From the “this is pretty nifty” corner of the Internet comes this article about Visual Supply Company, the makers of the VSCO Cam smartphone app, have set up a scholarship for artistic and mobile photographers.
Now, normally, when we talk about mobile photography or smartphone apps, it’s in the context of a brand new area of photography and, occasionally, in hopes of getting them to be more disciplined and more like traditional photographers who walk around with heavy, expensive equipment. And, goodness knows that the traditional fields of photography offer very few scholarships of late. Yes, there are some and they do help a lot. But when it comes to actually giving money to a photographer who can guarantee a return on it (of sorts), such contracts or awards usually go to someone with a good bit of experience, not someone who shows a lot of promise but could use some money and time to hone their skills a bit more.
Photography, like many of the other arts, is a field where practitioners — even professional ones — expect people to spend a while starving for their skills and art before they finally manage to stumble onto a gig that will let them pay the bills. And while there is some merit to having such a rough shake-down, what it really does is close the field to the young and experimental and ensure that only the already rich or the old (who have more money and more leisure time) pursue the artistic bounds of photography. All of the other young photographers are either too busy working outside of the field or are scrambling trying to get enough work so that they can eat something other than ramen. And mobile or Internet photography, what with its share-ability and tendency to be free and easily “borrowed” by others is probably one of the most difficult fields to work in. So, it’s great that some place like Visual Supply Company is willing to put its money where its mouth is and see what it can do to support and welcome new, young mobile photographers to the field.
— da Bird