If you pay attention to the world of photography, you may know that YouTube celebrity Logan Paul recently sold a collection of photos titled 99 Originals as NFTs for tens of thousands of dollars per photo.
Is the collection worth that much? Is Logan Paul the artist that’s going to transform the photography industry? Is Logan Paul even an artist?
I decided to dive into these questions, and this video (above) and article are my response and critique of some of Logan Paul’s photos in the 99 Originals collection.
Logan shares that he snapped this photo just as a rainbow came out over the plane. And, randomly, he had a big stuffed animal penguin with them for the shoot to add to the picture.
Sold for: $42,074 (21.5 ETH)
The photo is dark and there’s no unique “moment” that’s captured. It seems like another generic photograph of a famous landmark in Iceland.
#34 “Mermaids Don’t Exist (Anymore)”
This image is of a mermaid centered on some sand. There’s a shadow of, presumably, Logan taking the photo in the corner.
Sold for: $23,380 (17.6 ETH)
The juxtaposition between a mermaid—who’s supposed to be in the water—and the sand creates a unique impact.
#81 “Invisible House”
The house in this image is one of the most expensive Airbnbs to rent in Joshua Tree. The image is striking, with the house blending seamlessly into the horizon.
Sold for: $30,938 (25.43 ETH)
While the composition is interesting, the image doesn’t create a special moment or feeling.
This is both Logan and my favorite photo in the whole 99 Originals collection. The symmetry of the shot would be very tough to capture and, therefore, makes an interesting shot.
Sold for: $24,421 (18.15 ETH)
Amazing composition that’s very tough to capture, combined with some mystery and story.
#21 “Mr. Beast’s First Sip”
Logan shares that this was one of the first photos he took on his polaroid and was nervous about figuring out which moment to capture.
Sold for: $21,366 (15.88 ETH)
The composition is not very strong and without knowing the backstory, it’s just a simple snap with little emotion or story.
#28 “Jake Paul Beats Tyron Woodley in Cleveland 8/29/21”
This image captures a meaningful moment for Jake Paul—winning his boxing match against Tyron Woodley.
Sold for: #20,182 (15.00 ETH)
There could be some refinement of the composition, but this is partly because it’s hard to frame something perfectly on a polaroid camera.
#1442 “Bored Ape”
You’ve probably never seen a portrait of an ape before! And what makes this image unique is that the ape is wearing a custom suit based on the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.
Sold for: $104,286 (46.5 ETH)
I’m unsure about this one—it’s a cool idea, but has some technical challenges (i.e., the 3D glasses do not have the correct coloring).
#31 “Mike Tyson’s Pigeons”
A classic example of how an interesting subject doesn’t always make the image interesting.
Sold for: $44,000 (22 ETH)
The framing is off because half of the frame has nothing to see—either frame Mike Tyson more and bring out the emotion or show the setting.
#84 “Pikachu’s Illustrator”
Well, I like this one because of my personal connection as a national champion of the Pokémon card game! It shows a cool moment and is an interesting subject. The Pokemon card depicted in the photo is the world’s most expensive card, the one-of-a-kind, perfect condition 1998 holographic Pikachu ‘Illustrator’ card that Paul paid $5.275 million for.
Sold for: $83,152 (61.8 ETH)
It needs a bit of work compositionally—the tilted horizon doesn’t add to the shot and could have been fixed.
#64 “Rainbow Rd.”
Resembling the Mario Kart rainbow road, this shot would have been tough to get because of the lighting.
Sold for: $24,811 (18.4 ETH)
Needs some work to fill the negative space and create more of a story.
#91 “A 21st Century Visit to Chichen Itza”
Logan describes this one as documenting “one of the most basic Instagram photos ever”—a guy taking a picture of his girlfriend in front of a famous landmark.
Sold for: $20,720 (15.4 ETH)
The framing could use a bit of work, and there’s too much emphasis on the landmark, which everyone takes pictures of.
Final Thoughts on Logan Paul’s Photography
Logan recently picked up photography and, overall, he’s done a good job with the 99 Originals. They have special meaning to Logan and his followers and make for a cool NFT project, especially compared to other NFTs that have gained popularity.
Though some photos are excellent, many of them could use some more work from an artistic perspective. He struggles with both composition and storytelling at times.
So—the big question remains: are Logan Paul’s photos worth tens of thousands of dollars each and millions of dollars collectively?
I’d say no, but that doesn’t mean there’s no value. Logan Paul’s 99 originals offer some cool NFT perks which increases the value. For example, you can choose the color of his robe and shorts for his next fight or even walk him out to the ring!
The NFT space is an interesting one. Even though I don’t feel like Logan Paul’s photography is worth so much in terms of its artistic merit, he’s doing something innovative and creative.
Overall I would not recommend creating NFTs from your photography unless you are already an established artist and can offer additional perks.
About the author: Martin Kaninsky is a photographer, reviewer, and YouTuber based in Prague, Czech Republic. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kaninsky runs the channel About Photography. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.