Spread abolishes the necessity to be signed to a agency in order to become a successful photojournalist. Amin Torres and Korbin Hoffman bring bloggers, everyday citizens and professional photographers together with their new crowdfunded project, Spread. Let’s face it: with an abundance of technology from the use of photo editors to 12 megapixel smartphone cameras, it is perfectly possible to create beautiful pictures on a smartphone. I spoke with Torres to help myself and others grasp the idea a bit more thoroughly.
1. On your startup campaign page on Indiegogo, you identify spread as an app that allows everyday people (like you and I) to become photojournalists. Can you explain this a bit more?
Sure, Spread will enable everyone to instantly report images of news events they experience and capture with their smartphones. Clearly, people won’t become “photojournalists” the moment they install the app on their devices, but they will become potential reporters for Spread. Spread will then help facilitate the distribution of these images to bloggers and news organizations.
2. How are people posting to Spread getting credit for their work? If it is unpaid, what is the incentive for people to post?
Everyone that posts to Spread allows us to distribute images on their behalf. This means the photographer owns, and will always own the images they post on our website. If bloggers
and news organizations want to use these images, Spread will allow it under clear guidelines and rules that must complied with. These guidelines are not only designed to ensure that the photographer gets credit for their work, but also to manage who is using the images and where they are being used. As far as incentive, other than a proper accreditation, unpaid content is only for bloggers who can’t afford to pay for the images. News organizations will be required to pay and Spread will split these revenues with the photographers. We are also working on two additional ways to monetize the use images, but I cannot elaborate on the specifics at the moment.
3. Do you think that Spread and apps similar to Spread that will evolve in the near future will take away from the demand of actual photojournalists?
Absolutely not. I can’t emphasize enough about this. People who seriously think that Spread will take jobs away from photojournalist really do not understand what the job of a photojournalist is. Spread wants to leverage the capture of instant moments, the images that are captured by the passerby. Photojournalism is far more than that. While anyone can raise their phone and snap a photo, not everyone can tell a story. Not everyone can take on an assignment and create a visual progression, beginning middle and end, the way photojournalists can. To the contrary, Spread actually has a potential to be the place where amateur and aspiring photojournalist can get a headstart, get exposure, get their images to publications instead of sitting in their hard drives.
4. Do you think Spread is helping the photojournalism industry? Do you predict there will still be majors and programs offered in college for photojournalism?
When Spread is successful, it will create new opportunities for the images to be utilized. This will generate more purchases and feed into a circle of more success and opportunity for photographers. This is our intention. I don’t think Spread will be not helping photojournalists.I am not in a position to make predictions. In one hand, we have about 7,000 newspapers in the world. In the other hand, we have around 200 million blogs that make up for the entire blogosphere. Blogs powered by WordPress alone produce roughly half a million blog posts every day. Our intention is to build a system where everyone taking photos of news events, whether you are a photojournalist or not, has platform to help their work reach farther than it is currently possible. Now, if you are a photojournalist and you know how to take a better photo than the regular citizen using an cameraphone, you will naturally have an upper hand using Spread. My hope is that photojournalists will realize this and lead with the best images on Spread.
5. Can you identify, in your opinion, how technology is transforming journalism?
This is a very open question, I will keep it short and simple: Technology is out there to facilitate things that once were impossible, more difficult, or inefficient. Technology is just a tool, a vehicle. The web has made it almost frictionless and very cost efficient for the distribution of information so a lot of these basic ideas are transformative on their own right. But, I don’t think technology has transformed good journalism, it has just changed the way news is distributed and consumed.
6. What is the impact of this technology on actual photojournalists?
In my view, it has had nothing but a positive impact. Same for people, businesses, publications, etc. It truly comes down to how people use these tools and resources that determine the impact and outcome.
To help Torres and Hoffman ultimately help us (bloggers, proffesionals and citizens) through the creation of Spread, check out their crowdfunding campaign. They have a goal of $150,000 to meet by their deadline on Tuesday, November 13th.
The crowdfunding series is an eight part series pertaining to fashtech and lifestyle. Each article will discuss the crowdfunding platform, an overview of the business or product, and it’s connection to the fashtech industry. Articles will also address how consumers, bloggers, and users are affected by the business or product. To read the articles in the series, click here.