June 25, 2014 16:51

What better way to introduce you to CoinaPhoto than by a chat with its founder, Shahab Fraz Mirza. We caught up with him to find out why he created it and how he hopes it will change the face of social media photography.

Why did you set up CoinaPhoto? 

CoinaPhoto was created to acknowledge not only the vast amount of photography content that is shared across social media platforms, but also to empower and reward the photographers themselves – giving them the opportunity to earn money from the content that they have created.

What’s your experience in the photography industry? 

I love all forms of artistic expression and I find photography to be particularly interesting since it captures moments in time that are precious to individuals, cultures, nations and humanity in general – while I am not a professional photographer myself, I have always appreciated how images have stood the test of time in capturing and preserving both history and our vision for the future. So I see my role in the industry as a promoter of this art form and playing a role in making it more accessible to a global audience through digital means. Most importantly, I want the audience to be able to recognise and reward content that affects them at a personal level.

What were your key considerations when designing CoinaPhoto?

I think most of us frequently express our feelings and emotions through visual content (especially with the proliferation of mobile devices with cameras). Depending on the content, we share these images with different audiences that may include friends, families, followers or the larger public.  Sometimes, we capture moments that are unique and they deserve recognition that goes beyond a simple like or a comment. This is where Coinaphoto steps in and we took particular care in integrating the social media elements with the opportunity for reward and recognition.

The website design will seem familiar to existing social media users, easy to navigate and all you need is unique content to get going.

Social media has changed the way in which we not only share, but also create content.

Do you think this is a good or bad thing for the creative and particular photography industries?

I believe strongly that in order to survive, we have to adapt. Social media and digital content is here to stay. We need to take the glass half-full approach and see how it can benefit the creative art form. The single biggest advantage of social media is the access it provides to a global audience in the fastest possible time. The big challenge that comes with it is firstly how to preserve your intellectual property rights and secondly how to be recognized and rewarded for the same. This is where Coinaphoto can play a significant role. Lastly, think of how the music industry has adapted itself in today’s digital world and has accelerated its growth by using social media and digital content to its advantage. There is no reason why photography and creative art cannot emulate this success story.

Image rights are a hot topic in the photography world at the minute, most notably on social media. Why do you think this is and how does CoinaPhoto address these issues?

Once again these issues are not limited to photography, they are relevant for all digital content including music, videos, etc. and therefore we rely on the existing regulatory and legal environment to deal with specific issues. At the same time, our terms of use clearly refers to intellectual property rights of owners of digital content and any abuse of the same will lead to necessary action ranging from immediate removal of images to life-long ban on users found involved in such activities. At the same time, let me state that I truly believe people in general are honest and if given a clearly defined path to recognise and reward creative content, the majority of us will do the right thing.

What do you think the future holds for the sharing of creative content?

For me the next logical step in this journey is to provide the owners of the content a sustainable financial reward mechanism that allows them to continue to be creative and pursue all that they feel very passionate about. There may be still a long way to go in achieving this; however I sincerely believe CoinaPhoto is a concrete step in this direction. 

What’s your vision for CoinaPhoto?

Simple. Be the no.1 platform for sharing, recognising and rewarding digital content accessible to a global audience.

Now that you’ve launched the platform, what plans do you have for the future of CoinaPhoto? I am studying the possibility of joining hands with local institutions such as art schools, cultural heritage foundations, etc. around the world to enable CoinaPhoto to be the forum for digital exhibitions of creative content developed in these institutions. If this works out as per plan, imagine a world where a creative image from an aspiring student in Botswana, Peru or rural India will be viewed, recognised and rewarded by a global audience. It can both change lives and bring the global community together.

Learn a bit more about CoinaPhoto by watching this introductory video;


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