My name is Blair Nathan. I've taken the photos featured here at PFTO Labs, and I'm pleased to be able to share them with you.
For a long time, I have enjoyed taking pictures of the world around me, whether visiting foreign cities, hiking in the mountains, or just walking along trails through my local neighborhood. For me, the world outside the front door is an inviting place full of inexhaustible possibilities.
Even an ordinary day is full of countless moments, and photography allows these moments to be captured and treasured. As numerous as they are, moments are fleeting by definition, so the permanence of an image gives us a way to savor the extensive and varied natural wealth that surrounds us. A sunny sky or a cloudy one, a passing encounter with an animal or a flower, the view of a local park or an exotic land laid out before us--to capture that moment with a picture is to record, preserve, and collect the little experiences that accumulate to the stuff of life itself.
Photos are more than a compendium of what we've seen, though. Photography invites us to change the way we see the world, to look around with keen and curious eyes. I've found that, the more exploring I've done and the more pictures I've taken, the more sensitive I've become to the great outdoors. When are those flowers in bloom? What kind of tree am I walking by? What do its leaves look like in the fall? How is the light hitting right now? I look more actively for the beauty in every scene. Even the familiar can surprise and delight. The world is a dynamic place after all: the light changes, the weather changes, the seasons change. There is always something different and novel to behold and record; no two places or moments are identical. The more I photograph, the more I notice. The more I notice, the more I appreciate and the less I take for granted or ignore.
Photography has been there for me in difficult times. I've faced some challenges and difficulties in my own life during the last decade, and we have all endured the disruption to our lives occasioned by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But regardless of the personal or general ills with which we are confronted, the world remains a beautiful place. That beauty is enduring and accessible; it's never very far from us. Photos illustrate this vital truth, and every picture attests to a moment, a sight, an experience that no one can take away from us, whatever else has happened or will happen in our personal lives or in society at large.
There is, then, a paradox at the heart of photography as an artistic medium. The world of the great outdoors is dynamic and ever-changing. We cannot hold a moment in stasis. We can photograph a particular locus in space and time, but we cannot actually possess it, just as we cannot own its ineffable aesthetic qualities. Yet a photo should give us a sense of tangibility and permanence just the same, a sense of ownership. That is essential to the appeal of photography.
This tension between the ethereal and the physical is inherent to photography itself, which is why I believe the innovative use of the NFT concept for this collection of photos is so compelling. Just as photography attempts to link the transcendent and the material, so does an NFT. One could say it is the perfect technological medium through which to express this artistic form.
Finally, PFTO Labs aims to build a community, and photography is likewise well suited to this goal. It is an accessible and democratic medium, especially with the ubiquity of smartphones and the improvements that have been made to their camera technology. Whether traveling abroad or simply walking around our block, we can all encounter and appreciate the beauty of nature. This magic is all around us. A photo neither creates nor depletes it. It's there for all of us to enjoy, and I hope these pictures can inspire members of the PFTO Labs community to experience it for themselves. The world is inviting us to celebrate all its places and moments, and, with a camera or smartphone in hand, we can.
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