Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
European NFT photography platform Rhapsody Curated today announced a partnership with three leading fine art photographers whose works will be minted as NFTs for the first time ever to raise awareness of, and funding for, the battle against climate change.
The collections—from Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Nicolas Henry, and Namsa Leuba—mark each artist’s first foray onto the blockchain.
Arthus-Bertrand is a French photographer, filmmaker, and environmentalist best known for his acclaimed aerial photo collection “Earth From Above.” Henry’s art combines photography, sculpture, and performance art to create immersive environments that explore such themes as memory, nostalgia, and the passage of time. Leuba is a Swiss-Guinean photographer whose art explores the impact of the Western gaze on African identity; her work has been commissioned by Dior, Christian Lacroix, and Nike, among other brands.
The three artists were brought together by Rhapsody’s Head of Curation, Pierre-Elie de Pibrac, to mint photo collections on the Ethereum blockchain that reflect on the current state of the environment. The photos, which go on sale May 4, each range in price from 2 ETH ($3,685) to 8 ETH ($14,745), with between three and six photos available from each artist.
Over 50% of proceeds from the sale will be donated to Photoclimat, a French charity that raises awareness of climate change through photography, mainly via a massive, bi-annual showcase in Paris that has previously attracted millions of visitors.
De Pibrac’s intention, by convincing the involved artists to mint their works as NFTs, was to further the reach of Photoclimat’s mission to previously unreachable audiences with the support of the blockchain.
“It’s difficult to broadcast [our environmental] message,” de Pibrac told Decrypt. “You need to go to Paris, you need to see the art, to begin to communicate the ideas [represented]. But with NFTs, we can broadcast this message to many more people, and use this technology to allow people to buy pieces of art they couldn’t [otherwise] buy.”
“If you’re in New York or Africa, you cannot buy something from France, the impact is too big,” he continued. “But with NFTs, the impact is very low.”
Rhapsody specifically chose to mint the collections on the Ethereum blockchain, the company said, because of the network’s environmentally friendly reputation. Last September, Ethereum transitioned from an energy-sucking proof-of-work model to proof-of-stake, a system for processing on-chain transactions that has reduced the network’s carbon footprint by 99.99%, according to the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI).
The works of Arthus-Bertrand, Leuba, and Henry selected to be sold on Rhapsody are each thematically and visually distinct, but all are unified by a shared message of the importance of tackling climate change.
“We all have different styles and approaches when it comes to art, but are sending the same messages of urgency,” Leuba told Decrypt.
While a number of crypto blockchains have recently transitioned to less energy consuming models, crypto remains a hot-button issue for the climate conscious. Earlier this month, the Texas Senate passed a bill limiting the ability of Bitcoin miners to drain energy from the precarious Texas energy grid during demand spikes. Meanwhile, a North Carolina county is currently mulling a one-year ban on cryptocurrency mining to assess the practice’s negative environmental impact.
Finally, last week, Solana, in a claimed first-of-its-kind move, began measuring real-time data about its carbon emissions and disclosing it via a public dashboard.