Startup launches crowdfunding model for photojournalists

АвторDana Liebelson
Jan 25, 2011 в Digital Journalism

A new crowdsourcing site could shape the future of photojournalism, helping find cash for far-flung projects.

Emphas.is, planned for launch in early 2011, is marketing itself as an innovative funding platform for photojournalists.

Here's how it works: photojournalists submit pitches to the site, which are then reviewed by a panel of industry experts. If the proposed trip is accepted, a fundraising goal is set. Users of the site can then choose to fund a photojournalist’s work anywhere around the world, including war zones and far-flung destinations.

If the financial goal is met, backers get intimate access to the photographer’s online written experiences and photo archive—allowing them to virtually step in the shoes of an international photojournalist. The photographers still retain the rights to their photos taken during the trip.

The staff -- five international photojournalists -- envision the site as the natural online extension of a growing, global interest in photography. In 2009, for example, 2.4 million people in 46 countries visited the World Press Photo exhibition. The photojournalism blog by The New York Times also receives more than 750,000 unique visitors a month. Emphas.is hopes to create a new sustainable financial model for photojournalists by cashing in on the romanticism of the profession.

Whether this new funding model will change the shape of photojournalism remains to be seen—but it already has an impressive list of endorsers, including Kira Pollack, director of photography at Time magazine and Jamie Wellford, senior international photo editor at Newsweek.

Photo Credit: Mikebaird