Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

VSCO Grid Wants to Be a Museum

Speaking of VSCO Cam, Tyler Hayes asked VSCO CEO Joel Flory about the update:

“The number one request since we launched VSCO Grid was the ability to follow other photographers,” says Flory. “As humans, we are inherently ‘social’, but VSCO Grid is not, nor will ever be a social network. You’ll notice there are no follower counts, no likes, no comments. We like the metaphor of a physical art museum. You would never walk into a exhibition and scribble comments or smiley faces next to a piece of artwork. It’s photography for the sake of photography, without the pressure to create images for the sake of gaining followers. We see the ability to follow photographers’ work as an ever-changing art gallery, not a social network.”

It’s a good metaphor: personal Grids (like mine) are like a portfolio, while the VSCO-curated Grid is like the museum. But, as someone who has curated gallery shows, a small part of me is resistant to the idea that this is as valuable as a museum or gallery for one simple reason: it lacks a curatorial premise greater than “it looks good”. There’s no underlying concept or statement which ties images together, and little regard for placement and organization of images on the page.

But perhaps there’s something to this. Perhaps it’s not curatorially sound on the level of a well-executed show; Ydessa Hendeles certainly wouldn’t use a Grid instead of a gallery. I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses, however. Right now, though, it feels a bit like someone making a mixtape1 and calling it an album.

Update: It’s unclear as to whether Hayes spoke with Flory; many of the quotations appear to be lifted from this Fast Company article. Flory is a contributor to that site, but he does not link to that post in his.


  1. In the compilation sense of mixtape, not a hip hop mixtape. ↩︎