From Rihanna to Gucci to the blockchain, famed fashion photographer Chen Man bets big on NFTs

Chen Man, one of China’s highest-profile fashion photographers, is extending her talents to Web3. 

Today, the polymath launched her ‘Citizens of Mantle’ non-fungible token (NFT) collection in collaboration with blockchain project Mantle. The token drop is free to mint, and will initially only be available to the early adopters of Mantle’s network. 

The project also introduces the concept of “modular dynamic NFTs” to the market. It’s a new take on the assets, which Mantle claims in the drop’s press release will “usher in the next era of interactive NFT experiences” and “redefine the boundaries between creators and collectors.” 

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“A modular dynamic NFT is a non-static asset, meaning that the NFT avatar can evolve in its appearance. With ‘Citizens of Mantle’ specifically, users earn unique add-on traits based on their engagement within the ecosystem,” Arjun Kalsy, Head of Ecosystem at Mantle tells Jing Daily. “As a collection, it reflects the limitless possibilities within the Mantle Ecosystem and serves as a creative manifestation of our ethos of modular blockchain design and token-governed technologies.” 

Renowned for her work that straddles the worlds of technology, art and fashion photography, Chen’s portfolio is expansive. Since breaking into the fashion photography scene in 2003, she has shot a number of global mavericks, including Rihanna and Fan Bingbing.

Her work has also graced the covers of publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and I-D Magazine, and has collaborated with fashion behemoths like Gucci, Chanel, and Tom Ford. 

This isn’t Chen’s first Web3 rodeo. The artist is becoming well-accustomed to the virtual space following the success of her first token drop in May this year, which saw Chen team up with electro-pop music artist and metaverse advocate Grimes. 

The series, “Silent Noise Collection: Episode 01,” aimed to explore humanity’s future in a world increasingly intertwined with AI.

Chen Man teamed up with music artist Grimes on her first NFT series in May. Photo: Chen Man

As photographers find their groove in the NFT market, industry mavens like Chen are rushing to grab a slice of the Web3 pie. British photographer Nick Knight launched his NFT project in November last year, while Ellen von Unworth (who shot the NFTs of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Claudia Schiffer in October 2021), Shavonne Wong, and Marco Glaviano are also exploring the potential of non-fungible tokens as a new form of expression.

“The inherent vitality of the NFT market presents itself in the ongoing participation of luminaries like Chen Man and luxury fashion houses. Continuing to capture the imagination of artists, collectors and investors alike, legitimate forays by world-class brands and organizations demonstrate a resurgence of the NFT narrative — one that goes beyond initial hype and shows resilience post-market correction,” Kalsy says. 

With Web3 taking hold across numerous sectors, its impact on the world of photography has been potent. As other segments like fashion grapple with where digital assets fit into their game plan, image makers have scoped out a golden opportunity for innovation in the arts, a prospect that looks set to expand the NFT appeal.


Jing Meta