I first met Kevin Miyazaki over email when I hired him for an editorial travel story on French Canals. Over the last few years, we've remained in touch brainstorming ideas and supporting each other as entrepreneurs and creatives. A couple of weeks ago, a group of photographers (of which Kevin is a member) launched collect.give: an online gallery of photography that also gives and supports when you buy.
I was curious about the thinking behind collect.give and so I asked:
Why was collect.give started?
The working photographers that I know don't make large incomes, so donating to charity in a substantial way isn't very easy. collect.give provides a way for photographers to help make change, by using what they have at their disposal: the photographs they've created. We may not be rich or powerful, but we can create beautiful things, which just happen to have value. The idea is enabled by both the growing and established online photo community - sites like 20x200, Flak Photo, Humble Arts - and collect.give seems like a logical addition to the web landscape. And of course, technology such as PayPal, WordPress and Twitter make this possible, where it wouldn't have been, just a few years ago.
For this launch series of images, what was the process in selecting the images? Essentially how did collect.give decide on these six?
The choice of photographs, as well as the charity, edition size and pricing, is left up to the photographers. It's important that they're fully invested in their images and causes.
How are photographers selected to participate and why is participation closed to photographers willing to donate work?
The grass roots nature of the structure - the idea that the photographers are pledging that their profits will be donated to the causes through personal donations - requires a certain amount of trust by visitors to collect.give. For that reason, it's easiest to work with photographers I know or whose reputation is well understood. But I'm also a fan of so many photographers, and extending the invitations is incredibly fun for me. The inaugural group of John Loomis, Susana Raab, Dalton Rooney, Emily Shur and Allison V. Smith are all photographers whose work I greatly admire, and who understood the potential of the idea, partly because of their own experiences and successes online.
What kind of benefits are there for photographers in grouping together to present/market their work?
I embrace the reach of the internet, and how it translates to the contemporary photography world - it's an empowering time, and anyone can have a voice today. But collect.give has a wider reach than any one photographer is likely to have, in selling or displaying their own work on a personal blog or website. Just by spreading the word and reaching out to our online photography friends, we had over 5,000 visits to the site in the first week.
In what way(s) do you see collect.give evolving?
I think it's too early to tell, but the goal is to keep it very simple and direct: You find a photo you'd like to own, are moved by the cause it will support, and then click Buy. And if you don't buy a picture, but have been enlightened by the description of a non-profit doing terrific work, well then something good has still taken place.
As Kevin mentioned in the interview, the tools out there now make marketing so much easier so I wonder how many more photographers will pool their resources and talents to reach minds and hearts.
Visit collect.give here to see more images and to read more about the great causes each photographer supports. Show your support by purchasing a photograph. It's really a steal!