industry.
“We now can create additional resources for young photographers and for those who aren’t as well-informed, and moving forward, we’re creating a system to give artists more opportunities,” Vasquez shared. “The end goal would be for photographers to be able to handle their business and to not be afraid of the threat of copyright or credit. NFTs solve this issue, and I’m thrilled to start this off by releasing my work on Blockparty.”
“Beauty and the Beast” Collection by Marco Glaviano
Marco Glaviano is one of the world’s most well known fashion photographers, renowned for his work with models Iman and Cindy Crawford.
No stranger to trendsetting and trying new things, he was the first photographer in the world to publish a digital photo back in 1982. A couple of decades later, he made the move to NFTs and launched a collection of images in 2021 called Beauty and the Beast. It features the world’s most recognisable models and even a portrait of controversial former president, Donald Trump.
Glaviano commented that after 40 years in the industry, he was happy to have a new platform to continue “pushing the boundaries of what digital photography can do,” as he’s always done.
“Edward Snowden” by Platon
British photographer Platon is one of the world’s most renowned photographers, capturing more world leaders than anyone else in the world including six American presidents. He’s been making waves in the NFT photography world and is primarily focused on using art and photography to highlight important social issues. He’s photographed activists, worked with the United Nations to document human rights and spent a year working for The New Yorker photographing civil rights leaders.
His first NFT sale is still one of his most well known. Titled Stay Free, it features a digital portrait of Edward Snowden made with pieced together pages from his landmark court ruling, which outed the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance activities. The NFT sold for a massive 5.5 million, with all proceeds going to the Freedom of the Press Foundation.