Shooting RAW. Part 2
NFT Photography: Supply and Demand
(this is Part 2, go read Part 1 first)
Going back to the original post that sparked my interest on photography
The answers to this post made me think: what prevents photography to reach the same status as say, generative art has achieved in NFTs — even though gen art is pretty niche everywhere else?
The current market of NFT photography is very small when you compare to generative art. For comparison: the market cap for photography NFTs ranges from $100-200M. This is less than a single Art Blocks collection (Fidenza) priced at floor (close to $800M)
I’ve been talking to many photographers to understand where they are coming from, what are the main issues and how is this market going to evolve.
A few observations:
There are many photographers and range of quality is huge.
Many great photographers are not yet in NFTs. The main concerns are related to onboarding (how to mint, where to mint, how to price, how to market) and onboarding risk (am I going to sell? how will this affect my established, traditional practice?)
Also, most artists don’t want to be community managers. This takes a lot of time and effort, and can be a big cost to someone that wants to be mostly thinking and practicing its own craft: i.e. photography.
People appreciate photography general, it’s a universal language. It can be much more easily understandable than generative art for example. But the demand for NFT photography is relatively timid, still. And most still doesn’t feel native to the medium — the only exceptions being collections where true communities have been created around
Many professional photographers come from a framework of art fairs: you come, sell your work and go to the next fair.
But the NFT space, where provenance and community is everything, specially for photographers, requires a different dynamics. You have to stay. It’s a never-ending fair. Some will be ok with this, some will say they’re too old or too busy to bother.
While I can imagine some very high profile photographers being successful with limited community outreach — in the same way Damien Hirst was able to be successful with “The Currency” — the real home runs will be the ones that really build a community.
How to create then a system that on the supply side
(1) provides proper onboarding to the photographers coming into the space, de-risking process of minting, marketing and selling their work, helping them bootstrap a community and taking some of the burden of constantly attending to this community, scaling the whole process;
and on the demand side
(2) provides a strong signal of what to buy to the market in general: proper curation with skin in the game, deep discussions contextualizing the work in photography history, until we get to a point where this new medium (NFTs) starts to influence the art itself and the art becomes truly crypto native
All of that (ideally) should be done in a framework where agency and ownership are given to the artists themselves, in the true spirit of cutting the middleman, but also keeping it able to grow and decentralize over time.
My answer: RAW.
Part 3 incoming.