Which one arouses the most emotions?
I want to preface the rest of this article by saying that I am an NFT photography team. Despite the reservations about which I have written, I fully welcome photographers who make money by any ethical means necessary. Experimenting with art and technology is fun; no industry should aim to limit that. But photographers are often consumers, and I ask those who are intrigued by NFTs, especially those who seem to favor them over traditional printed photography.
Photography Prints Vs. NFT Photography
Whenever a new form of photographic consumption comes to life, the natural thing to do is compare it to similar products. A digital image and a printed photograph are the same product but delivered differently.
And this is something important to note: the delivery. Because the way a photographer presents an image dictates how it is received. We’re big on emotions here at The Phoblographer. And, of course, photographic NFTs can make you feel something. But compared to a printed photograph, the experience can never be the same. Here’s why.
My trip to a photo gallery
I recently visited a small museum in Mexico. The museum had an entire section devoted to photography. From beautiful landscapes to details of volcanoes, curators have hung large and small prints on historic walls. It was breathtaking.
Seeing the first impression, I was in total awe. The level of detail was so incredible that I felt like I was in front of the stage itself. I was obsessed, unable to look away. Forgetting my surroundings, I was transported to new lands and far from the museum. This is not hyperbole either. The mental impact of seeing such a beautifully presented print completely caught me off guard and was lost in an overwhelming sense of love for photography.
It’s not often that I visit a gallery, especially because of the pandemic. But being there reminded me of what a photograph has always been meant to be: physical.
NFT of photography in the digital world
In many ways, the digital world has suppressed our ability to connect with our emotions. Watch how we interact with each other. We have dehumanized our experience of how we behave online. Everything that happens online goes through a 13 to 15 inch screen. No smell, no sensation, no expert judgment can be made through a screen. It is a very simple way of life.
Photography NFTs, in my opinion, continue a similar trend: an emotionless online product. That’s not to say they aren’t impressive. There are many talented photographers in the industry who create awesome NFTs. Cath Simard, guest of our podcast In the mind of the photographer makes exceptional NFTs. But if you asked me if I wanted the physical or digital version of his photographs, the former would win ten times out of ten. His work already amazes me. To see his photographs in a large 20 × 30 print would be foolish.
But in my opinion, photographic NFTs are not about consumption; they are talking about the blockchain game and money.
I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert in NFT. I know photographers need to invest money when hitting their NFTs through third party platforms. I also know that most of them are not breaking even. My belief, however, is that NFTs are a trend in our ever-growing digital world, and that’s okay. Photographers can make money and consumers can rub the ego that they own an original. This is the department where NFT prints and photography share something in common, but in my opinion it’s the only one.
Thoughts from a curator
I visited another small photo gallery in Mexico because I wanted to repeat the feeling I had the first time around. I wanted to remember why I love this job so much. While I was there I spoke to one of the Conservatives. Unfortunately, I was unable to enter their name. During our conversation, I asked them what they thought about the digital consumption of photography and NFTs. Smiling, they said to me:
“The beautiful thing about art is that you can consume it in different ways. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but as long as you do it, because the continued creation of art is important. Whether it’s a huge impression like you see here, or an NFT you see on your computer, being able to feel something and be carried away is an integral part of our happiness, especially in our current climate where every day seems to be the end of the world. “
“Do I prefer printed art, a photograph, a painting? Sure. But print photography and digital photography are different experiences. People come to look at prints on a wall because it’s a beautiful day, a thing to do with others. While visiting, they can get away from it all and be amazed at how detailed the photograph can be. An NFT can never provide the same experience, but it can provide experience. This is something you should consider.
While they are in the same photographic fruit bowl, I have learned that comparing prints and photographic NFTs is no different than comparing apples to oranges. Both can coexist in the photo industry, and both can be full of importance and value.
Speaking to the curator, I realized that while I think there is no comparison in terms of feel and experience, the same may not be true for someone from other. NFT photography versus prints is a battle we don’t need anymore. Instead, it’s time to accept that the two are here and that they could be here for a long time. The imprint will never die: I’m sure. As for NFTs, time will teach us about their lifespan. Thanks for reading.