Social media has ensured that most of us interact with photography every day. Amateurs and professionals alike are often grouped together on platforms like Instagram - a company that is successful in offering anyone the opportunity to visually express themselves, provided you have an internet connection. We all love Instagram, no doubt, but what about those who take photos for more than just the likes?
Enter 500px, a Toronto operated online community which showcases the work of professional and hobbyist photographers. 500px offers their millions of members worldwide the opportunity to showcase their photos, while also making some cash and allowing them the opportunity to potentially turn their hobby into a career. In an interview with Lensbaby, an innovator in the photography lens space, co-founder of 500px Evgeny Tchebotarev shared a little about their contributions to the community so far:
"Last November we started a highly successful program of guest editors choice. We invite recognized and accomplished members of our community to influence the future of photography by selecting unusual, unique and fresh new photos to Editors’ Choice. Editors’ Choice is highly influential place, so if you photos gets picked there, you might see hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of new followers. Some got their start there, going from being a hobbyist to a professional from an Editors’ Choice pick.
But that’s not all. The team at 500px is also keen on educating their followers, which is done through use of their blog iso.500px.com. Posting only original content, they focus on providing tutorials, tips and tricks, news and inspiration which can be invaluable for photographers who wish to widen their skill set or even start raking in some dough by properly licensing their photos.
After scrolling through their blog, we came across a post that inspired our own blog post. In it, the author introduces 500px Studio - a division of the company that is dedicated to connecting photographers around the world with opportunities to work with clients and brands.
What really struck us, though, was the subset of this division titled FOCUSED. It’s long been proven that photography has the capacity to tell great stories, and even raise awareness on critical issues. At 500px Studio, they have made it their mission to ensure the intersection of Art and Activism. FOCUSED is the sponsorship of quarterly photography projects in which 500px Studio, along with the photographers that they collaborate with, create a visual series focused on worldwide social topics that require our attention. The goal here is to contribute to the visibility of specific matters through visual storytelling: ones that are accessible to all demographics. Awareness is the first step to creating solutions, and documenting global issues through the lens of photography ensures that all who wish to participate can do so, regardless of what language they speak.
Their current series, Orange the World: Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls, aims to educate the world on the topic of violence against women. Photographers across the world, in areas such as Brazil, Slovakia, Japan, Canada, the US and the UK, to name a few, are penning visual essays to accompany their photos, with hopes to educate and mobilize the public worldwide.
We encourage you to read about FOCUSED’s current campaign, inspired by the United Nation’s UNiTE program here, as well as follow some of the visual essays here.
500px is one of the 2017 winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which recognizes Canadian companies for their innovation, rapid revenue growth, entrepreneurial spirit, and world-class achievements.