Emphas.is newsletter

for May, 2011

Hi there.

As always, we want to thank you for your continued support of visual storytelling through Emphas.is. We have a lot of exciting news to share this month, so let’s jump right in!


We are happy to announce three important new projects on Emphas.is. Please check out their video introductions and share them with your friends.

Shadow of the Condor

Joao Pina

Between 1975 and 1978, at least 60,000 people were killed in Operation Condor, a secret military plan to eliminate political opponents of dictatorships in six Latin American countries. Joao has been documenting families affected by Operation Condor for the past nine years and hopes to complete his project with help from Emphas.is. Backers will accompany him on a trip back to Brazil, the first of three trips that will also take him to the other affected countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

View the project

The Libyan Republic

Michael Christopher Brown

While photographing in Libya last month, Michael was wounded in the same attack that killed photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington and injured Guy Martin. Deciding to return to Libya despite the danger, Michael has launched an Emphas.is project where backers will help him make sense of the current conflict, also uncovering the lost pieces of Libya’s past and present daily life.

View the project

Chester, PA, Rally against violence

Justin Maxon

Since forging deep connections with the people in Chester over the last few years, Justin has decided to go beyond simply documenting the ingrained violence there. By supporting his project, you can support his plan to photograph bereaved families and turn their images into placards for a non-violence rally and community-backed workshops.

View the project


Aaron Huey’s Pine Ridge project blazed past its $17,250 goal to raise a total of more than $26,000 for printing posters and billboards that raise awareness about the unfair treatment of indigenous populations in the United States. Aaron, along with artists Shepard Fairey and Ernesto Yerena, recently spent a day signing posters in L.A., so supporters can expect their rewards to be delivered soon.

Jake Zamzow/Studio Number One

Along with Aaron’s project, four others have been fully funded through Emphas.is. These include a 10-month exploration of migration from the southern-most to northern-most points of the Americas and an in-depth look at the rich Uyghur culture of northwest China. If you’d like to receive exclusive updates from ongoing Emphas.is-funded projects, you still can by donating a minimum of $10.

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We’re also pleased to announce that, while the Besieged project documenting the effects of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo did not achieve full funding through Emphas.is, it has received full funding from the Open Society Institute's South Africa branch.


The Emphas.is team is eager to explore the developing model of crowdfunding for creative projects, to define best practices that will help Emphas.is projects reach their goals, but also to contribute to the growing discussion about crowdfunding in general. Two recent posts on the Emphas.is blog, both about Tomas van Houtryve’s crowdfunded Emphas.is project in Laos, share his experiences and lessons learned, as well as insights from his backers about why they support crowdsourced projects.

Who supports crowdfunded projects? And why?

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130 Editors: Insights from a photographer’s first crowdfunded project

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