NFTs, Community Building, and the Metaverse: The Photographer’s Guide to Discord

What strikes me most about Discord is the intimacy of the conversations.  In the Quantum server, for instance, Elinor Carucci tells the stories behind her tender portraits of her brother, grandfather, mother, and aunt. In NFTPhotographers.xyz, one photographer opens up about how the natural world helped him survive a period of severe depression, while another reflects on finding strength in community amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in Obscura, a group of photographers who are also moms set out to define the “Mother Gaze,” while speaking one-to-one about both the victories and heartbreaks that come with raising kids and documenting life at home. For a long time, photographers have lived on platforms like Instagram, where we’re only exposed to the work and stories of people we already follow. But Discord is changing the game and opening the floor to discussions that are both personal and global. 

Originally made popular by gamers, Discord combines text, voice, video, and chat, fostering candid, real-time discussions–and an accessible point of entry for photographers dipping their toes into Web3. For the NFT photography community, it’s a place to ask questions, follow trending projects, and “shill” your work (when asked). We rounded up this quick guide to some art and photography-centric Discords to keep on your radar. 

This Island

This Island is Feature Shoot’s brand-new Discord. It’s a place for us to share our most recent articles and opportunities for photographers happening around the world, including grants and awards. Members can show off their NFTs, ask questions, share links, and find collaborators for future projects. From now on, we are also accepting submissions through Discord–for free

NFTPhotographers.xyz

Johan Lolos created NFTPhotographers.xyz to connect photographers and collectors from the NFT space. With more than 3,700 members to date, their server offers tips on entering the community and releasing or investing in a collection, allowing members to ask questions and share lessons they learned along the way. 

They also have channels for women photographers in the NFT space and discussions on the business of photography on Web3, from marketing your work to navigating smart contracts. Meanwhile, their AMA (Ask Me Anything) Stage opens up the floor to the community to chat with their curated photographers in real-time. Newcomers to the space can find a wealth of information via their NFT guides channel, where they share best practices, common mistakes to avoid, and more. 

Quantum.Art

Quantum Art is a platform for photographers on the blockchain. With nearly 14,000 members to date, their Discord plays host to “Show and Tell” events with photographers, industry news, general Quantum announcements, open studio-style channels with artists on their roster, and more. 

Browse to learn about Acacia Johnson’s memories of growing up in the mythological landscape of Alaska, Joni Sternbach’s chance encounter on a beach in Montauk, or Justin Aversano’s favorite photograph of all time (hint: it’s a W. Eugene Smith).

Assembly

Assembly Curated is a gallery, agency, and creative studio specializing in fine art photography NFTs. More than 8,000 members strong, their Discord server has channels for photo book recommendations, virtual art exhibitions, open studios with the artists they represent, and tech talk. Tune into Cristina de Middel’s channel to learn about the time spent with a young man growing coca in Bolivia, or visit Simon Roberts’ channel to learn about the journey he took to document life Murmansk, where average winter temperatures hover at -30 degrees. 

Desire Path

Desire Path DAO is a community of photographers navigating the Web3 space together. Their Discord covers photo news, photo books, web3 help, and more. It’s an accessible space where you can ask questions about crypto, smart contracts, AI tools; share your opinions, and connect with about a dozen photographers via open studio-style channels. 

RAW DAO

The RAW DAO is a photography-focused decentralized autonomous organization, incubated by the team at the prominent FingerprintsDAO. “The Raw DAO is an initiative that was formed when one of my images sold for 871 ETH to raise funding for a treasury to support hundreds to thousands of photographers’ works in the NFT space,” the photographer Justin Aversano tells us. Their Discord channels include general announcements (auctions, airdrops, acquisitions, photo walks, and upcoming events), technical discussions, and a place to share your work. 

Fellowship

Fellowship Trust is building an NFT photography collection spanning the 19th century through today. With more than 6,500 members, their Discord is host to a general chat, artist channels, a place to share your work, and lots more. The space is also home to discussions about conceptual photography; self-portraiture; new artists in the space; and the evolving art market, including the stories behind some of the most expensive photographs of all time. In the Early Photography channel, the art historian Kim Beil takes a deep dive into photo history, from 1839 to today. 

Obscura

Obscura is a DAO created to help photographers realize their dream projects. Photographers can submit their projects, and commissions are awarded monthly, with the curatorial team selecting photographers on a rolling basis. Their Discord hosts open calls, community projects, updates on current and future commissions, and more. 

They also open the floor to candid discussions of topics that are too often overlooked in the fast-paced world of social media, including what it’s like to make art–and navigate mental health challenges–during an increasingly complex time in our global history. They also have a comprehensive resource hub for photographers entering the decentralized web, featuring a reading list, podcast recommendations, and more. 

TIMEPieces

TIMEPieces is TIME magazine’s NFT community initiative, with collections that include but are not limited to photography. Over on Discord, which plays host to more than 20,400 members, they have a channel devoted to photography, where you can browse tons of work, discover interesting reads, and connect with leading photographers in the space. Their TIME Stage hosts regular events as well, with an upcoming discussion on security and safety in Web3 and even a guided meditation on the horizon. 

OM

OM is a decentralized, open metaverse incubated by the NFT collector Punk6529, home to the 6529 Museum, one of the world’s leading NFT collections, educational hubs, and lots more. They’re building in real-time, with discussions, input, and suggestions taking place on Discord, where you can connect with more than 19,000 members. Their server also hosts announcements, news, events, general art talks/chats, and beyond. 

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Ellyn Kail

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