Zigging when others are Zagging — Fun with Fungible Fotos!
gm frens! Reviving ye old blog…
Last month I finally decided to take action on an idea that I’d been mulling over for a couple of months. I created a collection on Open Sea as a way to introduce our new photography brand, Pacific Photography. We specialize in capturing the beauty of nature in matchless large format prints, and aim to make the beauty of nature available in the Metaverse in panoramic fine art photographs. There will also be a few fun animal snaps along the way as I adore taking pictures of animals!
I’m not particularly early to the NFT space. Who knows what’s going to happen in the next few months, let alone five years. I’m optimistic that fine art photography will have a place. My hope is that writing about my experience might help those who are interested in joining the space as I share our work.
Right now, I’m using Twitter as my primary means of communication. I’m still wrapping my head around how to navigate Crypto Twitter and engage authentically. The sheer volume of communication has been pretty overwhelming. There are plenty of wonderful artists, photographers, and creators that have cultivated audiences of their own. Sharing my work on social media has never been my strong suit, but I’m experimenting with doing it in a sustainable and fun way.
There are so many beautiful wildlife photography collections available. Two projects that I really like: Jason O’Rourke and his body of work to help preserve the Hawaiian Monk Seals. And Rachel Wood and her photographs of penguins.
Here are some of my takeaways in the previous month:
- The attraction of NFTs is the scarcity. If you are creating a collection, consider why exactly you’d mint more than one
- Be prepared to upload the artwork itself, a thumbnail, a banner image, and a cover image if you are planning on minting on Open Sea
- “Shilling” or sharing your project when asked on Twitter = yes
- “Shilling” or sharing your project by DM’ing people who haven’t asked for it = no
- I decided to mint on Polygon because of the no gas fees. I’m not sure what this means for long term collectors and their interest in buying work on this blockchain, but it’s what I could afford at the time.
So here is a little deep dive into the genesis for the first collection.
The price of Bitcoin back in December 2021 was floating in the 50k — 45k range. People had been hopeful for a pump to 100k. I had stumbled across the hashtags #LaserRayUntil100k and #LaserEyesUntilFiatDies. Those hashtags seemed to have been generated in early 2021 when the prognosticators were calling for and hoping for a 100k Bitcoin.
I’m not sure why #LaserEyesAnimalPrize popped into my head. Maybe ’cause I like things that rhyme. (All the time!) I decided not to overthink this too much and just go with it.
So I selected four birds and one giraffe that I had photographed at Safari West to model some really lovely laser eyes, and thus our first collection was born.
But I think I did something just a little bit sideways.
An NFT, by definition, is scarce, and pretty much means only one. I, however, minted multiples of each animal. So our collection isn’t non fungible. It’s fungible.
My initial thesis in doing this was that perhaps I could get the hashtag #LaserEyesAnimalPrize circulating in advance of a 100k Bitcoin, piggybacking off the previous hashtag use. Even if our collection is fungible, maybe there would be interest in a limited set of laser eyed animals who are clearly bullish about cryptocurrency. Maybe?
Maybe not. I did end up doing a few giveaways, but my engagement was low. It was during the holidays, and my audience is modest. And I did not Tweet out my links all that much — that’s something that I underestimated, time wise. How much time you could spend, both sharing your work and engaging with the work of other folks. I’m still learning.
At first, the more I shared my collection, I felt a little out of step. Because of, well, you know — lasers on animals. The series is not proper photographic portraits, and not of the illustrative kind, like all of the popular NFT projects from 2021. I didn’t photograph these animals in the wild, just at a nature preserve.
If this all sounds like it’s coming from comparison mode, well, it totally was…
So after catching myself in the “comparison is the thief of joy” death spiral, I decided to write about the experience instead. At the end of January 2022, the market has, well, done a pretty steep correction in the mid 30k range. Who knows when the next bull run will occur. Might as well have fun in the midst of continual market uncertainty!
I like this quote from writer Madeleine L’Engle, who quotes writer Jean Rhys. It’s about the craft of writing, but I think this is applicable in all creative disciplines, including photography:
“Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, ‘Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake’.”
Sharing work isn’t competing with other work that’s out there. It’s trusting that the work will eventually make its way from my home to the home of a collector. It’s trusting that the idea of “we’re all going to make it” is actually true, even if we can’t see how at a given moment. It’s trusting that we can continue adding to the lake of our collective creativity — both in real life and in the Metaverse.
If this collection doesn’t sell, that’s okay. I had fun both taking the photographs and creating the collection. I learned a lot in the process. I’m quite pleased with the individual photographs. I’ll be showcasing some of them (non laser eyed) in an upcoming collection — just saving up for some gas to mint on Ethereum.
I will continue to experiment with sharing the collection and doing giveaways with potential collectors on Twitter. But I know this collection has a lot going on because it is:
B) not quite fine art as it features animals with laser eyes
C) a rhyme scheme driven hashtag (maybe this is a turn off, maybe it will catch on)
To wrap up this post:
I’m going to donate 50% of each initial sale to Safari West, the conservancy where I was able to photograph these amazing animals in the first place. The mission of Safari West is to actively promote conservation and environmental education while imparting knowledge that helps each individual make well-informed choices in regard to the environment and wildlife conservation.
Head on over to Open Sea if you’d like to collect an animal with laser eyes! :)
Thanks for reading, frens! Keep your standards high and limit orders low!