Cooper Ray: A Photographer's Love Affair with New York
Cooper Ray is an American photographer whose primary muse is New York City. He has even curated a special NFT collection dedicated entirely to this iconic American metropolis.
Ray's affinity for the Big Apple, a fond moniker for New York City, stems from his lifelong connection to the metropolis — it's where he was born, raised, and educated. Initially, he hadn't envisioned a photography career, even though he often mingled with industry professionals in his father's studio. However, inspired by the city's atmosphere, he later decided to immortalize his personal view of it.
His enthusiasm for extensive cycling tours across New York's varied neighborhoods greatly influenced his work. Camera in hand, photography became a natural extension of his explorations. He became adept at identifying numerous locations and angles that could authentically depict the intricate life and grandeur of the city.
Alongside his urban photography, Cooper Ray eventually extended his lens to natural landscapes. This new direction served as a refreshing change and a mental escape from the urban chaos. He took cycling trips outside the city limits, capturing straightforward but enchanting snapshots. This venture not only broadened his artistic horizon but also provided a psychological break from the city's relentless pace.
Embracing the digital art revolution, Cooper ventured into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies. This led to the creation of his first and so far, only digital photo collection named "CITY BLOCKS." This series offers a multifaceted view of New York City, encompassing its diverse landscapes and the everyday life of its residents.
The CITY BLOCKS Collection. Source: Official OpenSea website
This collection features 44 unique photographs on the Ethereum blockchain, each in a singular edition. The minimum price for these NFTs at the time of writing is 0.6 ETH, and it appears that most collectors are not eager to sell these unique NFT photographs.
Cooper also envisioned creating a decentralized community to connect photographers, videographers, and other creative professionals globally. He initiated this by releasing a special NFT collection intended as a membership pass to this community. However, the corresponding Discord server seems to have fallen into disuse.
Post CITY BLOCKS, Cooper hasn't released any new collections, although he continues to be involved in the NFT space. He also maintains a YouTube channel, featuring videos of his bike rides through New York. It's unclear if his absence from new projects is a permanent step away from photography or a temporary pause, signaling a potential future resurgence in Web3.