Crowdfunding

https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/crowd-funding/

Both articles are perhaps only slightly interesting to me, in that I’ve no real intention of getting involved in any photography project that requires funding anyway. The Lightstalking article is useful but in the end comes down to just good project management. Decide what you are going to do, work out how to do it, what it will cost, when it will deliver, then build a viable set of project controls. What it doesn’t mention is how to define the project in the first place. One fundamental aspect of project management is having clearly defined goals, which to a certain extent is not ideal for any artistic endeavour. It is often the case that a photographer starts out with an idea that in the end becomes something different as the work progresses. If the eventual deliverable of a photographic project is too rigidly defined upfront, either the photographer finds him/herself constrained to stick to an idea that no longer seems appropriate or the result changes so much from the initial idea that some backers may wonder what it is they have got involved in.

The bit that I think the Lightstalking article misses out on is defining the project in such a way that the artist is clearly left with room to manoeuvre if his/her vision changes during the work.

Both articles refer to crowdfunding sources that seem to have disappeared since then. Emphas.is now describes itself as a news site but seems to be mostly random articles. There is a small piece of text suggesting it still is a photojournalism funding source but very hard to tell. Lightstalking also mentions IndieGoGo as another funding site but that now seems much more directed towards emerging technology rather than anything photographic. The OCA article also mentions WeFund.com, which seems to have disappeared altogether. There is a site WeFund.co.uk that suggests it is still some sort of crowdfunding site but is not well laid out or easy to find anything useful. I came across Crowdfunder.co.uk, which perhaps is relatively new so may not have existed when the two articles were written, which does seem to offer a way to attract funding for almost anything, so may well be useful. Otherwise Kickstarter is still around as well.

What seems common from all of the above is that the idea of crowdfunding has taken off, the supporting business model is perhaps not so clear. Given that several of the funding sources mentioned in the two articles no longer exist in their original form does suggest that it is not as straightforward as suggested in the articles. Given the eight or nine years that have elapsed since the articles were published, it is likely the novelty of crowdfunding has worn off, and that like many other democratic web sources, it is harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.  Which brings us back to the thought that the most important bit is not just a clearly defined project, but one that stands out as being something a bit different.

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