Basic Bro Photographers: #4


The Basic Bros Photography collection by Nick Sheppard brings real portraits into the digital space. Sheppard created 100 self-portraits that are all similar but contain different combinations of “properties” that make each one unique. Sheppard, who founded Basic Bro Photography, wanted to get a piece of the action surrounding other popular NFT projects. 

Like many other people in the NFT space, Sheppard, who works out of Tennessee, got introduced to NFTs because of his involvement with crypto currency.   

“I’ve been trading crypto since 2017. I had heard of NFTs, didn’t really understand it, and kind of just looked at it like it’s not really my space, so I’ll stay in my lane. Obviously the Beeple explosion grabbed my attention, but I really got kidnapped into the space by @KennBosak and here's how...

“When Beeple exploded, I saw that the space could generate a lot of revenue for people in all areas. And that got me thinking... Who do I know that has some fame but could use some more $$. A buddy of mine, Josh Emmett, is a professional UFC fighter. The truth is those guys have the hardest job on the planet, but honestly make garbage for what they go through. I have photographed Josh before so I reached out with an idea to use some of my photos to create an NFT series to try to make some more $$ for him and possibly me. We both had no idea how to break into the space so I said “Bear with me, let me see what I can find out.”  I started asking a bunch of questions on twitter...Enter Kenn Bosak."

Twitter is the public bulletin board for the worldwide NFT community. Its endless inclusivity makes it a great example of what a fertile space for innovation looks like. 

Ken Bosak was the only guy with a big following that took the time to get back to me. We spent a few days going back and forth on Twitter and finally scheduled a video call. On that call Ken spent an hour or so Schooling me on the NFT space.” 

Even though social media is a huge force for connection in the NFT space, seeing people from the NFT community in real life helps to reinforce the validity of the crypto revolution.

"When we were wrapping up the call Ken asked what I was doing that weekend (the call was on a Tuesday if I remember correctly).  I had nothing planned. He then informed me that I had to get down to Miami that weekend for the Miami Crypto Expo. There I could spend more time with him and learn more. He also offered me a way to possibly get my trip covered by shooting some photos of him and releasing them as an NFT collection. Long story long...I made the trip and the rest is history.”

As a self-proclaimed portrait photographer, Sheppard simply created what he saw in popular NFT collections. He produced 100 different real photographs of himself in different outfits and gave them out for free on the NFT ecosystem. Basic Bros were conceptualized as a response to the generative NFT projects but really gave portrait photographers an example of how they could get into the digital marketplace.

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How did you come up with the idea for the Basic Bro collection?

“Honestly out of frustration. Watching 10k pfp projects blow up, then landscape photography NFTs go crazy... I was just trying to figure out where someone like me (a portrait photographer) fit in all of this. So I figured I'd combine the 2 the best way I could. 100 randomly generated portrait photography pfp nfts.”

Is it just one original portrait that you added the properties onto? Or did you take 100 different portraits while wearing the different properties?

“The hard way, lol. It’s 100 different photos. The combinations were created by a program designed by my friend @cryptobeatniks. I went and gathered all of the props/traits from all over the place. Thrift stores, second hand stores, garage sales, amazon, you name it. 

Then we doxed all of them into the program and had it generate 100 random different combinations.” 

What was the process like from conceptualizing the idea to actually minting the Basic Bros on the blockchain?

“A lot of gawd damn work hahaha. A lot more than I actually had planned. So the idea/concept was the easy part. But then it was running around trying to find fun, different, and interesting props/traits. Once I had all of them, I had to inventory and organize and spreadsheet everything. After that @cryptobeatnik plugged all the info into the program and 100 different combinations were created.”

In the pursuit of exploring a new medium Sheppard had to adapt parts of his creative process.

“Then the shooting came. Shooting took about 3 full days, between making sure every pose looked the same and changing in and out each setup, then making sure we didn’t miss or mess anything up - like I said a lot of work. So that was all the easy parts.” 

While adapting to produce NFTs, Sheppard’s also found himself relying on his individual method for developing and editing portraits.

“Then came time for the editing. I have a very unique editing style when it comes to portraits, which I'm sure you can see in the project. The problem is, that editing style takes quite a bit of time. And unfortunately there is no real way to automate it. Each asset had to be edited individually, one at a time. The editing process took a few weeks. It felt like my hands were going to fall off.” 

In the NFT marketplace there are often unintended costs like gas fees or costs for smart contracts. 

“Once all the Bros were completed, the original plan was to have a smart contract done so they could be minted from the website. Unfortunately the total cost of that would have been around $4k. Now, I'm just a regular guy and the sad reality is I just didn't have the funds to get it done. So I sat on the project for quite a while trying to find ways to come up with the money, but unfortunately nothing panned out. That’s when I finally said fuck it and made the decision to just release them for free +mint on Opensea. I'd rather reap $0 upfront money from the project then just let it disappear and die.”

Sheppard decided to release his collection on a strategic schedule.

“I spent a month slowly releasing about 10 Bros at a time, and they actually got picked up quite fast. My only concern is that I hope I’ve done enough to make the Bros as valuable as possible for the holders.”

Sheppard took a truly minimalist approach to his collection and didn’t waste too much time trying to conceptualize hidden meanings. He just basically put himself and his style out there in the form of 100 NFTs.

How did you decide on who to use in the portrait and which properties you wanted to include?

“Who to use was easy, me. I'm free, and no one will come after me for royalties lol. As for the traits, it honestly was at random. I'd just look for things that would grab my attention and be fun.” 

What is the significance behind the silver necklace?

“Just a personal one. My lady got it for me for Christmas one year. It's kind of a weird coincidence, the necklace has a bird (my lady’s favorite animal) , an octopus (my favorite animal) and a blue jewel representing the ocean/water (my lady and I are both very attached to the water)  So I wear it quite often. “ 

Like a truly seasoned artist, Sheppard has adjusted to a changing marketplace where digital art is finally getting treated like art with value.

On the block chain is there a difference between how digitally produced art and photography is treated?

“Yes and no, I believe at one time there was...but it's slowly changing. I have gotten a little push back as to why anyone would want a random photo of me in some hat with some silly glasses and a scarf, but my question back is ‘Why would anyone want an 8-bit pixelated digital picture of a punk?’ Honestly I don't see the difference.” 

The first NFT of the Basic Bro collection was sold on for .09 ETH on January 7, 2022 and the current floor price is at .05 ETH

Looking forward, Sheppard clearly sees NFTs as the future of art in the photography industry. According to the Basic Bro Photographers website Sheppard is planning “Gear” releases to all the owners of the Basic Bros. Similar to other PFP projects on the block chain, the amount of momentum around Basic Bros Photography will determine its success.

“I will always continue to release NFT photography collections, there's no way I couldn't. As for the Bros, there is a lot of upcoming stuff in the works, but I’ve got to find a way to get more attention on the project first. Everything I’ve done for the Bros has been on my own and out of my own pocket, so it’s just going to take time and patience“

Sheppard is a twenty-first century artist trying to find creative ways to survive on the cutting edge of a society that is making daily digital strides into an augmented reality. As a portrait photographer he reimagined the definition of what a portrait is and packaged it in a way that could appeal to collectors on

Sheppard’s “Basic Bro Photographers” collection is the essence of what makes the new digital art marketplace revolutionary, because it’s accessible to all kinds of artists. The NFT marketplace eliminates the “glass ceilings” of the traditional art world and makes genuine art available to online art collectors all over the world and at any time of day.


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