VSCO Cam is best known as a great image editor for mobile devices that makes it easy to tweak and improve the images captured by your smartphone or tablet. But VSCO has long had greater ambitions for the app than just editing images. The Grid and Journal features offer ways for photographers to share their images with other VSCO users, either one at a time or through a collected narrative. Today, the company is adding the ability to curate images taken by others to your own VSCO account.
The new Collections feature, which is available on both the iOS and Android versions of VSCO Cam today, lets users re-share images published by others that are visible through in the Grid, through search, or through their own feed. Sharing an image is a two-step process: you double tap something you like to save it to your library, and then you have to go back into your library of images to re-share it out to the world. VSCO co-founder and CEO Joel Flory says this added friction when sharing images was intentional in order to make sharing more deliberate. "It's a very intentional publishing aspect," he notes. Images shared to a collection preserve attribution to the original photographer and link back to their accounts, further differentiating the feature from other platforms that are known for curation.
At launch, VSCO Cam Collections only support still images, though the company will likely expand it in the future to include other forms of media that are shared through the platform. Users are also only allowed one Collection on their account, so it's not yet possible to create different ones for different themes.
Collection mimics the internal tools VSCO has been using to share and highlight images on the platform
Flory says that the new feature mimics the tools that the VSCO team has been using to highlight users and content internally, and it is the first time that the company is giving its tens of millions of users access to these same tools. Until now, the VSCO platform has been focused on original content, but Flory believes that curation plays a part in the creative process and the Collections feature was built to address that.
Though Collections adds even more sharing capabilities to the VSCO platform, it still has a different take and feel than other image sharing platforms, such as Instagram or Tumblr. Statistics like number of shares are only visible to the original image owner, and are not publicly displayed in other Collections. Users also cannot like or comment on images shared to a Collection. Flory says the goal of Collections is not to drive user numbers, but to "encourage the consumption of more quality content."
Flory also says that Collections and curation are the first of many things the company will "continue to innovate on," and it plans to improve upon and open up the curation process even further in the future. For now, it's both a useful bookmarking tool and sharing system, and it will be interesting to see if it takes off with VSCO's many devoted users.