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This article was published on February 26, 2012

Like a Kickstarter for photojournalism, Emphas.is helps finance visual storytelling

Like a Kickstarter for photojournalism, Emphas.is helps finance visual storytelling Image by: TOM ANG - Fotolia
Robin Wauters
Story by

Robin Wauters

Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.

I’ve been watching the recent surge of renewed interest in the crowd-funding phenomenon with, well, interest, but until earlier this month I hadn’t heard about Emphas.is, which is basically a Kickstarter for visual journalism. Its mission is to connect photojournalists with their audiences via an online platform, and help introduce a new, sustainable model for the ongoing financing of high-quality photojournalism from around the globe.

Emphas.is lets photojournalists ‘pitch’ projects, budget estimate included, after which a committee consisting of photography and journalism experts reviews the proposal. If approved, individuals can contribute a minimum of $10 to a project, which grants them access to a so-called ‘making-of zone’ where photojournalists can communicate with their backers.

(By the way: if you want to see an Emphas.is project that is bound to knock your socks off, you will be very happy that you clicked here.)

Emphas.is stresses that it is still up to the photojournalist to negotiate a publication fee with interested media, but notably, publishers can acquire first publication rights in their market by funding up to 50 percent of any project.

Recently, the fledgling company launched what it calls ‘bookfunding’, helping photographers produce high-quality photobooks in an affordable manner while retaining full editorial and design control.

Funders get to purchase a limited-edition copy of a photobook, including a signed art print. Only 100 copies are made for ‘crowd-funders’, although Emphas.is also sells the normal edition of the book on its site after a certain time.

The site’s new book publishing arm got the attention of the New York Times.

Emphas.is