One of the questions I’m asked most frequently about the Faces of Open Source project is “why haven’t you photographed (insert name here)?”. The answer is most likely that I just haven’t gotten to them yet. This kind of ongoing photo documentation takes A LOT of time to produce, and while I’d like to do more photo shoots each year, it often comes down to funding.
When I began the project in 2014, my initial idea for funding the project was to produce and sell a coffee table book of the photographs. But over time, I realized that a book would be missing the last 9-12 months of new Faces by the time it landed on coffee tables. Selling a book isn’t a great way to fund an on-going project.
As I continued thinking about alternative (and creative) ways to fund the project, I was also watching this explosion of NFTs (aka Non-fungible tokens) in the art marketplace. As a photographer used to licensing digital copies my photos (or selling physical versions as fine art prints) I wasn’t sure where photography might fit into the NFT universe. But, once I realized that NFTs are analogous to a “digital print”, I began to wonder if they’d be a fun way to fund Faces of Open Source.
And so… I’m excited to announce that beginning on April 7th, we’re going to begin selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the Faces of Open Source photographs.
NFTs for Photographs? Really?
I realize that you might be tired of hearing about NFTs. They’ve certainly been in the news a lot. You might’ve read about how one artist is selling NFTs of his digital art for millions. Or how the NBA has used NFTs to create a market for videos of “moments” from basketball games. The whole NFT space looks like a giant money grab right now. That said, NFTs are here to stay because they make any kind of digital file uniquely collectable – even photographs.
Selling NFTs of photos is very similar to selling limited edition fine art prints (which I’ve been doing for years), except that with NFTs, collectors are buying “one of a kind” digital copies made possible by the magic of the blockchain. When you buy one of our NTFs, this means you will own one of the limited number of copies (of each photograph) we will ever make available. This is currently the only way to collect and own the Faces of Open Source photographs.
Should I buy a Faces NFT?
Yes you should! Here are some of the unique things about our NFT sale:
- This is the largest collection of photography ever sold exclusively as NFTs.
- Each NFT is limited to 755 copies, with only 10 copies of each photo available to start.
- This is my first NFT offering as an artist (some people seem to care a lot about this!).
- These photographs are particularly historically relevant and will become more so over time.
- Part of the proceeds from our NFT sales will go back into the open source community through donations to organizations and foundations featured in the project.
This last item is really important. It’s not lost on me that there would be no NFTs or blockchain (or this project for that matter) without the work of the open source community.
Donors Become Owners
Another thing that I really like about NFTs is that they have the potential to radically change the fundraising conversation around creative projects. Instead of asking (ok, begging) people to make charitable donations, NFTs can be used to sell ownership of a tangible piece of the project itself.
Making a donation versus buying a NFT might seem like semantics, but I think NFTs have the ability to change people’s behavior. Whenever we own something it means we have the potential to build equity. If you’ve ever owned a home, or been granted stock options in a startup venture, then you know powerful a motivator equity is when it comes to making something a success. I want everyone who owns a piece of this project to have a reason to see it grow and flourish into the future. Funding derived from ongoing NFT sales could be the way to make that happen.
If you’re looking for a way to support the historical documentation of the open source revolution, go buy one of our NFTs. 😀