Atatürk’s picture is the first NFT in the world to be called a “artwork.”
When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk sent the negative copy and the picture to journalist Ruşen Eşref Ünaydn 70 years ago, it was the first time a state recognized a non-fungible token (NFT) as an artwork. The image of Atatürk on the NFT was given a registration certificate by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, signed and gave his picture to be used in the press during his first interview with Ruşen Eşref Ünaydn after the Battle of Gallipoli.
Ünaydn was also a poet, writer, and journalist. He served as a deputy for Afyonkarahisar in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for the second, third, and fourth terms, as Secretary General of the Presidency, and as an ambassador. Ünaydn also made it possible for Osman Atilla, a poet and writer like himself, to take the beautiful picture.
Before he died, Osman Atilla sent the negative copy to journalist brahim Kücükkurt, who put it in local newspapers in the 1950s and early 1960s. In 2007, Kücükkurt gave the negative shot to journalist Onur Bayram. Bayram kept the negative for 14 years in a box that was made just for it to keep it safe from light, humidity, and time.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, he made the digital art by putting the negative version of the photo next to the positive version on the computer. “NFT artworks have become popular during the pandemic period. In the simplest terms, NFT can be explained as digital title deeds of works of art. I converted this historical photograph into NFT with the name ‘Photo1918.” Bayram said that he wanted to make a work like this because he was worried about how distorted the negative photograph was.
Bayram said that color photography negatives may lose their color after 30 years and that it is possible that all negative photographs will be lost over time.
He also made a website in Turkish, English, and German that tells the history of the photo.
“Hundreds of thousands of photos, videos and similar digital images are converted into NFT every day. However, the NFT Atatürk photograph differed from millions of other NFTs. For this reason, I applied for registration to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, General Directorate of Copyright last year and received the ‘Registration Certificate for Fine Art Works.’ Thus, the NFT of Atatürk photography became the first work of the world to be certified as a work of art,” he said.