Exploring the Future of Storytelling
ICP hosted an inaugural #hackthephoto April 30–May 1, bringing together photographers, filmmakers, developers, designers, makers, journalists, and visual artists to explore the future of storytelling.
Presented by ICP’s New Media Narratives, a one-year, full-time certificate program, #hackthephoto provided an opportunity for 80 participants to collaborate on 18 projects creating engaging content from multimedia and mobile to video and virtual reality.
Throughout the event, participants heard from guest speakers, worked with mentors, and partnered with other attendees to submit ideas and projects for contests and challenges.
“We conceived #hackthephoto as a weekend designed to push photographic and visual communication innovation in the ever-changing media landscape. The hackathon is about connecting creative people and providing an environment where they can collaborate and then seeing what they can come up with in less than two days,” said Elizabeth Kilroy, chair of ICP’s New Media Narratives program.
Stephen Mayes, a visual communication strategist and former CEO of the photo agency VII, delivered a keynote address and ICP Dean of School Fred Ritchin discussed the Four Corners Project, a collaboration with the World Press Photo Foundation and Open Lab at Newcastle University. The project establishes a new standard for image contextualization and credibility, and was presented at the World Press Photo Awards Days in April. Other speakers included Ross Goodwin of Word Camera, Sasha Koren of The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab, and VR filmmaker Milica Zec.
“Telling Stories Differently,” a contest and mission sponsored by EyeEm, received 20,000 submissions prior to the event. The Verse Storytelling Platform Challenge Grand Prize was awarded to Gareth Smith, a 2015 ICP alum, for his “In Tompkinsville” project.
Evaluated by judges Josh Raab, Erik Hinton, Elizabeth Kilroy, Rodrigo De Benito Sanz, and, Kenan Davis, the #hackthephoto winners were:
BEST CONCEPTUAL PROJECT
“When Objects Speak - An Interactive Exhibition Prototype,” by Simon Kessler, Shaminder Dulai, Zelda Zinn, Brandon Freiberg, and Maya Tal
BEST TECHNICAL PROJECT
“Baltimore Sings the Blues,” by Daniel Sircar, Gabriella Demczuk. Mohini Freya Dutta, C.J. Clarke, Jen Tse, and Benjamin Jens Norskov
VERSE PLATFORM CHALLENGE BEST STORY
“End of an Era,” by Anja Hitzenberger (ICP Faculty)
“Bid My Photo,” by Michele Palazzo, Jared Milcer, Erin Fiorini, and Horatio Baltz
“Contextualized,” by Brandon Freiberg
The lead #hackthephoto project manager was Soumita Bhattacharya, a 2015 alum of ICP’s Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program. Students and alumni who successfully helped produce the event include Cyndie Burkhardt, Mengwen Cao, Daphne Chan, Evan Cisneros, Caitlin Healy, Fabiana Sala, Susan Sawyers, Alex Taylor, and Muyi Xiao.
Mentors included Debra Anderson McGrory of Datavized, Hanna Sender of the International Business Times, Shameel Arafin of Time and Signalfive, documentary filmmaker and photographer Ligaiya Romero, Jen Begeal of Storyforward NYC, and visual journalist Lisa Iaboni.
The event was made possible with support from Verse, Blink, EyeEm, Lomography, Impossible Project, and Splashlight Studios.