PhotoVerso Issue #5
Your Guide to Photography in the Metaverse
Drops of the Week
Photographer of the Week
Ava Silvery // Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah
On the Artist Profile
Drops of the Week
Omar Robles’ City-Textured is a follow-up to his recently sold out City series of street photographs. The new collection expands on the original by introducing manipulation techniques which overlap exposures of city textures and passersby. The resulting works express the symbiotic relationships between the city’s surfaces and occupants.
Newly released Alpha, Beta, Omega from photographer Zak Krevitt is a series of vignettes Puppy Play, a community of escapism in which participants perform as K9s. Krevitt describes the practice as “A hyperactive zen that aids in the switching off of higher brain function to explore the subconscious mind and its primal instincts.”
Fellowship is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to give away greenlist spots for an upcoming 10k photography collection, the first of its kind in the NFT space. The collection comes from the estate of a well-known 20th century photographer whose name and work will be revealed after the minting is complete.
In the lead-up to the drop, the platform is publishing short essays to contextualize the work within the larger histories of photography.
As a gift, PhotoVerso has been awarded 25 greenlist slots to give away to our subscribers, which will allow for 2 free mints from the drop. These slots are available on a first-come, first serve basis.
Register and follow the instructions here. Password: photoverso
Obscura announced the photographers included for its Magnum Commission series, a partnership providing commissions to eight photographers from Magnum’s roster to produce original work as NFTs.
The commissions were funded by the sale of Magnum Season Passes, part of a larger commission program that is fueled by the platform’s mission to create equity among artists and collectors alike. The first release from the commission will occur on February 11th with the drop of new work from photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti.
The platform is also anticipating a late-February release of the work produced for the first season of its Foundry program, which will include the work of 5 emerging and early-career artists in the NFT space. Full information on Obscura’s Commission initiatives can be found on its website.
This week RawDAO announced it’s two latest acquisitions: Piece #1 from Daniel Gordon’s Portrait Studio, and three works from Summer Wagner’s Foundation collection, The In-Between. The two acquisitions signal an even-keeled value for established artists from both the traditional art photography world (Gordon), and photographers like Wagner who’ve engineered strong organic social presence on Twitter and Instagram. Something we’ll touch on further below.
Art3 recently announced that it has become an independent entity, splitting from its original parent company, 1854 and it’s more notable sibling company, British Journal of Photography. While the full reasoning for the move hasn’t been disclosed, the split has caused some controversy when it was realized that Art3.io migrated the 1854’s existing (and sizable) twitter account along with it, leaving the BJP to begin a new account from scratch. The event sparked heavy backlash among some Twitter users, which led Art3 to issue a short response.
The platform introduces new features to NFT market dynamics, including ability to purchase drops with $USD, a virtual waiting room that assigns randomized access to purchasing new drops, and sidecar audio files where collectors can hear photographers talk about their work. Owners of AP pieces also are provided with high-resolution images with printing permissions for collectors.
The platform currently does not allow for the NFTs to be migrated to other marketplaces
Photographer of the Week
Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah (Ava Silvery on Twitter) is a documentary photographer based in Switzlerand, and her work has been recognized internationally through exhibitions, artist residencies, and publications such as NPR and Bloomberg. Along with Matthew Morrocco and Laurent Chevalier, Akosua co-hosts regular Spaces talks that engage in critical dialogue on issues surrounding NFT photography and collecting.
PV: Can you tell us about your background as a photographer?
AS: Photography was an escape from painting, where my artistic practice originated many years ago. My appreciation for the medium derived from physical processes in the darkroom. In the beginning, I used the camera in two parallel universes strictly separated from one another: performative photography embedded in ideational frameworks versus simply recording my life – from playing in bands in small towns to working in the racehorse industry in the French mountains. In the past couple of years, I developed larger bodies of work at the intersection of documentary photography and conceptual image-making practices.
PV: What inspires you as a photographer and what do you hope audiences take away from your work?
AS: I hope the viewer is moved or inspired by the reasonings behind my work and by the work itself. But my intention as a photographer comes from this weird place of wanting to find and crystallize some form of truth, which is utterly absurd given the artificial nature of photography, but it's true.
PV: What's the scoop with your latest NFT drop?
AS: Behold The Ocean is a multi-faceted photography project about climate change's impact on the marine ecosystem and the challenges scientists face during the pandemic. I produced it on my own in December 2020 just after Chile opened borders. There's a generative-photography collectible drop and a 1/1 photography collection with informative descriptions.
I'm working with Max Vergara, an oceanographer from Patagonia, to set up and fund a non-institutional web3-enabled expedition to Cape Horn to contribute to climate research with these NFT sales. It's the first project of its kind, and I'm so grateful for every single collector who has already invested. Art funds science; that's crazy if you say it out loud, and we're making it happen together.
Considering the Artist Profile
There are many factors that play into decisions on what, and who, to collect in the NFT space, not least of which is the reputation of the artist themselves. Artists can be broken down into loose categories like “legacy” and “emerging,” but on a more fundamental level there are distinctions to be found between photographers who are active in social media and community-building practices, and those who enter the space with existing reputations from the traditional photography world, but who may not necessarily engage deeply with the NFT community.
On the face of this dichotomy exists a question: Which of these two categories fundamentally offers more long-term value for collectors? For community builders, the success of Justin Aversano’s Twin Flames is a prime case study in the potential of dedicated community-building from within the NFT world. There are few as active as Aversano in not only self-promoting and networking with NFT collectors, but engaging in larger platform-building with Quantum, which rewards collectors for their continued engagement.
On the other side are photographers who have achieved a great deal of success in the traditional photography world, and are onboarded by curated platforms like the aforementioned Quantum, alongside Assembly, Fellowship, and other emergent platforms. Aside from the curation of these platforms to bring in strong photographic voices, the bull case for investments in these photographers may be consideration of the long game, in hopes of traditional photo collectors and museum collecting interest emerging in the future. On the flip side, there may be risk involved for cases in which photographers drop NFT work and disengage with the community altogether, which can result in suppressed potential for secondary markets to emerge.
Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, particularly for those collectors who simply collect the work they love. However as the floodgates begin to open for photographers entering into the market, greater discretion is required on the part of collectors who look for new investing opportunities that will pay off for them long-term.