Embracing Instagram as a legitimate venue for sharing work was hard enough for some photographers. So the idea of exploring Snapchat, the ephemeral photo app where posts disappear after 10 seconds, well, let’s just say you can hear a collective, heavy sigh at the suggestion of it.
Stigmatized by some for its mostly teen audience, Snapchat wouldn’t seem a likely digital landscape for professional photographers to explore but with any new technology, there are early adopters who aren’t afraid to set off into uncharted territory. One of them is Alec Soth, a celebrated Magnum Photos member who leveraged Snapchat and a strategic partnership to offer interactive interviews and photos to art buyers.
“Like a lot of middle-aged people I didn’t have a clue as to what Snapchat was about,” Soth recently told TIME. “I heard about that sexting stereotype, and I just didn’t understand it.” What to do? The same thing adults have always done when they couldn’t figure out new technology – ask a teenager.
With the help of his daughter Carmen, a frequent Snaphat user, Alec learned the ins and outs of the app and how the user experience differs from that of Instagram.
“On Instagram, I’m identified as a photographer, so I felt this pressure that I’m supposed to make photographs, serious photographs. With Snapchat, I felt kind of relieved that I could be like anyone else and show glimpses of my life.”
Once a Snapchat pro, Soth leveraged his presence by partnering with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The project, Disappear With Me, offers a limit of 3 art buyers interactive conversations with the photographer along with a series of photos for $100. Disappear With Me is already sold out.
“I’m just trying to figure out how this works, learn from it, and see where technology goes from there.”
How Magnum Photos Member Alec Soth Uses Snapchat [Medium, Snapchat Strategy]