On April 29, photography-focused tech start-up Picture This is finally launching the ‘Polar Bear’ NFT, which raises awareness and money towards climate change and the impact humans have on our planet.
Digital artworks have seen a booming rise in sales and popularity since the start of the decade. Minting art as an NFT has enabled artists to reach audiences in ways earlier not fathomable. Now, the photography community is finally entering the NFT space.
One devotee is Christian Houge. For decades, the artist’s dramatic photography has provoked a strong emotional response from international museums and art institutions like the California Museum of Photography, Auction Paris, and Three Shadows Photography Art Center in Beijing, among others. This week, Houge is officially expanding his internationally renowned art from gallery walls to the blockchain.
— At first, I was naturally sceptical of NFT art, being an analogue ‘old school’ photographer working for years to finalise my climate-related projects. I am interested in new technology, even if this also represents a double-edged sword in Humankind’s so-called progress. I see that as a Faustian bargain. ‘It giveth and taketh away, so even more important to be conscious as to not lose ourselves and the nature both within us. Personally, I find NFTs fascinating, as this technology is here to stay. It will change how we work and relate. Conscious NFTs with storytelling and provoking feelings are important in the web3 environment, says Christian Houge.
Environmentally responsible art
For Houge’s official NFT debut, the artist is releasing the unseen ’Polar Bear’ artwork from the ‘Residence of Impermanence’ series, along with photography-tech startup Picture This. For the past ten years, Houge has spent his life earnings collecting different rare trophy animals, to subsequently set the large taxidermy collection on fire in front of traditional British wallpapers, which for Houge, represents imperialism. The series, ‘Residence of Impermanence’, highlights how man is violently exploiting nature, for which we consider ourselves superior above all living things.
With This NFT drop, Houge is contributing to wildlife conservation and forest conservation in Paca, Brazil under the project Pacajai REDD+ with partner Offsetra. This is a part of the Picture This impact program to offset the carbon footprint of NFTs. Proceeds of sales will be donated to Earth.Org in support of support Earth.Org’s Global Ecosystem development of photographers, NGOs partners, and global ambassadors, and its operations. The purpose of the Houge NFTs is to raise awareness of climate change and the impact humans have on the planet and to advocate for hope and solutions to build a better future.
The Polar Bear NFT, priced at 0.5 ETH, will be the first to drop from the seven-piece ‘Residence of Impermanence’ collection. The collectors of this unrivalled work of art will gain prioritized access to the rest of the collection, which will subsequently be released. The collection also consists of exclusive behind the scenes video footage of the burning of seven rare animals, with every animal coming as completely unique NFTs. The photographs, regarded as the masterpieces of the project, will be available in editions of five.
All collectors of ‘Residence of Impermanence’ will have the privilege of meeting the artist in person as well as permanent prioritized access to all upcoming drops by Houge.
Picture This is a digital marketplace and cultural hub for photographic art with one grand mission: making groundbreaking photography available to everyone on the planet. The team behind Picture This have dedicated their lives to making photography an accepted genre, by celebrating and communicating the realm.
The next step? Maintaining this energy within the digital universe — bridging fine art and the blockchain with the help of photographers, and making sure that their art will keep a long-lasting cultural relevance.
— At Picture This, we’re passionate about the opportunities that the blockchain creates for photographers. The current NFT space is mainly celebrity and speculation driven. There’s a risk that we’re losing something essential: artistic value and trust. As more collectors are getting into the NFT space, we’re bringing trust and quality assurance, says Ilgi Evecan, Chief Digital Officer at Picture This, adding:
— Art has been a great catalyst to grow NFTs as a new asset class. This makes NFTs not just a technological breakthrough, but a cultural one. I’m excited about how photography NFTs can advance that breakthrough. Photography has always stood for inclusivity in the art space and will do so also in the NFT space.
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