NFT photography is an often unexplored niche in the larger art NFT sphere. The community may be small, but the collectors and artists that make up this community are as passionate as ever. NFTevening sat down with Ledger’s Jean-Michel Pailhon – a bonafide NFT photography collector – to talk about his passion for NFT photography.
Who is Jean-Michel Pailhon?
Before joining Ledger and becoming the company’s Senior Executive Business Partner and Chief of Staff to the CEO, Jean-Michel established himself as a finance expert. He worked at Euronext (Paris Stock Exchange) and the New York Stock Exchange, before moving to FinTech in 2015. But how did Jean-Michel get involved in crypto specifically?
“Within the FinTech space, at the time, the most intriguing and with the strongest potential, but with the strongest risk, obviously, was the crypto space. So I decided to move into crypto,” said Jean-Michel. A year later, he became friends with the Ledger team after being a Ledger user himself.
Shortly after, the CEO asked him if he was interested in joining the ever-growing team, which was mainly made up of developers at the time. Jean-Michel accepted; and the rest, as they say, is history.
How did he get interested in NFT photography?
Thanks to his direct involvement in the crypto space, Jean-Michel got exposed to the world of NFTs. From the end of 2019 to the middle of 2021, he began to experiment with various NFT categories, ranging from PFPs to photography. However, he admitted that he was not very focused on what he wanted to specialise in at the time. It was simply a “discovery journey.”
This all changed during the summer of 2021. Although he had already bought his first NFT photo, Jean-Michel had not yet specialised in NFT photography. However, that summer, he decided to focus solely on NFT photography. The reason was twofold. “First, because I thought it was one of the segments that was the least populated in terms of demand, it was not so many people connecting. And on the other side, there was a lot of quality,” said Jean-Michel.
From then on, he was completely hooked. Jean-Michel pointed out that he doesn’t just buy any high-quality NFT photo, however. This is because his collection tells a particular story. “I need to connect with the subjects of the photography, I need to appreciate and to like the visual,” Jean-Michel explained. “I need to create my own story on top of the existing story of the photography. At the end of the day, it has to tell the story on its own within my collection.”
And if he could sum up the theme of his collection? “It’s basically about places, emotions, people that I’ve experienced myself,” revealed Jean-Michel.
Why is NFT photography not as popular as other art NFT categories?
It’s safe to say that NFT photography is a niche within the great NFT sphere. Although it has grown steadily over the past year, it is definitely not as popular as other art NFT categories such as PFPs. According to Jean-Michel, this all boils down to money.
“It’s easier to understand speculation elements [with other art NFTs]. PFPs can go grow up in value quite quickly, and then you do flips, etc. I think the community aspect, the memberships or utility, within the PFPs is quite important,” said Jean-Michel.
On the other hand, NFT photos do not flip as much. This is because NFT photography collectors typically buy photos with which they connect on a personal level. As Jean-Michel puts it – “They sell less or not at all on the secondary. So as there is no liquidity. So I think so far it’s a question of imbalance between supply and demand, and the fact that there is no secondary.”
A technological innovation & art renaissance
Jean-Michel’s passion for uplifting NFT photographers is reflected in his Twitter account. He uses his account to share his thoughts about NFT photography and educate artists and collectors about the space. In one tweet, he described NFTs as a technological innovation and art renaissance. Why is that?
After a slight pause to think, Jean-Michel said: “The technological aspect that fascinated me at first is this ability to guarantee the authenticity, scarcity and origin of an art piece, which I have always been interested in as a collector.”
With regard to an art renaissance, Jean-Michel explained that it is primarily the fact that it offers artists from all over the world the opportunity to share their art. He mentioned a particular case where he had the opportunity to buy an NFT photo from a female Afghani artist based in Afghanistan.
If not for NFTs, such artists would not have access to showcasing their art unless a high-profile curator discovers them. This democratization is what continues to attract Jean-Michel to the space. He is so passionate about it that he spent the last year educating and onboarding friends, both on the collector and on the creator side.
Ledger and art NFTs
As Ledger’s Senior Executive Business Partner and Chief of Staff to CEO, Jean-Michel also taught the friends that he onboarded about the importance of security in web3. He describes Ledger as “a backup, it’s a protection for you, and your assets.”
As Ledger has rapidly expanded to include digital assets such as NFTs, the company has also developed Ledger Live. Simply put, Ledger Live enables you to manage your crypto assets and view your NFTs live.
Jean-Michel gave me a tour of how Ledger Live works in terms of NFTs. It’s easy to use, and it’s undoubtedly a handy tool for all those NFT holders who want to keep track of their digital assets. After all, as Jean-Michel puts it, “like every technological revolution, it will bring new players and new people.” Therefore, artists and collectors must protect themselves against those who are only in it for the ETH.