At first glance, when looking over the EyeEm website you discover a beautiful mobile app that allows you to upload pictures, share them with the world and discover a variety of similar photos from other users (let’s say the app “learns what you love from the pictures you take”). You are able to explore places, check out topics or different events, all expressed through the wonderful language of photography.
In order to describe best the experience behind the EyeEm project, I asked the founders of this Berlin based start-up (Flo Meissner, Lorenz Aschoff, Gen Sadakane, Ramzi Rizk) and their colleague Severin Matusek from Vienna (head of content and community) a few questions about what they’re doing and why they are doing it. Here’s what I found:
How did you first think about coming up with EyeEm, what was the need that made you and your mates create and design it?
We saw that photography is radically changing. Smartphones are rapidly replacing conventional digital cameras. It’s like a second revolution, from analog to digital to mobile. Revolutionary, because the average camera is suddenly connected to the web. People can take a photo and share it with others in the same moment they took it. That takes photography from retrospective to real-time and unlocks a new form of communication: visual, very fast and emotional. We thought this is totally fascinating. There is an intrinsic need for people to communicate in pictures and we started building EyeEm to leverage the new technological possibilites of photography.
What is the purpose behind this app? What do you wish to achieve with it?
EyeEm enables people to take photos together. At the heart of the app are intelligent photo albums that pick up photos that have a topic, a location or a certain point in time in common. For example, all photos taken at a wedding, street photographs taken in New York City or a colorful collection of rainbows can all be found in one place. All that grouping happens automatically and in the background. We want to interlink all the cameras out there in a meaningful way, so it’s not only possible to communicate through photos, but also to discover the perspectives of others matching the own photo. We want to make photography more collaborative, so you discover more photos by others with every photo you snap.
As for you, Severin, what made you want to join the team?
One and a half year ago I moved from Vienna to Berlin in order to create the Lomography City Guide Berlin, which was released in July 2011. During that time I was looking for new projects to work on and stumbled upon an EyeEm exhibition in winter 2010 at an event about digital arts. I looked at the images on the wall and thought they were pretty nice and in some way similar to the images I already knew from Lomography. Then I read that all of these images were shot and processed with mobile phones and was astonished. The way I remembered mobile photography was very lo-fi, pixelated photographs. I didn’t realize that with the iPhone and other smartphones, mobile photography got a huge push in quality and processing.
About half a year later then I re-discovered EyeEm as being part of the emerging startup scene in Berlin, met the members and got to where I am now. To me it’s a perfect fit since I have worked with photography and communication before. But mobile photography really takes it to a new level. To work in the field where creativity meets technology and to push things forward there is a great thing to do.
Why do you guys believe EyeEm is an idea worth spreading?
EyeEm helps to define and shape how photography is going to look like in the future. We think it’s time to experiment and play, to find out about the communicative impact mobile photography will have on society. Photography is one of the world’s greatest media. It’s worth seeing what happens if billions of perspectives come together – live and in a relevant way.
See you tomorrow at TEDxVienna 2011 😉