The Collector’s Guide to Blockchain Photography
Next week we will be publishing our first special edition for paid subscribers: A comprehensive preview of photography events at NFT NYC (And yes, we’ll be there!)
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Photographer of the Week
Finding Sunshine in the Storm
Danielle Ezzo - The Intentional Object
Brooklyn-based photographic artist Danielle Ezzo has released the first four of a ten-image series titled The Intentional Object. The work consists of the base layers of heavily retouched portraits, which visually demonstrate the grotesque leftovers of the original imagery after the type of extensive editing typically seen in commercial pictures. The process calls to mind a Francis Bacon-esque aesthetic of horror while putting photography’s typical gestures toward idealizing beautification in stark reverse.
Chad White - Minutemen
Seattle-based photographer Chad White’s typographic series, Minutemen, features colorful shell casings found on the US/Mexico border. The title refers to the amateur militia groups that organize to patrol borders as vigillanties. White’s images are presented in the form of evidence of this practice by showing empy shells collected from locations found via these “Minutement” social networks.
Next week Assembly will be dropping a collection titled What Did the Deep Sea Say by New York-based artist Sara Macel. The 32-image collection presents layered, intertwined photographs that retrace footsteps of the Macel’s grandmother in a seaside town by incorporating her 1970s snapshots with the artist’s own landscapes, self-portraits, and portraits of her mother.
The virtual exhibition space MONOLITH Gallery has recently released the third edition of its online exhibitions this week, featuring 21 curated shows comprised of nearly 180 images.
Founded by prominent NFT photo collector and advocate, Chikai, MONOLITH functions as an open curation platform where photographers can submit their own work and collaborate with others. Chikai’s aim for the platform is to reimagine both the gallery space and curatorial process, while privileging diversities of visual voices.
In addition to MONOLITH’s own native website, the platform has recently opened a SuperRare Space for elevating artists discovered on it’s primary platform.
Obscura announced this week that it will be holding an event during NFT NYC at Superchief Gallery. Details haven’t been released yet, however we’ll be sharing details of all the photo-related events during the conference in next week’s special issue.
Raw DAO announced two new acquisitions this week. The first is a piece from the collection Some Kind of Heavenly Fire by Maria Lax, a project that explores the lore of UFO sightings in a small, rural Finnish town through the merging of science-fiction inspired color schemes and onimous, night-time landscapes and interiors.
The second RAW acquisition this week is a work from legendary street photographer and member of Magnum, Bruce Gilden. The image comes from his New York collection, which encompases 50 of the photographers iconic and aggressive street portraits produced throughout the 80s and early 90s. While often criticized for his intrusive methods of photographing his subjects, Gilden’s work over the past 5 decades has acheived wide international recognition.
Quantum’s most recent curated drop comes from Swedish-British photographer AdeY titled Uncensored, which explores ideas of perception and representation in relation to the nude body. The 50-image collection features subjects engaging in performative and sometimes surreal gestures that interact within a range of environments.
Beyond it’s consistent stream of new photography drops, Quantum has spent the week sharing the strong community response its received from the festivities surrounding the opening of its new physical gallery space.
CrΞigh Crypt◎ & NFT𝕊 @CrayCreighMy favorite experience in NFTs beyond a doubt was going to @QuantumNFT #QSLA and putting screen names to faces. So many good people from around the block - @objktcom artists, @proof_xyz and @moonbirds members, yuga fanbois (and girls). @justinaversano & team thank you! https://t.co/TDkVf5SXSC
Photographer of the Week: Eman Ali
Photographic artist Eman Ali’s work explores complex intersections of gender, religious, and socio-political issues related to representations of Arab women, and her work has been exhibited widely throughout Europe in recent years. As a contributor to NFTPhotographers as well as Obscura’s The World Today project, Ali has become deeply engrained in NFT photo culture.
Currently, Ali is in the midst of collectiona series of lyrical and visual-diverse self-portraits titled, Presence, for which the artist states that “I use my body as a way to reclaim my own narrative and presence as an Arab woman.”
PhotoVerso: Can you tell us about your background as a photographer?
Eman Ali: I’m an Omani visual artist, living and working between London and Muscat. Working primarily with photography, text, sound, and installations, my work intertwines gender and socio-political ideologies to question the intricate Khaleeji culture, societies, and women’s representations. I have integrated my practice as a social critique, observation, and investigation of the multi-layered histories of the Gulf, the Arab world, and East Africa. Through my photographs, I work to reveal the untold norms of our society and invites viewers to reflect on the underlying boundaries and systems that govern our lives.
PhotoVerso: What inspires you as a photographer and what do you hope audiences take away from your work?
Eman Ali: So many things it is hard to pin down but a lot of my work stems from my own personal experience as an Arab woman and is a response to my immediate surroundings. I prefer not to dictate what an audience should take away from my work but rather give them the space to fill in the gaps with their own experience.
PhotoVerso: What's the scoop with your latest NFT drop?
Eman Ali: I've not yet released a full collection as I am testing the waters at the moment and observing the potentials of the space and how it is developing. So far I have minted a few 1/1s and a selection from my on-going self-portrait series titled PRESENCE.
Finding Sunshine in the Storm
As of this writing Ethereum has taken a heavy dip under $1600, a price shock that’s worth reflecting on in relationship to the photography market. Over the past couple months we’ve seen a steady decline in photography sales. Some collectors are jittery with predictions of a longer-term bear market in crypto that is tracing larger, global macro-economic trends. For those investors who have been in crypto for a while, the dramatic price swings are no surprise, however we’ve yet to see how these types of movements can affect NFT valuations, given the immense NFT bull run we experienced over the past year.
Inexperienced investors are known to panic in sudden downturns, which can cause huge volatility in short-term price swings. But for those who’ve experienced these cycles before, moments like these become the season for opportunity hunting, rather than fear. And the conditions are becoming favorable to chase alpha while much of the market runs away. In the photography market, this means buying the FUD, trusting your judgement, and conducting due diligence to look toward long-term investments on photography. On this, we have a few suggestions.
As the tide roles out, Warren Buffet once said, we find out who has been swimming naked. As collectors, we now look toward those artists and platforms who continue to build in this downturn because evidence of long-term commitment to the space is always a bullish indicator. We also suggest looking toward artists with a track record of IRL achievements, where critics and curators ascribe their own form of value to a photographer’s work, the cultural value, that helps determine an artist’s staying power in the larger public eye.
This falls in line with our own views that the best photo alpha is a hybrid of NFT-world visibility and IRL careers, a thesis that shakes out artists who privilege follower growth over artistic growth.
Finally, we can’t forget the simple consideration that valuation of artwork not only subsists, but thrives during recessions, and its well known that investors use art as a store of value, and as many investors are buttoning down and limiting acquisitions, there becomes great opportunity to find deep value in the photographers you believe have staying power.