Eight Points -
A Manifesto for professional photography in the digital age

The future of professional photography begins now.

It will look everything and nothing like the past.

The Future of Photography

This unique medium of truth-telling and visual expression is more relevant than ever, as the world’s best photographers continue to burnish their images into our culture and onto our consciousness.

Yet as has happened before, technological change is triggering profound upheaval for the medium and the industry. In the nearly two centuries since its invention, we can point to certain moments when breakthrough innovations changed the course of photography’s history: the Daguerreotypes of the 1840s. Anna Atkins setting photographs in a book for the first time in 1883, the advent of the motion picture and the arrival of Kodachrome film, the iPhone and Instagram.

We believe that we are approaching another watershed for photography. For the past two decades, even as digital technology has opened the medium to billions, as both producers and consumers, it has steadily been undermining the ethics and economics of the professional craft. The big tech companies have brought amazing innovation, but are sapping much of the value of the work from the authors who make the images that matter. In short, for too long now, the amateurs have been driving the destiny of the medium.

We believe that the blockchain can change the paradigm for the professional industry. This transparent and secure digital ledger provides a viable way to trace images across the internet, and reestablish scarcity on the marketplace. Yes, change is coming, and along with the world’s best photographers and those who believe in the power of visual storytelling, we hope you will join us around these 8 basic principles:

1. Truth & Technology

Look at the source. We believe that photography is a profession that is vital to society: for its unique ability to capture reality, document the world and give individual expression to the human condition. As the world is digitized, technologies that advance the craft should be embraced — yet clear limits must be fixed to preserve journalistic integrity, notably around the risk that Artificial Intelligence undermines basic trust in visual documentation.

2. Openness & Ownership

We believe that the best images want to be seen, but don’t want to be free. While the internet has resolved the first half of that equation, the challenge now is to find a way to value ownership without limiting openness.

3. Protocol

To ensure a reliable digital market for professional photographers and visual storytellers, a new technological protocol is required to manage their work that is separate and distinct from the mass of amateur images created and circulated online. We believe the blockchain offers the means to design such a solution.

4. Scarcity

The new protocol must be designed to ensure economic viability for professionals seeking to make a living producing worthwhile images of quality: Blockchain offers the possibility to maintain a single file for any image, of creating scarcity in the digital space.

5. Fairness

Photographers themselves, along with the news media, continue to finance the lion’s share of the best photography. Digital platforms that benefit from those images must contribute to the process.

6. Environment

We have serious concerns about the energy currently required to power the blockchain, and will insist on a solution that is environmentally sustainable.

7. Collaboration & Education

Photographers, media, galleries, private companies, tech industry and the public sector must work together to build a new solution for the industry that is in the interest of society at large. Professionals have both a key role to play and much to gain by sharing knowledge about the place of images in society, and the ethics and economics necessary to sustain the medium.

8. Beauty

It’s in the eye of the beholder. In the eye of the shooter. It’s on your computer screen, between your hands, on a gallery wall. It’s a person or a place, or one inside the other. Beauty is a moment captured in time. Yesterday. Right now. Forever.

Join our community!

We imagine a future where photographs, illustrations, infographics, video content and more will be both secure and flexible, open and profitable, widely seen and always traceable. They are pillars of a whole new economy that will change how we consume stories (and sustain storytellers) in the quest for a more fruitful and equitable digital ecosystem. Will you join us?