Your Guide to Photography in the Metaverse
Photographer of the Week
An Artist’s Obligation
Khashayar Sharifaee - Pilgrims
Iranian documentary photographer Khashayar Sharifaee recently released a collection titled Pilgrims, a portrait series that shares the stories of families staying in cheap hotels while on pilgrimage to the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran. Under the fluorescent lights and worn-down surroundings of dingy hotel rooms, Sharifaee depicts the ordinary and banal with a heightened awareness of his subjects’ places in society, far from the lavishness and dramatics of media spectacles.
Alia Malley - All That is Solid
LA-based photographic artist Alia Malley recently dropped All That is Solid, a collection of images that interplay with the materiality of photographs via hand-drawn mark-making upon physical prints, and scanned into digital space. The erasures the artist enacts over simple and sublime landscape images perform as an act of resistance to “assumptions and systems that control who gets to see what and why.”
Obscura’s ambitious 10k project, The World Today, is about to enter its next phase of development. On May 8th, the platform is holding a “triple launch-reveal party” that will include a virtual exhibition and Spaces talk to coincide with the reveal of its enormous 13,800-piece collection of 1/1 photography, produced by 138 photographers around the world.
The World Today is dubbed the largest photography commission to ever be offered, and is pro Minting of the collection is still ongoing, and pieces are priced at .08 ETH. Owners of the collection will also be eligible for a range of giveaways the team is organizing. There are also rumors of a suprise announcement to occur after the launch date.
Thomas Dworzak - Bitcoin Nation - El Salvador
Obscura also released the sixth drop of its Magnum Season Pass program this week, announcing a collection titled Bitcoin Nation - El Salvador by German photographer Thomas Dworzak. For the collection, Dworzak sought to document the “invisible world of bitcoin” within El Salvador, which was among the first countries to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency. The project explores the physical manifestations of bitcoin culture in the country while zooming out to expand on the larger contexts of the political and social conflicts that plague the nation.
Assembly announced its next drop in collaboration with Bruce Silverstein Gallery, which will see the release of Masterworks, a collection of legacy images from mid-20th century street photographer Frank Paulin. The full collection will roll out with a phased release of 5 distinctive sets of 5 NFTs each, and can be previewed on Assembly’s website.
RawDAO’s shared news of two new acquisitions this week. The latest is from a collection titled Bikes of Burden by Hans Kemp, photographer and one of Raw’s Founding Artists. The project is made up of 130 images taken in Vietnam in 2003, and 2010-11, and documents the culture of motorbike transportation in the country.
Art3 recently dropped its second solo collection with a series titled SuperGranines of Korogocho by Nairobi-based photojournalist Tobin Jones. The project documents an eclectic community of grandmothers in a heavily populated slum in Nairobi, Kenya who have banded together to learn martial arts. The work is presented with overlays that resemble trading cards, complete with different stats relating to fighting styles. While on the surface the work is playful and irreverent, there’s much to be said about the underlying social and economic conditions that underpin the subjecthood of the series.
If you haven’t been following, NFTPhotographers has been running a thoughtful series of weekly community spaces every Thursday.. The chats cover a range of topics including Ethics in Photography, Smart Contracts for Artists, Copyright, CCo, taxes, and many other important issues that NFT creators need to be versed in. Recordings of these spaces can be found in the community’s Discord channel.
Photographer Barry Sutton’s new curated platform, 96 Studio, is gearing up for a drop titled 7 Atmospheres, a 100-piece collection of surf photography by Woody Gooch. While the drop date has yet to be announced, the photographer brings with him years of commercial and editorial success, having shot for brands and publications such as DIOR, VICE, GQ ,Red Bull, and Billabong, among many others.
Photographer of the Week: Mia Forrest
Australian photographer Mia Forrest explores notions of time and the poetic and surrealistic ways it can be expressed. Her collections Bloom, and Bloom II are time-based motion projects that utilize slit scan imaging and time remapping techniques to create futuristic-looking renderings of botanicals that create layers of seperation between the natural world and the virtual one.
PhotoVerso: Can you tell us about your background as a photographer?
Mia Forrest: I'm a freelancer working mainly in photojournalism, and commercial editorial food + wine, so BLOOM collections are completely my creative outlet and direction, merging my filmmaking pastlife with my interest in time-based film techniques, nature, and surrealist tenets. Since I have ventured into NFT's and my work has been cast to a wider audience, doors are now opening for commissioned-based work, and I'm looking forward to continuing theme driven collections like BLOOM II, which was a focus on Australian Native flowers, and in the near future increasing my technical aptitude and expanding into longform flora timelapse.
PhotoVerso: What inspires you as a photographer and what do you hope audiences take away from your work?
Mia Forrest: I have a Masters in Film where I invested my energy into experimental time-based filmmaking (slow cinema). This introduced me to new ways of thinking about how film can subvert time. For example, a time lapse can alter our perception of a life span of a subject in 2 minutes. Within the BLOOM II collection I experiment with gen scripting and time re-mapping, to creative a surreal blooming flower. The flowers mutate and morph into a surreal DNA-like helix structure as they bloom toward a reimagined future. I hope the audience are relaxed by this, and secondly, contemplate how species morph, change, survive, and thrive over time.
PhotoVerso: What's the scoop with your latest NFT drop?
Mia Forrest: BLOOM II is a motion and stills art collection of digital blooming Australian Native Flowers. I partnered with a dear friend, Georgia Potter, an Ikebana trained florist and designer to create a collection of carefully balanced - in both form and colour - floral sculptures. Three of the pieces exhibited as part ot the Vellum LA X Artsy “Artists Who Code” exhibition, coinciding with Women’s History Month and NFT LA. Vellum are an exceptional gallery to work with. Artworks from BLOOM II have since been licensed by Standard Vision and Artpoint for commercial public art displays. There are only a few of these pieces remaining and I am eternally grateful to the collectors and fellow artists who have invested in me.
The Artist’s Obligation
This week, NFT collecting group Poseidon DAO caused a huge stir by tweeting an announcement that it would no longer support the work of photographer Alessandro Bavari because the artist had accepted an offer that was lower in price than what the DAO had paid for another of the artist’s works. The claim the DAO made was that the artist didn’t value the group as collectors, and didn’t value himself as an artist.
The tweet spurred heavy backlash from artists and collectors alike, with many tweeting their support for the artist’s decision. while raising an important topic in proper practices of valuing NFT artwork. This begs the question, just what is the artist’s obligation to those that collect their work?
Artists historically have existed near the bottom rung of the economic ladder. For most, sales of their work occur very sporadically, and it’s simply not realistic to depend on sales as a stable source of income. Without knowing Bavari’s economic situation, it wouldn’t be fair to speculate on his decision making, but can we ever fault an artist for taking a guaranteed sale for lower than what another collector paid for a comporable work?
There are also many factors that weigh in to how an artist values their own work. The time it takes to make a piece, for example, or it’s role as either a primary or supporting work in a larger collection. If one Picasso painting, for example, sells for, say, $50 Million, does that mean all the other works of the artist’s oeveure should reflect that same price? In short: Not at all. And this is essentially the argument that the artist made in a statement he published about the situation.
So just what is an artist’s obligation to their collectors? And from a collector standpoint, is it fair to ask the artist of anything more beyond simply being the creators that they are?