Nirvana photographer reacts to backlash of concert photo NFTs

Last week, it was revealed that a series of photos taken at a Nirvana concert in 1991 would be available as NFTs on Kurt Cobain’s birthday. The announcement drew considerable backlash, and the photographer took to Twitter to address fan concerns.

The Nirvana History Auction

The photos in question were taken by photographer Faith West and feature “never before seen” images of the rock band six days after the release of their ‘Nevermind’ album, “a few weeks before they were to become famous”. The auction is being hosted by Pop Legendz and will feature four unique NFTs of GIF artwork created from five of the images. In addition, 10 black and white and color still images will be included in the auction.

Those who purchase the NFTs will also receive a framed 16×24 inch art print of an image, signed by the photographer. GIF moving image composites will start at 67 ETH, or around $250,000, while still images are expected to start at 1 ETH, or around $3,000. The auction is set to open on February 20, which would have been Kurt Cobain’s 55th birthday.

The backlash and the response

The topic of NFTs is regularly met with mixed reception, and Nirvana fans in particular have spoken out with questions and concerns about the sale. Reported by strong threadWest responded to several of them via Pop Legendz’s Twitter account and attempted to put fans at ease by pointing out the benefits of NFTs for photographers and also stating that half of the proceeds from the sale will benefit The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that helps at-risk LGBTQ+ youth and works to prevent suicides.

“Hey, I understand why you are suspicious of my project. I’m also a Nirvana fan, and I respect you and all the fans who defend Kurt’s memory. There’s been a lot to hate about how he’s been “remembered” since his death. My project is a little different, so I hope you’ll listen to me,” West says.

“NFTs, for all their drawbacks, allow artists to retain their copyrights and collect a small royalty on all future sales. We earn so little for our work. Right-clicking and copying have enslaved so many artists. NFTs have given us back a certain dignity,” says the photographer.

Despite fairly strong opposition to the plan, West and Pop Legendz have not deviated from the plan and the sale is still scheduled for February 20.


Picture credits: Header photo elements licensed via Depositphotos.

Jack C. Nugent