Nirvana Photographer Addresses NFT Auction Backlash
Late last week it was revealed that never-before-seen Nirvana concert photos taken from an Oct. 1, 1991, concert would be made available as NFTs coinciding with Kurt Cobain's birthday (Feb. 20) next month. The news of the release generated backlash among the Nirvana and Cobain fan community, something that the photographer has attempted to address with fans online via social media.
According to a press release, the NFTs ranged in price from $99 to a quarter-million dollars, depending on what kind of NFT was purchased. The photographer for the show, Faith West, has agreed to divide profits from the sales amongst two other charitable organizations - The Trevor Project and Grid Alternatives.
West, speaking via the Pop Legendz Twitter account, which is the company facilitating the NFT sale, addressed multiple questions and concerns over the sale of the photos in the NFT format.
In a discussion where it was pointed out that just copying the photo shared online would save the big money people would spend for the NFT ownership, West wrote, "I'm the photographer. For all their considerable downsides, NFTs restore proof of ownership to artists. We make so little for our labor. Right-clicking & copying makes a slave of the artist. For what it's worth, I'm researching the environmentally sensitive blockchains for future."
The discussion continued, "One thing I learned in my long career as a professional photographer was to never tell your client how they should spend their money. Purchases that I wouldn't make myself make my clients happy, so who am I to judge? I do get a very modest royalty of 2.5 percent as the NFTs are sold on to others from the auction - a little higher royalty for the less expensive 'fans sale.' I set a low royalty for the more expensive NFTs since people are paying a lot initially. I'm trying to be fair to everyone."
In responding to another Twitter poster, the photographer added, "Hey, I get why you are suspicious of my project. I'm also a Nirvana fan, and I'm respectful of you and all fans defending Kurt's memory. There's been a lot to hate about the way he's been 'remembered' since his death. My project is a little different, so I hope you'll hear me out. NFTs, for all their downsides, allow artists to retain copyright & make a little royalty off all future sales. We make so little for our labor. Right-clicking & copying has made slaves of so many artists. NFTs have given us back some dignity."
"I'm the photographer-doing the sale in what I hope is the best way. After I take some $ to make up for salary I've lost during COVID I'm giving the rest to The Trevor Project for suicidal LGBTQ youth & Grid Alternatives to get solar to working poor families," West continued.
Elsewhere, West responded to a commenter who called the sale of the NFTs terrible by stating, "So I hope you'll agree with me that this sale is certainly not among the worst things that has happened to Kurt's memory, and I think he would like the charities selected to benefit."
As stated, the Nirvana concert NFTs will be sold and auctioned via Pop Legendz on Feb. 20.