A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
The other day, I was doing a search for "woman + sailor" on a popular stock photo site and got several thousand images none of which were usable for my business purposes. Many, in fact, were more suitable for an issue of Playboy magazine.
This was NOT the first time this happened.
Women, especially, are usually represented as either white, thin, and/or half-naked.
Plus-sized women are nearly always in photos we'd label as "food-shaming."
And where are the stay-at-home-dad photos? The people of color as superheroes?
Where are the more mature folks who don't live in a nursing home? The differently abled at work and at play?
I'm sure you've got a long list of things you can't find either.
This is a project for you: the DIY marketer, the solopreneur, the blogger.
And this is a project for our audiences: those we serve day in and day out.
For those of us who use stock photos in our marketing, it's discouraging and distressing to search for photos that represent ALL people. Of ALL sizes, shapes, and colors.
It's distressing because 9 times out of 10 we come up empty-handed.
Let's face it. Our media -- the images we see and consume each and every day -- help us understand who we are and what we mean to the world.
If the world only sees thin, white, cis-gendered people in the images we use in our content marketing and other media, then that's what becomes acceptable and normal.
And when those of us who don't fit "acceptable" and "normal" don't see ourselves reflected in the media, we have a BIG problem.
“If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” ― Junot Díaz
Yes, there've been several attempts to create new collections of stock images that represent a diverse set of folks (women of color in tech is one of the latest), these collections are small (and barely scratch the surface of what's needed) or the simply cost more (like Getty's Lean-In collection, getcolorstock.com and blendimages.com).
I propose we build and source a new royalty-free stock photo site for the DIY marketing crowd.
- Includes images of ALL people in all ages, shapes, abilities, and colors
- Pays its photographers TWICE the standard rate per image as other similarly sized microstock companies
(currently about .25 per dollar)
- Prohibits any images of sexual objectification
- Is built on state-of-the-art platform for ease of use
- Monitors keyword use closely so that searches bring up RELEVANT images
- Consists of TENS of THOUSANDS of images in our first year alone
As we build this new site, we look to partner with photographers and licensees alike. Please sign up for our private email list here.
Risks and challenges
I've got the experience and desire to see this project come to fruition, but of course there are always risks.
Right now, that biggest risk is not having enough money to hire the right professionals to do the job: web designer, programmer, lawyer(s), and financial advisors.
I've heard from many folks -- both potential customers and potential contributors (e.g. photographers) who say they want and need this type of service. I'd love to make this happen and help us all create a more inclusive, representative world.
One of the challenges will of course be finding photos that photographers are willing to license at the micro level ($1-$3 per image on the client side). Currently, other micro stock image sites pay their photographers pennies per purchase.
Here's how I'd structure costs from each dollar earned:
.60 - royalty to the photographer
.10 - legal and professional overhead
.10 - marketing
.15 - profit
.05 - donated to ACLU and/or other organizations that work to counter all forms of discrimination
We'd also need to ensure that all photographers have proper release forms for any models they use. Currently, most stock image places put the onus on the photographer and have them attest that they are doing it right. This is something I'd want to confirm.
If this project doesn't fully fund, it won't happen. So there's no risk to you in promising your support.
Once the project is funded, it will have my full and undivided attention, along with a comprehensive marketing plan and we will work toward building a long-lasting and sustainable site for years to come.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter