Your organization--a nonprofit or foundation, or even a media operation--values top-quality photography, but the issues you follow are in dangerous, remote or out-of-your-reach places. Photojournalists are finding fewer outlets for their work as media outlets contract and change, and even when jobs are available, the photographer rarely gets to share the excitement of getting that perfect shot. Emphas.is might change all that by bringing you together, in a unique model that aims to remake how journalistic photos are funded and shared.
In this post, the Nieman Journalism Lab describes Emphas.is -- launching early in 2011 -- as a site that:
...will be a platform that looks to the crowd to fund photographers’ work in dangerous places around the world. Similar to other crowdfunding sites like Spot.us or Kickstarter, photojournalists will post trip pitches with a fundraising goal. If that goal is reached, backers will get access to postings from the photographer about his or her experiences and the photographs and videos that are filed along the way. The photos will be initially available to only to backers, but photographers will be free to distribute them as they please — Emphas.is will not own the photographs.It's important to note that nonprofits will not be able to fund more than 50 percent of a particular project, and that media companies also may want in on backing particular shoots and projects. Those who contribute will get access to both the backstory behind the trek to get photos, and the photos themselves, making the site, in essence, a visual storytelling site. From Nieman Lab:
Backers on Emphas.is will get to meet the photojournalist and then ride along virtually as they sneak through border check points and embed themselves with rebel groups. (Imagine getting a text message from the photog you’ve funded: I’m entering a dangerous region of Yemen, will check back in three days.) The experience will drive how the audience consumes the story.The concept struck me as a perfect mashup of nonprofit journalism, crowdsourced funding, and the strong need for visuals in a social-media age. I'm thinking of my colleagues working on global health issues, on water quality in remote areas, in politically sensitive zones, or any place where the visual can help tell a story. Foundations, corporate social responsibility programs and multi-location nonprofits all should take a look at this option.
Emphas.is hasn't launched, but you can enter your email to stay updated. Watch for the launch in January--and let me know if you're going to try this new option for quality photography.
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