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NFTs and me: meet the people trying to sell their memes for millions

Technology | The Guardian

Once, people who owned viral photos made little money from them. Now, the ‘original’ can potentially sell for an enormous sum. But are buyers savvy investors – or unwitting dupes?

The photographer Jeff McCurry’s favourite Harambe memes are the ones where the dead gorilla is in heaven, Photoshopped alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, Tupac and Muhammad Ali. “It’s like: wow,” says McCurry. “What greater spot can you be placed in? Harambe’s at the top of the hill, waiting to meet you there.”

McCurry took the photograph of the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla that went on to become a meme. In it, Harambe kneels, projecting a fearsome aura of strength, nobility and calm. A former volunteer photographer at Cincinnati zoo, McCurry was there on 28 May 2016, the fateful day a three-year-old boy climbed into the gorilla’s enclosure, forcing zookeepers to shoot Harambe dead. “It didn’t seem real at first,” says McCurry, who was a regular visitor to the zoo. “When any of your friends die, it’s hard to process. I was in shock.”

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June 23rd 2021, 1:38 am
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